I’ve been stuck.
When Thanksgiving hit with its usual flurry of turkey legs, mashed potatoes and dinner guests, I had 11 polished chapters to my memoir. Eleven chapters that I carried around with me in a little green folder to prove to myself that I’m a writer.
Thanksgiving morphed into Christmas and into the new year, and here I sit with 11 chapters. Not even enough to say, hey, I have a dozen solid chapters. Just one more than 10; not enough to fill an egg carton or a donut box.
I have a bunch of chapters started — bits and pieces that sit unfinished on my iPad. But I haven’t been able to find the discipline, desire, drive to finish them. Actually, I think what I’m lacking is the courage. The courage to hold my past in my hands, turning it over like a Rubik’s Cube as I try to make sense of the life events that have stuck to my ribs like oatmeal.
Memoir writing is weird. A lot of writers say they don’t have the stomach for such things. I can’t seem to write anything but my story. Even when given an open prompt, I instinctively pull from my past, trying to tell a tale using my life experiences as the bones.
But here I sit. Afraid to keep dissecting, digging, delving. Lord knows what I might find.
Or maybe I’m afraid to show everyone what it is that I’ve discovered.
Why should skeletons stay in closets? They’ll scare the life out of you if you see them in the light of day.
That’s the thing about writing a book. The goal is to get it published so that people can hold it in their hands and read the words that you’ve plucked from your soul.
What if no one likes it? Or worse, gets it? Or gets me? What if my parents read it and say, no, this isn’t what really happened, we should know, by the way, because we’re your parents?
So, today I did something to get unstuck. Because this is my dream, and I’m not ready to let go of it.
I responded to two calls for submissions by sending chapters of my book.
Nothing may come of it. But it was my way of reminding myself that I have something to say and have earned the right to say it.
While I wait to hear if my words will appear in print, I’ll keep digging and writing and creating, because that’s what I do. It’s who I am.
I also want to thank you — my faithful followers — for all of the encouragement in 2013. You’ve helped me believe in myself and my writing. Your likes and comments and kind words mean more than you will ever know.
So, here’s to you and me and good blogging and all-around great writing in 2014.