- “Old” is wherever I haven’t gotten to yet.
- “Success” is whatever I haven’t achieved yet.
- The only thing that causes me more misery than writing is NOT writing.
That final bullet is why I’m writing, dear friends. If you’ve ever been so frustrated that you’ve toyed with “hanging up your pen,” then this post is for you.
First, full disclosure: Like many of you, I discovered in childhood that I was destined to be a writer. Writing, breathing, it’s all the same. Further, my first novel, Into the Mystic, comes out this fall.
However, the only thing “debut” about my book is that it’s in the fiction genre. About 12 years ago, I crested the wave of nonfiction publishing, and it looked like that wave would carry me all the way to seashore success.
Bloomberg Press had paid me handsomely for a couple books about small business management. The goal: to turn me into a small business guru. I’d made it! Nothing but catastrophe could prevent me from reaching shore!
Yeah, you guessed it: catastrophe hit.
To this day, we refer to it as “9-11.”
My book, The Small Business Owner’s Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep (TSBOGGNS) was launched to the news media via 970 news releases at 8 a.m. on 9-11. We all know what happened an hour later.
Bloomberg Press is owned by Michael Bloomberg and, at the time, he was contemplating a run for mayor of NYC. Because TSBOGGNS discussed how businesses could handle crises, Bloomberg decided he didn’t want to look as though he was exploiting the situation.
Sales were halted, publicity banned, contracts terminated.
By 9-14, I realized that I needed to reinvent myself. I was a single mom, and I needed income. Physical survival.
And, for sanity sake, I needed to remove myself from writing. Emotional survival.
I declared myself done. I hung up my proverbial writer’s pen. Tossed my “Ideas” file. Eschewed creative thought.
And thus began nine years of angst—a fish out of water.
I left creative writing, but it wouldn’t leave me. Separation doesn’t work when one side keeps clinging. Books on my shelves taunted me. Articles on publishing found me. Bookstores became rattlesnake dens. Characters disturbed my dreams.
Finally, two years ago, I woke up with a complete novel in my head. It wouldn’t let me alone.
I began to write, and it was like coming home.
I breathed again.
If you are meant to write, you can’t counsel, pray or exorcise it away. There is no antibiotic to kill this disease called “the need to write.”
Sorry, but if you’re tagged a “writer” you may as well have a Harry Potter scar on your forehead because there is nothing you can do about it.
And that is both the bad news and the good news.
Please don’t waste time like I did. Nine years is a long time not to breathe.
Debra, writing as D.L. Koontz, splits her time between what she calls Marpennsylginia and Georgia. In her fiction, she writes about what she knows: muddled lives, nail-biting unknowns and eternal hope.
Ever think of giving up writing?