I admit it, when I said I’d guest blog for Delilah I thought, “Cool, I can pimp Meandros.” I do have some stuff to say about that story, but I’m not really in the mood for straight book pimping. I have so many other things I want to say, so this is gonna be a bit of a mish-mash post, but there will be a point, so go for it, you might enjoy the way I ramble. *grin*
Meandros was the first story I ever wrote where the character actually took over the story and ran away on me. To a certain extent all my characters do that, as I’m not a real big plotter. I tend to start with a wish and dream and ride the wave as I go. And yes, I’ve tried to get Delilah to teach me how to plot, but whenever we start to do so, I get a panic attack. Seriously, at one point I was almost in tears because I just don’t get it. Ask Delilah, she’ll tell you. Sasha can’t plot.
With Meandros it was a freaky thing though. You see, I’d set out to write a Hot Holiday story with a couple honeymooning in Greece. And it started that way, on the plane, a little steamy action happening, until the end of that first scene when my character (I was writing in first person POV) shocked the shit out of me with one sentence. Want to see it? Check this out…
With that comment, he’d edged out of the tiny stall and left me to readjust my clothes. I savored the knowledge he was just as dirty as I was. He was my perfect other half. I gloried in the knowledge that, with him, I’d found the kind of love I’d given up on ever finding—bone deep and unconditional.
The kind of love that made it unbearable to contemplate what life had to offer me now that he was gone.
Gone? What did she mean gone?!
It took me months of fighting with her, and getting nowhere, before I gave in and went with it. And honestly, I think to this day Meandros is one of my best works. It’s not really a romance, not really erotica. It’s full of emotion and sex, and hope and at times, joy. It’s special to me because of the story itself, but also because it taught me to trust my characters.
But I think I might’ve taken that trust a bit too far. Or maybe started to rely on it too much, because after doing that for several years I’ve been blocked with my writing for almost three years now. One of the things I did to try and break that block was to try doing things differently, hence Delilah trying to teach me how to plot. Yeah, that didn’t work either. LOL
Right now I’m taking a workshop on self-editing because I’ve always worried that my grammar sucks. I graduated from high school with good grades, and English was my top subject. ( I always thought it was because I could talk and wasn’t shy when giving reports.) However, maybe it’s so many years of being a waitress/bartender, I still sometimes get that self doubt about my lack of education. Especially since I became a writer. At first it didn’t bother me because when I started writing I just wrote, and submitted. I didn’t have a critique partner, or a community I belonged to. I didn’t have any friends that were writers. But as success came, and the friends came, and I grew to be part of a community, I slowly started to doubt myself. Not just my ability to tell a story, but my writing skills. And I think that doubt is what’s crippled me.
I have some great friends, like Delilah, who’ve told me I’m too talented to quit. I’ve had numerous reader emails asking when will my next book come out, and telling me how much they love my stuff. I’ve even had some great reviews from critical reviewers. Yet, the doubt still crept in. I’m not sure how it did, but it did. And that doubt talks louder than any praise.
Sad, isn’t it?
The good thing is, that because I recently signed up for that online editing course, I’ve become part of a new community. And something….karmic happened the other night.
One person posted about writers block.
Maybe it’s because I don’t know any of the people on that loop just yet, I don’t know, but I posted about my own struggle, and WOW. The response has been amazing. And helpful! It was in talking with these people that I realized that the problem at the core of my block has been fear. That little bit of doubt about my own skills has festered into something that actually stopped me from writing. I thought it was burnout, (and it was …partly) but after I recovered from the burnout, I still wasn’t writing.
I’m writing again. Not as much as I should, and I’m still struggling a bit. And I know I probably will for a while, but the most important thing I learned is that I’m not alone. Even when my closest friends couldn’t help me, I wasn’t alone. I think it’s super important that we understand that as solitary as this writing gig is, we’re only alone if we want to be. If we don’t want to be, all we have to do is reach out, and someone will reach back.
The point is, that we’re never alone, and we all have fears. The key to success is to not let your fears keep you from doing whatever it is you want to do. I’m not going to.
“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.”
~Mary Manin Morrissey
Only once more, always once more.
Dancer Tammi Johnson thought she knew everything about her body–until she was almost crippled in a car accident. She’d resigned herself to a life without joy until the sexy and dynamic Tom showed her that dancing wasn’t the only passion, or pleasure, she could experience. He taught her to live and love with her whole body–and her whole heart
But when tragedy strikes again, Tammi is devastated. Until she acknowledges that the only way to honor the love of her life is to celebrate what he taught her, and for Tom, she’d do anything once more.