Finding My Way

Photo by Julia Munroe Martin, all rights reserved

Last year was a tough year full of change. And I didn’t do much writing because of it. I’ve written about some of these transitions here and on Writer Unboxed, too, as I figure out how to move forward with my writing.

Toward the end of last year, after one of my Writer Unboxed posts, I started to work with an editor—to develop some of my fiction ideas and to edit some of my past works. She and I have been working together for about three months now, and I’m happy to say that I’ve made a little progress.

But . . .

Not enough. Don’t get me wrong, she has been wonderful. Our weekly Skype sessions are not only helpful but also very enjoyable. I respect her opinions, and it’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of. And I’ll continue to work with her.

But . . .

Something is missing. I still haven’t recaptured the feeling of being in love with writing. I’d almost describe it as feeling as though my writing is locked inside. Even when I have an idea that I love, I can’t seem to pursue it. I no longer feel the breathless excitement for writing like I used to; a lot of my enthusiasm is gone; when I do write, the flow or finding the zone, is almost impossible.

Do I want to give up?

Absolutely not. Quite the opposite. I want to re-find the zest I used to have. I miss it and long for it daily.

Blogging to the Rescue, Part II?

When I started this blog, I posted every day. And while I’m not sure I want to go that far, I do want to start to blog again (certainly more than three times a year like last year and the year before). My original intent for blogging was to kickstart my fiction writing (it worked: I finished one novel and wrote five more with many more partial manuscripts); I’m hoping blogging will do the same this time. For a while now, I’ve also planned to redesign my blog.

One of my long-time blogging friends Nina Badzin just added a subdomain to her main site, for her friendship advice column:

“I made a new site–a subdomain of this site–and that will be the home for all the friendship posts I’ve written since 2014 and all the friendship-related posts I will write in the future. You guys, I made the site with my bare hands.”

(By the way if you haven’t looked at Nina’s friendship advice posts, you should. She’s really helped me and taught me a lot about friendship. Invaluable advice!) But to the point today, kudos to Nina for making the site herself. She has inspired me to take a crack at redesigning my own blog. I had planned to hire someone—and still might—but between having some free time and a background in the tech industry as well as a husband who’s a software engineer (MEH—My Engineer Husband—for those of you who have known me for a while), I’m willing to at least give it a try.

In a way, spending more time blogging is like returning to my roots.

But . . . That’s Not Enough

I’m not so naïve to think that working with an editor or deciding to increase my blogging is the answer to coming out of what I need to admit is a writing slump (I can’t and won’t go so far as to say I’m blocked—I’m not a fan of that expression anyway).

So, I’ve also started seeing a therapist. I sought out someone who works with creative people. My goal is that she will help me find my way back to “the flow” I once felt while writing.

Talking with her has given me the chance to name my feelings and give them space—sometimes I don’t acknowledge I have a right to feel the things I feel. The therapist pointed out that in 2018 I dealt with a trifecta of life changes, and said it’s understandable how those changes would impact my ability to focus let alone my ability for writing to flow. Just talking with her, hearing her acknowledge my feelings and fears, has brought me a sense of peace and acceptance I haven’t felt in a while. And I’m hoping it’s just the beginning.

I know I have a long way to go, but the fact that I’m acknowledging that, and that I’m writing a blog to do so, is encouraging me. I know it’s just one step in many I’ll be taking this year as I find my way with my life and with my writing.

That’s what 2019 has in store for me—I’d love to hear what you’re up to!

Comments

  1. Dear Julia. What a thrill to find the notification of your blog post and then to read it and realize we are walking the same path. I have almost given up writing altogether too, but the persistent nag in my mind continues to get stronger, although it still remains as little more than a flicker. It all seemed so pointless to me and I lost all enthusiasm. (I’ve nearly gotten myself kicked out of my writing group for delinquence. They have all but given up on me.)

    Like you, I have hopes of returning to my blog. Good for you that you made the first step.

