I’ve been around the writing block more than once…but I’ve yet to see my book on a bookshelf. Why, you might ask? I’ve asked myself that question more times than I’d like–and others have asked it of me. I believe I can string sentences together pretty well; I have a fantastic critque group; I studied the craft. I’ve even had a few people credit me with helping them push their way from unsold to sold. So why haven’t I sold a book yet? And more importantly, why have I kept writing?
There have been times I wanted to quit; times I wondered if it was worth it. Then I’d dream the stories again and realize, for good or for bad, I’m a storyteller. I want to share my stories with the world.
So, what’s stopped me? There’s been my career–paying the mortgage is important after all. To better my opportunities in the workplace, I spent four years taking evening classes to earn my Master’s degree. I became quite ill a few years ago, and by the time I recovered over a year had passed. Where does the time go?
I’ve enjoyed a wonderful career teaching courses, in particular Discovering Story Magic. I finished my Master’s. I’ve volunteered in organizations; I even earned a service award from RWA. I’ve given of myself to family, friends, church, students. But, after several years of becoming a so-called expert in a lot of writing areas–and by the way, the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know — I realized that I’d never really let MY dream be as important as all those other aspects of my life. Is there a balance? Can I be a good daughter, sister, aunt, friend, employee and writer?
In speaking with friends, I realized that I was not alone in my plight. Published or unpublished, single or married, employed or stay-at-home working, every writer I’ve talked to has fought the same battle. How can we balance all those things and people we love?
I finally learned a new trick. I have to admit that I can’t be everything to everyone. If I want to live my dream some other things have to give. This year, I took a sabattical from Discovering Story Magic. I chose to focus on improving my health, fitness, and writing. I chose not to volunteer so much, but to spend more time with my family. So far, the trick seems to be working. This has been a good year for me so far. I have a new agent (Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency); I reworked a manuscript and an editor has requested revisions. The writing business is looking up for me right now. My health is looking up. Am I doing everything I was last year, or the year before? No. Have I figured out the secret to success? Not hardly. But, I can’t deny one truth I’ve learned. You CAN teach an old writer new tricks…even if it’s just to occasionally say no…maybe not forever. But for now.
That’s my new trick. What trick have you learned…either in writing craft or in the writing life? I’d love to know.