As every artist knows, our creativity ebbs and flows. Most artists dealing in other art forms, to my knowledge, aren’t told to create no matter what quite like writers are. My Facebook feed has been plastered lately with images that say things like “Write through writer’s block.” or “The only thing you have to do is write.” Along with other such mottos. The great “they” say this is the best advice a writer can have, however, for a year I’ve disagreed.
Beyond this blog’s weekly story or character interview posts, I haven’t written a word. What’s more, the reason I’ve kept up with my writing here is simply respect and gratitude to each and every one of you who follow my work. My writing passion had been largely extinguished. At the moment it’s a dim glimmer on its way back.
For those who don’t know, I had been working with an editor who had been paid to edit my book. They read through page 75 out of about 300, editing as much as they had read, and then quit and kept the money. Telling me they’d only be repeating themselves if they continued working with me after I’d taken their every suggestion. This person, just before dropping me, told me no traditional publishing house would take me because my novel is clean secular. This was after pushing me, rather diligently and for many months, toward submitting to traditional publishers and away from self-publishing. They were a person I had trusted, someone who had been a mentor to me. As you can imagine, it hit me pretty hard.
In the months that followed, I was lost. To top it all off, this person had also said they would help me get published after they had edited my book. So, my whole plan had been dissolved before my eyes. Every word I wrote suddenly seemed like utter pig poo to me. I looked at each sentence and wondered in how many ways it could be judged as wrong. That’s a hard mental place to create from.
I tried contacting a couple of other editors, but both were a bad fit for me. By both a friend and a family member I had been told what I wanted in an editor was impossible. My family member even said I was just looking for someone to do my work for me! So I was less than courageous when it came to talking to any new editors. This made the first editor’s actions and words sink in all the deeper. I finally opened up to another writer friend about what had happened and gave her my manuscript to look at. She told me she couldn’t see a reason for me to have been dropped, but I didn’t believe her completely. I thought that surely if this editor, who was a best-selling author themselves and is trusted by other people I trust, thought they should drop me, then it must be true.
And so, I hit pause. I stopped trying to force myself to write. I put the book away and just smiled and shrugged off the inevitble questions that came about why I wasn’t “published already.” With this came guilt and embarrassment, but I realize that was all from myself. My close friends and family were very supportive (and angrier than hornets) after what happened. I would see those messages about “just write” and cringe, but in my heart, I knew the time wasn’t right. I wasn’t ready.
All of my timelines flew out the window. In case you’re wondering, I’ve been working on this novel, in one form or another, for 10 years and thought I’d be published before I was 20. haha Oh, the innocence of ignorance and wide-eyed dreams.
Almost a year to the day after I had been dropped my courage was plucked up off the ground and I made the conscious decision that the money I would be paying the next editor entitled me to be their equal with the right to at least be direct. So, I sent a message to an editor that had come into my life about the same time as the one I’d first worked with. I told her exactly what I was looking for. That I wanted and needed someone to bounce ideas off of and needed an open dialogue as we work together. Her exact words when she messaged me back? “That’s how I work.” What’s more, we spent a couple of hours today, or rather last night by the time this posts, going over details pertaining to us working together once I have the money to pay her. Haha She’s not cheap, but I do believe it’s worth it.
So, dear readers. What I’m trying to say with this post is, never be scared to hit pause. The great “they” might think pushing through is always best, but the small still voice will never lead you astray. When the time is right, your passion will return because a calling can not be lost.
I plan to start work again on my book soon. I have to admit, I’m still nervous, but I can feel my wheels breaking free of their rust. The right time, she is near.