    Unlike you, getting traditionally published is only a distant star for me. I don’t have hope there and am rather jaded about the publishing industry. One trip through a Barnes and Noble’s recent releases tables shows me that I am not enough of a famous writer, actress or musician, or politician. But also unlike you, I think I can find satisfaction in self-publishing, although I’m not sure I have the energy to go through that again. I hope that the act of writing and self-satisfaction in what I produce will ultimately be enough to make it worthwhile for me. But then, you are the more experienced writer and I enjoy and benefit from reading what you write.

    This post compelled me to go back and find out what you referred to. I am so sorry for your losses. I’ve grown in that area too and have come to realize that we never “get over” our losses. We are merely changed, our lives are merely changed, because of them. When I have moments of intense grief, I allow myself to feel them and move through me. I am confident now these waves of grief will not drown me. I think I will probably always have times when I cry for the loss of my sister and parents. That’s ok with me. The moments come and go and I move on.

    Several years back, my daughter had moved 2 hours away to Columbus for a job. I was sad at the time, but happy she wasn’t in Toronto, which looked like her only option for a while. After a couple years in Columbus, she wanted to change jobs and find one here in Cincinnati. I was thrilled, but her job search took her to Chicago, about 5 hours away. I was very sad and disappointed. Two years ago she made it back home, and now lives within walking distance. I hope you have as good luck.

    Finally, like you, I have redone my 2nd website that I started as a more professional writing website years ago when I still had high hopes. I recently re-envisioned it to be my “writer and photographer” site, adding the photography piece in for a class I was taking in photography and needed an online portfolio. It still needs a lot of work.

    I look forward to seeing what you do. Take care, my distant friend. Keep writing, and maybe i’ll find my way to join you.

    • Hi Christine,
      So nice to hear from you! And thank you for your kind words and empathy. Sounds like we’ve had some similarities as writers and in life — here’s hoping we can find our way back to the paths of our choosing! Thanks again for your comment!
      All best,
      Julia

  2. Micky Wolf says:

    Dear Julia, your post touches so many experiences in my own life over the past couple of years . . . more than I can put in this note. [Not the least of which is getting my own new web site up and running.]

    Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed pondering what you have shared. Write on. One. Word. A. Few. A paragraph or two. Maybe at this point in the journey it’s not so much about how much you have on paper [or screen] but more to do with the healing and restoration [therapist, photography, etc.] that is shaping the strong new foundation for all that is to come. 🙂

  3. Jessica vealitzek says:

    Good for you. In so many ways, good for you. You rock, sister.

  4. Jamie Miles says:

    I’m trying to gear up to rewrite my novel. The last three years have been exhausting emotionally for me. So I can relate. Children issues along with my sister battling cancer and it’s reoccurance left me drained. But like you I can’t say I’m done with my writing. It means too much, provides me with challenges and growth. So I too plan on being more disciplined and determined in 2019. All the best to you Julia. Blue skies!

    • I’m so happy you’re gearing up to re-write. But I’m so sorry you can relate and have also experienced emotional exhaustion. Here’s to more discipline and blue skies. I’m rooting for you… and for me, Jamie! We can do it! <3

  5. Yay! I’ve missed your blog posts so much and glad you’ll be here on a more regular basis. And I totally relate to your feelings. That was my 2017. My visit to Modernwell in January 2018 was a game changer for me. I realized I need to be around other creative souls on a regular basis. At least be in communication on some level.

    ‘m glad you are seeking guidance to help you push through. But I do think it is okay to let things sit and allow yourself to just be as well. Perhaps doing another creative activity for a bit will stir things up for you.

    So happy to see your blog post in my email inbox! Keep ’em coming!
    xo, Hal

    • Thanks, Hal! I have been way out of the blogging circuit (clearly) for a while, and I need to get back in as well as to be around other creative people — like you — we need to catch up!! Although in theory it would be okay to allow myself to just be, I really need to keep going with my plan… here’s hoping it works since I feel like I’m in some kind of netherworld. Let’s catch up soon! xox

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