What do you write the day after you’ve released an e-book on writing to impact change and you’ve heard from people all over the world that they are enjoying it and sharing it with other writers? What big and meaningful thing can you say that follows that up in a suitable way? How can you be worthy of the new people showing up on your website who might expect you to have some wisdom to share about writing and leadership?
Ack! DOUBLE ack! You know what’s happening here, don’t you?
I started thinking too much about the right things to say, the right way to follow up a successful free product launch (about writing, no less), and the right way to impress you and make you think I’m a wise guru worth paying attention to, and… well, I froze. That old familiar fear lump started forming in the pit of my stomach, and no matter what I did to try to get words onto the screen, my brain and fingers wouldn’t cooperate.
So I decided to go down the path that has always served me best… honesty. (As in… “I am honestly not sure what I should write and I honestly don’t know if this is worth reading.”) And I decided that since nothing showed up that had a lovely sense of flow to it or that could be tied up in a pretty little bow, I’d give you random.
Here are some honest, random things about me, my writing, and the path I’m on these days:
1. I love to write. Love, love, LOVE it. It’s like breathing for me – necessary and life-giving. I don’t know if I could survive a week without writing. To be honest with you, writers’ block rarely gets in my way, because even if I can’t find the words for one particular piece I’m writing, I can almost always dislodge the block by starting on something else (like this random post). And there is no shortage of writing ideas in my brain. Quite the opposite, in fact. Often my problem is that there are too many ideas and I just can’t settle on one.
2. Despite the fact that writing has been a part of my career for more than 15 years and I’ve had oodles of things published, I still have moments when I deal with major doubt. I still question whether I’m good enough, and I still feel the pain when those rejection letters come. I’m pretty sure that’s normal.
3. I have recently completed the first draft of a memoir that began as the story of the impact my stillborn son had on my life, and then grew to be about surrendering to the mystery, especially when life gets painful. I set it aside for a couple of months before starting the editing process, and as I look over it now, I can honestly say that it’s pretty darn good! I am genuinely proud of it and am convinced that it needs to be shared with the world. It will be published one day, I promise.
4. The more I write, the more I realize that writing has to be part of a holistic experience for me. In order to write well, I have to find space and time for regular body movement, artistic expression, reading, and spiritual practice. I am not particularly disciplined about any of these things, but if I don’t do them fairly regularly, my writing suffers. Writing needs to engage both my left language-oriented brain and my right conceptual/creative brain and to do that I need to do things that exercise both. Movement and spiritual practice engage my right brain, while reading engages my left.
5. Variety helps me write more creatively. I can not do all of my writing at home in my office/studio. Sometimes I write on the couch, sometimes at Starbucks, sometimes on a picnic table in the park, sometimes at the library, and sometimes in the middle of the labyrinth across the river. When I was writing the Wanderer/Edge-walker series, I found that I could only engage that part of my brain if I’d done a little wandering first. I wrote none of those posts at home.
6. I want to make enough income from my writing, teaching, and speaking that I can give my family a comfortable livelihood, but I worry every day about how that will be done. After 9 months of trying, I’m still at a place where it’s not fully sustainable. I have my worst moments of panic about that in the mornings just after I wake up.
7. I wrote a novel once (while on maternity leave for my second daughter) and almost got it published, but life got busy and I set it aside. Now I’m more interested in personal writing than fiction writing. I may go back to it some day, or I may not. Whether or not it’s ever published, it was worth it just for the process and the sense of accomplishment.
8. I teach business/PR writing at the university, and I love it, but I don’t love grading papers and I’d really rather teach the kind of writing that is close to my heart. I’m designing some courses on things like “Creative Writing for Self-Discovery” and “Writing your Stories”, which I can get much more excited about. There will be no grades for these courses.
9. I love to help other people develop their writing skills. Serving as a midwife while they birth their stories gives me great delight. I’ve had the pleasure of watching two memoirs and one young adult novel come to life while I provided encouragement and guidance from the side. If this is something you’re interested in, check out this page and then contact me. The first conversation is always free. 🙂