“Loved loved loved the Metzlingen Saga.” That’s what the preview of the message said.
I was hunkered down on the couch (with the cats, of course) at the tail end of a week of sickness that wiped out my whole house. Sometimes I’m able to avoid the germs, but every once in awhile, there’s a stealth one that outruns my sanitizing skills and takes out the kids one by one, until finally at the end of a (pretty gross) ride, it hits me as well. The only thing I could really manage was lying there reading (which I did a good bit of), so when my phone notifications dinged, my mind went right to the list of tasks that I was falling behind on.
But there it was – the preview of a message sent through my author email account – and can I just say how much that made my day? My week, honestly. I’ve gotten some truly lovely messages from people over the past few weeks and months. I know that I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating – THANK YOU to those who have taken the time to send me a message, or comment on a post or a photo, or write a review online.
You have no idea how much that inspires me and fuels me to keep writing. Sometimes the messages are longer; sometimes they’re short and sweet with a smile, like the email from this past week. Either way, the thoughtfulness and the impact of the words was a jolt of the kind of medicine that I needed last week.
These past few months have been a bit stressful. Productive, though. January was an excellent writing month. Writing has always been a welcome escape from all the things currently out of my control (hello, waiting on orders, I’m looking at you). Being creative is a chance to funnel energy into something that I both enjoy and am proud of.
I “wish” that I wrote faster than I do, but one thing this past month reinforced for me was to embrace my own process. I was able to shut down those negative voices that creep up from time to time, snipping at me that there’s a better way, or why aren’t you doing this or that, or you should be doing this, or that what I’m doing isn’t right. It was epic. I was able to shut out that noise and instead make the most of my days with a bit more self-acceptance, grace, and the mantra of “It’s ok. There is no “right way to write” except for what is “right” for me.”
For me, it’s a mix of writing and researching. Each of them fuels the other. When I’m stuck, I’ll switch and spend some time in the other arena, and BOOM, all the ideas. This past month, while reading through one particularly interesting research book, I was for the first time able to see the Third Act of the sequel to The King’s Sword. This was HUGEEEEEEEE for me. The First and Second have been pretty clear, though moving slowly due to the amount of research that I’m doing to get them right, but the Third was simply an empty space at the end of the book. I could see getting there, but not what happened once there.
Then it all clicked. I figured out why certain characters have been so chatty and what their part in the overall story was. (Boone is slyly waving from his corner of the page.) I knew how to get all the characters to that Third Act, why they were all there, what will be at stake, and what else I need to research to get this all on the page.
And what will happen? Yes, I know that now as well, with a big nod to my writing bestie who helped me work through those incredibly important issues and nagging questions that I had while setting this last act up. She totally knows my strengths as a writer, she knows my story and my characters, and she’s got the way of asking exactly the right questions to ground me back where I need to be. Always thoughtful and to the point, she helps me discover the solutions I may have been dancing around but couldn’t quite see. (The power of a writing bestie – thanks, Alyssa!)
So now it’s time to get it all written. If January was a plotting and research month, my primary goal for February is drafting. I have . . . a lot written . . . the folders on my desktop are packed with drafted chapters . . . but I’m going to see what I can have come together this month.
As an author, as any creative really, you put your heart into your work. Sitting here thinking about it, so do a lot of other people that our family comes across in our daily lives. Heck, the kids and I were just discussing last week how the one man that cleans the bathrooms at our PX does such an exceptional job. Consistently the cleanest public restrooms that we see. Thinking the next time we see him, we should tell him that.
Sure doesn’t take much to add a few kind words to the routine “Hi” and/or “Thank You”; I’ll make that another part of my “adding words” mantra this month. Feel free to join me 🙂