Being an author isn’t always easy. My hours are erratic, streaming around when my creative juices are flowing. Sometimes, that’s around the clock. Other times, I barely have a trickle of creative juice at all. Some days I pound out a good eight thousand words, other days…barely a thousand. Writing is a give and take relationship; you give when you have the words, and you take when you don’t.
My “take” is rest and reset: I bring a notebook somewhere, and I write short stories involving the characters of the book I’m working on. It keeps me writing and it helps me get to know my characters even more by testing them out in different situations, just to see what they’ll do.
Despite the erratic hours, and despite those days when my creative juices aren’t flowing as efficiently as they usually are, I absolutely adore being an author. I love that rush that hits me when I get a new idea for a story or a scene. I love the chill of seeing my own words on the screen and just knowing that they are powerful words that will resonate deeply within a reader. There’s a confidence to knowing my stories will affect my readers, or at least most of them. I know it because these stories come from the deep crevasses of my soul. When an author bleeds out their words, the emotions evoked from within the story’s pages are that much more potent.
Seeing my books out there, seeing people enjoy those books – my books, gives me an incredible sense of accomplishment and pride. I did this, I’m doing this, and I won’t stop – I can’t stop. Writing is in my blood and it’s in my soul.
When I first told people I wanted to write a book, a lot of them smiled politely and nodded. It was obvious that they didn’t believe I would ever finish writing a book. I haven’t exactly been known for my “follow through”. I’ve dropped out of college twice. I’m flighty and forgetful. I never remember birthdays and very rarely remember important engagements. My head is always stuck in the clouds and I’m hardly ever aware of the millions of things happening around me because I’m always stuck inside my head and involved with those who need me the most – my kids, my husband.
My head is in the clouds, but my heart is on my sleeve. I’m sensitive and I hurt easily. I have been told time and time again that “I feel too greatly”, and when I’m told this…it’s never in an admiring, complimentary way. Most people are not understanding of how greatly I feel, or how sensitive I am. They are…annoyed by it, put off by it. I shouldn’t ache for years over wounds inflicted by words, by their lack of confidence in me and what I can accomplish.
I used to let that affect me, I used to let other people’s opinions of me weigh heavily on what I felt I could and couldn’t do. When someone told me that I couldn’t do something; I believed it. I believed that I could never be an author, until I quietly picked up a pen one November and wrote the first 50k of Collide.
For years prior to that pivotal moment where I decided why not, I struggled to change each undesirable aspect of myself – my sensitivity, my forgetfulness. I didn’t want to be sensitive, I didn’t want to be so affected by words and actions. After all, that was perceived as bad and maybe if I wasn’t so sensitive, maybe if I didn’t feel so greatly – I wouldn’t believe people when they told me I couldn’t do something. But that changed a fundamental part of who I am, and it made me feel even worse than I feel when someone hurts me with careless words. It made me feel numb, and no good stories ever come from a place of numbness and disconnect. I would rather feel too greatly, be too sensitive, than feel nothing at all and be a lesser person because of it.
Besides, being sensitive and empathetic is a good thing. There are simply not enough sensitive, empathetic people in this world. Besides, I’ve found a constructive outlet for my overflow of feelings: I can expel it into my work. High five for creative outlets!
Being an author isn’t always easy, but it is incredible. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my time and I am grateful that I can spend my days writing stories.