Writing a trilogy seemed like a really good idea at the time. I like to work in threes -- the original ink blot stories were in a set of three. Three just seems somehow appropriate. Sort of, beginning, middle and end-ish, right?
The first two rolled out with relative ease. I fired them out into the world on a whim and a desperate prayer of needing to prove to myself that I could follow-through. In hindsight, I'm cringing. I'm also quietly high-fiving myself for having at least done it -- I published two novellas in one summer. Colour me awesome.
We won't speak of the formatting issues and lack of forethought as to how exactly the bloody story was going to end!!
We could probably speak at this point of the usefulness of outlines and the benefits of plotting every last detail before you start.
But where's the magic in that?
I'm a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. Which works for me. Most of the time. [I've come to the conclusion that I need to find a happy medium, however - more on that later.]
Then life happened in the most cruel of ways.
I lost my beloved Nanna in January 2015, followed in April by my Constant Companion -- my darling sausage, Oscar. It seems strange to lump the deaths of my grandmother and my dog in the same paragraph -- as if equating the level of grief somehow disrespects one and exaggerates the importance of the other. But, species and relationship aside, they each represented a vital part of what supports me as a writer. Faith in my ability and companionship on the journey.
I was, and am, undone without them.
But. I also had a story to finish and a character that wouldn't quit pestering me until I found a way to send him home. Fair enough.
I realized that if I wanted to commit myself fully to my writing, I needed to clarify and simplify my life. I asked myself some difficult questions and wrangled with the answers until I felt like I was telling myself the truth.
The gist of it is this: writing is something that I simply cannot live without. I think in story - everything I see is a story or the potential for one. I'm happiest and most fulfilled when I'm writing.
I also have a full and rich life -- my family, my day-job, and the patch of earth that I'm fortunate enough to tend, require a lot of my time and energy.
But - I have no desire to short-change one in service of the other.
I choose to allow writing to fit between the folds of life -- I don't believe in having to sacrifice anything to fulfill the needs both of Daily Life and creativity. I find that my writing is richer for the benefit of my myriad of interests and to seal myself off in compartments would be a detriment. It was, in fact, what I'd been doing - and it made me miserable, resentful and extremely unproductive!
What I've learned is this: you can read all of the how-tos and you can sign up for all of the classes; you can change gurus as often as you change your socks.
But in the end, there's just you.
You and your craft -- whether that's art-making, writing, knitting or building Lego.
I found that as soon as I stopped listening to what everyone else was saying*, I was able to hear what that still, small, voice in my head was telling me. Which was that what I really needed was peace, quiet, and to go my own way. I needed to find a way that worked for me. Happily, I seem to have done that.
So - better late than never and all the more improved for the time spent sorting it all out!
The final tale is written and I have a renewed commitment for my writing. I'm hurling myself headlong into the world of indie publishing and while I know it's going to be a hard slog - - I'm happy to be facing it.
It just feels good to be writing.
*that's actually a lot harder to do than you might think -- the Voice of the Many is extremely pervasive, especially in this vast and glorious online world. There's a fine line, I think, between inspiration and repression of individuality.
Soul of the Sea is available from Amazon - you can download it here.
If you read it [and I hope you will] and like it [and I hope you will], please take a quick moment to leave a review/tell a friend -- as an indie, I rely very much on the generosity of my lovely readers to get the word out about my work.