August 11, 2020

Processing in the time of Covid

It's been quite a year. Right? 

On top of a global pandemic, the continued oppression of black people in our country, murder hornets and earthquakes in diverse places, I'm turning fifty years old in ten days. Yes, I have a countdown going.

These past six months, I've had a cacophony of mixed emotions over so many things. Going places. Touching things. My relationships. When I'll see my family again. My part-time job. Living in a new town and trying to develop new friendships on zoom. The lack of hugging. The sound of my husband crunching potato chips in the other room. 

My internal processor is fried to a crisp.

The hardest part has been over my writing. Shocker ... If it seems like I've been processing what it means to be "a writer" for a long time, you wouldn't be wrong. Dealing with the rejections for my last book has been a mixed bag of acceptance and hurt and confusion. It has sucked the joy out of writing. It's tough being a writer without an audience. In my warped head, zero love for my work translates into zero love for me. The little girl in me wants to quit everything. The old self wants to run and hide.

So on top of everything else going on in 2020, I'm having to process through all of that old junk.

But this is good, right? 

Growth is everything.

New challenges jump-start the soul! 

Well, maybe not so much in the beginning stages ... 

But underneath all the shame and doubt and frustration, I have an inkling of hope. And that, my friends, goes a long way. 

More than a few of my friends have mentioned writing books that help others. Books about how I've dealt with my struggles and insecurities and self doubt. About what it's like to persevere and hold onto hope regardless of the circumstances. About the heartbreak of living in this world and what God has done to heal my pain.

Precipice. Crossroads. Turning point. Whatever you want to call it, here I am -- with wide-open arms. While there's still much more to process, I'm grateful for all of it.

August 6, 2020

The door won't budge

Over two months ago, I began the grueling agent querying process for the forth time in my writing career and let me tell you, it never gets easier. In fact, it gets more brutal. I'm not sure what's worse, the onslaught of form letters from agents passing on your work or crickets.

On top of that, it's been tough standing on the sidelines watching many of my writer friends getting agents and publishing deals while I continue getting passed over. It's exhausting fighting through the self doubt, the jealousy and the feelings of failure.

And friends, the rejections just keep coming. I did send out an enormous batch of queries for this last book. I even had a running tally of FIVE passes on a single day -- a new record for me! By the end of the day, my husband and I were just laughing.

In the midst of all of this, I tried working on my next book. But I ended up in a spin cycle. I wrote at least five different outline structures, some in-depth character explorations, talked it out with my husband and made a bunch of false starts. I just couldn't get into the story. I couldn't override the screaming voice saying, "nobody wants to work with you, so why bother..."

So, I had to shelf the new idea.

In fact, I had to shelf every last one of my writing ambitions and dreams.

You think this would be heartbreaking, but it's been a huge relief. I have experienced a peace that surpasses all understanding. Because I finally surrendered to the abundantly obvious:

It's time to stop pushing on this door because it's not going to open. 

I guess I've held onto writing young adult for so long because I've invested a lot of time and money into this endeavor. Twenty books. That's a lot of words. A lot of shoulder and neck pain.

Once again, I'm back in the hallway. The long and endless hallway. The place where trust and faith and full reliance on God is required if I'm to endure waiting for Him to open any doors. Some days I have absolute peace around all of it. Other days I question everything.

I don't know what's next for my writing journey. Whether or not this is a pit stop or the end of the line. The good news is, I have put down the battering ram.