*I know, pretty much all you authors out there are. 😛 So, come commiserate with me.
So, Labor Day weekend was a roller coaster for my writing emotions.
For the first part of the weekend, we spent some time with friends at a beautiful farm house inn. I went to sleep to the sounds of thunder storms or barking farm dogs (kept there to chase off coyotes) and woke up to the misty mornings of sweet, quiet open space, punctuated by rooster calls. We ate breakfast in the common room with the other guests, and I met a fellow tea lover and tea pot collector at the hot drink bar, who told me she’s always wanted to have a tea room.
It had been a long time since I took a walk in the woods with friends, or swung on a tire swing. Before that weekend, I hadn’t seen shed snake skins left halfway up a tree trunk, or enjoyed watching a big muddy farm dog chase a flustered chicken. Did you know that turkeys like to eat cantaloupe? And that they make little contented purring noises? They do! I must have petted a horse’s long cheeks before, but I forgot how soft they are, and I’d almost forgotten that they’re that huge and that intimidating to stand next to.
(This would be the perfect time to post pictures, but I was relaxing so hard I didn’t take any.)
At night we lay on a quilt and watched shooting stars streak through a crystal clear dark sky, or sat by a hot fire pit and watched distant heat lightning. I even serenaded a little toad I found sitting on a stump next to me, as my friend played guitar. Inspiration was everywhere. The simple magic of an uncomplicated life untied my heavy burdens and left them discarded on the road the way we came.
But of course I had to pick them back up again as we headed towards city and home.
We skipped Dragon*Con this year, mostly because of burn out, and because of our time at the farm house inn. But that meant we could finally try out the Decatur Book Festival on Sunday! Grasping our spur of the moment decision, we headed out with plans to wander around and see what everything was about. In retrospect, I’m excited to go again with more of an agenda for seeing panels and author talks next time.
But the day was hot, like, uncomfortably so, and we had no money that week to spend on books, or much of anything else pretty and amusing at the booths. We were feeling non-committal, and there weren’t any authors we were burning to see (except Jude Watson and John Scieszka, but we couldn’t find them easily in our lazy state). So we mostly wandered around free stuff tables and got some interesting event fliers. But as I passed the booths advertising up-and-coming authors and selling their books…much to my embarrassment, a gray, nay, BLACK cloud descended over me.
I realized how helpless I felt as an author trying to get published. Seeing everyone around me with so much success, I felt like I was at the bottom of an impossible mountain that I had barely started to climb. Instead of rejoicing in their successes, I was forest green with envy. I’d been trying for forever, putting myself out there the past few years, but I kept getting rejected and shrinking back into my shell. I felt like I had no powerful allies, no one who wanted to fight for what I saw in my book series, and help me polish my rough stone to a fine shine. I was alone in this. I sucked. I didn’t have enough opportunities, though lots of booths seemed eager to reach out to college students and young adults. I felt worthless. It was absolutely horrible, and on top of that I was feeling angry at feeling my feelings, when all I wanted to do was enjoy the awesome Decatur Book Festival.
Over lunch, I poured my writery angst out to my wonderful, practical Wervyn, and he helped me re-frame my perspective and inspired me to keep looking for agents and to keep editing, to keep working and not give up. Thank God for him, I never want to think about my life without him in it.
I’m so fearful of being judged in almost every area of my life, but writing and creativity particularly (which I’m not alone in feeling). That’s something I keep praying for strength to reject, because I’m horrible at staying positive by myself. What if I never find an agent? What if no one else, other than my family and friends, thinks I have worth as an artist or writer? I can’t let those thoughts consume me, though they do so often.
I’m in a bit of a writing slump still, starting the new job and work schedule, and trying to get everything done, including shoehorning a little editing in every day. I’m not doing it regularly, but if even if I do a little, at least I’m working. Plus, I figure if writing my series hasn’t gotten shelved by now, I don’t think it ever could, really and truly.
I found this image on Pinterest, and it sometimes shows up as one of my revolving desktop wallpapers:
When I looked at it again after all this, I felt something was missing. So here’s my version, a message of hope and longing for everyone out there who is scared to be themselves sometimes, or a lot of the time:
“I don’t want to be afraid to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.”
(I’m kind of inspired to make text art out of this. If I do, I’ll post it here.)
So this is a reminder to future Christina, and anyone else who reads this and is working so hard to make room for their dreams, but is so scared of what might, or might not, happen…just, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s like dieting or cleaning your house: don’t freak out or think about it too much, just start where you are today and go from there.
On a more lighthearted note, I just realized…
This is my 200th blog post!
It’s poetic that my 200th post is so open and honest about my struggles as a writer. It feels right somehow 🙂
I made my first post on Blogger in 2009 before exporting it to this site, so this March was my fifth blogiversary! A lot has changed in five years and 200 blog+vlog posts (not counting my other slice of life VEDAs and videos on my Youtube channel), but I plan to keep it going as I continue my writing journey. Thank you to all my followers, from the ones who’ve watched me from the beginning, to the ones who just started. I’m excited to see where the road takes me.