At some point in the early spring, I noticed an interesting intersection of weariness and creative restlessness. My routine of weekly blog writing was feeling challenging; I feared it had become hollow. I was being drawn further into the notion of a larger project as I sat with a posse of amazingly brave and creative women. Each one adding to chapters, going deeper into their past, and excavating memories to be woven into a captivating tapestry. I had pieces sitting idle in the bowels of my laptop, hanging in “the cloud”, and stashed in the portals of my brain. As I researched publishing options, editing support and my own degree of willingness and courage, I decided I was ready to commit to creating a book proposal.
Since then, I have been on hiatus from my blog writing. I have danced as though around a dangerous flame, briefly diving into a memory, revisiting a passage, making notes and playing with chapter titles, always retreating from the heat of the fire to a safe and cool distance.
The list of diversions is endless, yet productive as avoidance behaviours. I am not sitting idle over an empty screen or grasping a pen hovering over a blank page. I am on my knees pulling weeds, building consistency in my novice golf game, keeping my aging body fit, and engaging with family and friends. I have lovely moments of joy and fulfilment and many periods of gentle agitation as creative energy simmers in my mind – a disciplined outlet evading me.
My beloved friend, mentor and inspirational editor is gently cajoling me, making subtle suggestions and tireless in her support as I meander through the start–up phase, as I have decided to call it. I have engaged and now abandoned the notion that I need a new website. It was a burst of energy without a focus that sidetracked me for a few weeks. The refresh of the website and my author personae will come later. The morsels of chapters I have shared are sitting on pages with notes and suggestions in the margins, to be revisited, reworked, re-edited. The two sentences I am to create that tell the world what my book is about elude me. The prologue might be written – though not quite.
I have been gifted a couple of books with the intention that they provide ideas and guidance. Their dust jackets sit untouched and pristine. I have almost abandoned my own reading habit – as though fearful of the guilt I might feel reading while I am not writing.
In other parts of my life, I am clear on the power of setting priorities. I am aware of the foundational barrier that lies beneath avoidance. That leads me to construct a story of busyness, necessary delay, and fatigue. It’s fear. A primal emotional driver for me. What if I can’t do it? What if I can’t finish it? What if it’s no good? What do I have to give up in my life to make time to write a book?
Yet the need to write gnaws at me. The thought that I might leave this earth having not tried is more uncomfortable for me than having tried and failed. In the wrestle between fear and regret I am compelled to move through my apprehension
I am entering the second half of the year, a birthday just behind me and a fresh start imminent, establishing a writing routine, setting timelines, and staying in the process of creating a piece of nonfiction. It’s only when I move out of my body into the future that the fear seizes me.
At least, that is my experience.