Thursday, September 4, 2014

Detours and Dead Ends

This morning an acquaintance challenged me to write another book. Actually, he challenged me to finish a book I started writing years ago. He's challenged me several times in the past to finish this book to which I've laughed and replied that I'm either taking a break from fiction or that project is dead. But this morning his nudge seems to have hit me in the right spot (or write spot, ha ha).

It's been a year since this happened:

And three loooong years since this happened:

And I swore I'd never do it again. You see, I've had three separate publishing contracts in my life. And all three have been . . . well, lets just say they've each been incredible learning experiences. For many, yours truly included, writing a novel is a bucket list item. But rarely are we ever satisfied with merely checking a box on our list. We want success. We want to live the dream. Are we satisfied with merely running a marathon, or do we want to qualify for Boston?  We at least want to PR, right? Is it ever enough just to jump from an airplane with a parachute strapped to our back? No. We want to fully experience the weightlessness, the wind, the breathless thrill. We want our friends and family cheering us on, maybe diving with us. Would we be satisfied with merely flying to Hawaii, landing at the airport, looking around, and then flying back home? No. We want to enjoy the sand and surf. We want to explore the tropical island by day and by night. We want to do touristy things while secretly dreaming of becoming a local. And for me, merely signing a publishing contract and holding my own paperback in my hands, flipping through the pages of my own creation, just wasn't enough. I wanted to earn a real paycheck, maybe pay my husband back for all of his support. I hoped for some success. I dreamed of signings and lectures and tours and events. And I did have signings and lectures and tours and events. And I did get a paycheck here and there. But all those things weren't what I had hoped they would be. Which was what, anyway? Learning experiences.

 And I haven't felt the need to go back to that and . . . have more learning experiences. So I walked away from my writing (well, except for blogging, which is kinda like writing--but not). I took a year off completely and I worked on me. 
I certified in Sport Yoga.
I crossed some running goals off my list.
I read . . . a lot. And actually enjoyed it. (The love of reading left me when I got published.)
I certified in Pilates.
I fell in love with teaching group fitness classes.
I started blogging again.
I spent more quality time with my kids.

And in the back of my mind something (or someone) kept nagging at me. Had I left that part of my life for good, or just for now? Had I given up? Am I a quitter? 

I preach all the time that we need to keep a forward momentum, looking for progress. And yet, in this one part of my life I've been stalled. Is it time to kick myself into gear and get moving once again?

I pulled up the old file of this next great work of fiction that has been calling my name. A strange and slightly familiar sensation began growing in my gut. Before I could recall what that feeling was, it crept up into my chest, tickled my throat a little, and spread across my face. I smiled as I recognized the feeling of excitement that only writing can bring, that old creative flame, the call to get lost in my own head, getting to know and understand my own characters, and my own demons.

Will I finally finish the book now? Only time will tell.

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