When Writing Doesn’t Happen

When writing doesn’t happen, because life is happening and you can’t stop to write . . . it’s okay.

When writing doesn’t happen, because the worlds are alive in your head but they won’t go on the page yet . . . it’s okay.

When writing doesn’t happen, even though we’re halfway into the first month of that year you were really going to start working toward those writing dreams . . . it’s okay.

When writing a blog post hasn’t happened, because it’s late and your brain doesn’t function and your week has been too busy to allow time for writing a post . . . it’s okay.

It’s okay
because plans go amiss
and life goes awry
and all those dreams don’t always work out
but sometimes they work out better than you planned
because off the beaten path
and off the line on the map you’ve drawn
may be better than anything
you could have wished for.

It’s okay
because if the worlds are alive in your head
there’s no need to fear (like you are secretly fearing)
that they will never be caught on the page again
because that will only happen if you are afraid.
But there’s no need to fear.

It’s okay
because two weeks is not make-it-or-break-it
especially when life is busy
and not having started toward that dream
doesn’t mean you’ve failed.

It’s okay
because if you don’t post on your blog one week
nobody will notice or care or be upset at you
and the world will not end.

When writing doesn’t happen . . .

. . . it’s okay.

I promise.

Because you can always try again.

Because the negative space of “I haven’t…” is not stronger than the positive space of “I have.”

And between the two is “I will” — a dream, and a promise, and a hope for the future.

So we’ll write when we can. And when we can’t . . . it’s okay.

When the busy week is up, or when the worlds are bursting to come forth onto the page, or when the new year calms down and you stop worrying about how much you’re getting done (or not getting done), or when the blog inspiration is there . . . then you will write.

The words will be there. Later. When they’re ready.

These are things I’m trying to learn, so I thought I would share them, in case they help you too.

Sometimes you need to try. But other times . . . you need to let the road surprise you, and relax on the journey.

Sometimes you find Narnia when you’re not looking for it.

And sometimes, just sometimes, when you’re not trying . . . is when you succeed.

And oh, look, I have a blog post after all. 🙂

Ink Spill Follow-up

I think a part of the problem is that I really do wish and hope with all my heart to be a published author someday.

But for one thing, I don’t know exactly what that looks like anymore, with publishing being such a tossed-up thing just now. For another thing, I’m not willing (currently) to do what it takes (or what people say it takes) to pursue that to the end.

I suppose yesterday’s rampage was about trying to convince myself that I can still write, that I’m still allowed to, that I can still even claim to be a writer, even if at this season in my life it does not include trying to publish.

There may be another season, someday, but right now my season is to write.

You can’t go straight from winter to summer (unless you’re in Texas… but I digress…). The trees can’t go directly from bare-branched to fully leaved overnight. The leaves have to come in and grow, slowly, from little pale green timid buds to full grown glossy dark green leaves.

I still want to be published. I don’t believe, at this stage, that I ever will be. But someday I may believe again. I don’t know. But right now I don’t have to. I just have to write. And that is a wonderful reminder which I greatly needed. So I’d like to say thank you to those who encouraged me in this way.

The future may hold something different, but as the fellow says in the Irish song: “Cares of tomorrow can wait till this day is done.”

ottergrouphugI want to give a heartfelt thanks to every person who dropped me a kind word yesterday or today, or earlier this month when I was going through something similar to this with my not winning the Rooglewood contest… or in fact ever encouraged me. I was so touched and uplifted, and I’m immeasurably grateful.

I often forget that I’m not . . . alone. It may sound strange, but I’m a solitary sort of person, and I’ve somehow, impossibly, come to believe that I am alone and have to do everything by myself.

I imagine I’m a lot more like my solitary character Tare in that way than I ever suspected.

bringmeoutBut he and I, together, are slowly beginning to learn that we don’t have to do it alone. That people, incredibly . . . CARE. About me, about him. No matter how little we feel we deserve it, or how difficult it is for us to fathom. We never imagined what could be . . . never could have dreamed that such people could exist and lift us up in such a way. But the Chess Club are there for him, even when he doesn’t know it (he hasn’t learned this yet, but he may, in time…). And you all have been there for me, even when I little dreamed that there could be such wonderful people in the world. ❤

It’s humbling, eye-opening, and very wonderful indeed to feel supported and loved and encouraged, and it is a blessing of a thing beyond words (and we all know how much I love words, so it must be very far indeed) to know you all.

I’m very grateful for all of you. Thank you very much.

A NaNoWriMo Pep-Talk


We’ve just come past the end of week 2, half-way through NaNoWriMo

If you’re on track or ahead, I applaud you! Keep writing!

Are you behind?

I know the feeling. I am too.

Are you starting to entertain some doubts, to question why you got into this writing endeavor in the first place, if it’s even worth it to continue?

You are not alone. We all have these doubts, especially in the middle of the month.

But if you’re looking for an answer, I have it for you:

It IS worth it.

Standing here at the end of the second week, the way to the top of this writing mountain may look very far away. It may look very inviting to just quietly step aside off the path and stop noveling. To return to the ordinariness of regular life, without the stressful added exertion of writing a novel in a month.

But don’t listen to the doubt! It. is. worth it.

I’ll tell you a secret. The other day, the doubts were crowding in on me. I was worried the words I’d written so far were slop; I had hit a slump and hadn’t been able to write and was falling behind. I was so tempted to just stop.

And you know what? I started asking why I was doing this. WHY was I committing to writing 50,000 words of this story of mine during November? And I dug deep inside and I found why.

It was because I love this story.

I had lost my love for it in the stress of busyness lately, in my goal to hit that 1667 word goal each day. I pulled out my love of the story, polished it, and it’s sitting at the front of my mind, reminding me why I’m going to try to write it. And with that love in hand, I know that I can find my way to the end of these 50,000 words, and further to revising the story into something readable.

So don’t give up on your story. Don’t stop writing it.

Yes, it may be a mess of a story, but it will be a STORY. It will be on pages. And it will be waiting there in all its glorious and wonderful messy first-draftness of completion, waiting to be shaped into the amazing novel to be found within. Before you can chip away at the block to form a statue, you first have to have the block itself. And if the block that you have is writer’s block… chip away at it! 🙂

You can do this. Whether you write 1667 words a day or only 10, keep going. Write that story. Rediscover why you loved it enough to start on this adventure. And if you can’t find the love of the story, then find a new love, a new reason to continue it, and put THAT in the story. Fill it with something you care about, something important.

If you find that love, I promise that you will find the will to continue. Because your story matters, and only you can write it.

Behind though we may be, let’s press on, together — and may the words be ever in your favor.