Friday, June 14, 2013

Hitting the Reset Button

That is where I find myself at the beginning, trying to find a way forward. It’s like I’m learning to walk all over again. I take a few steps forward and, unable to maintain my balance, I stumble to the ground. I want to cry, scream, and tear out my hair (if I had any hair to tear out, that is). But I don’t do any of those things. I take a deep breath instead, and then lift myself up, dust myself and start all over again. I encourage myself to take baby steps, and to keep the faith.

When I say I’m at the beginning, I’m returning to the “beginning” of this writing life. Writing is not new to me. I write daily. Several of my short stories, essays and poems have been published over the last ten years. Freestyle Love, my first novel, was released in November 2011. What I’m trying to do now what I need to do is find my footing.

I’m trying to figure out how to take my writing career to the next level. In a word, break out of my shell. I write a lot but I don’t submit often; and I can’t get published if I don’t submit. If I’m not submitting my work, I have to ask myself what I’m afraid of …? Maybe it’s not necessarily a question of being afraid of something (rejection? success?) as much as this is about me questioning my “right” to writer. After the publication of Freestyle Love, it’s like I’ve been trapped in a writer’s abyss swept up in a period of reflection, gestation, stagnation even, where I’ve felt unable able (unwilling?) to push my work out into the world. How, then, could I still dare to call myself a writer?

At this point in time, there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer. I know that the best thing that I can do at the moment is to, simply, write. And I do write, and I write from my heart and not for a particular market. I must be doing something “right” because even though my last two short stories were rejected, both editors encouraged me to try them again in the future.

I often wonder if taking my writing career to the next level means leveraging social media Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. For an introvert like me, that will be a great challenge. Of course I want people to like my writing, be it my novel or my short stories. I’m not afraid of reviews (good or bad). I just can’t seem to effectively use social media to my advantage despite all the tips and advice out there on the Internet. And when it comes to all the things that I want to do in a day, using social media always tends to fall to the bottom of the list and ends up being put off to another day.

So this is where I find myself today, at the beginning, still looking for a way forward. I may not a household name the likes of Danielle Steel or Julia Cameron or Stephen King, but writing is all I know. Writing is who I am. Nothing brings me more joy in a day (work-wise that is) than my time writing at the keyboard or longhand. So, I keep writing. Every day. And each day I try to learn something new that will help take my writing higher and higher.

I’m holding steadfast to my dream, and to this writing life. I will persevere. I have to believe that I will succeed.

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