choices ~ 10/21/2010

I took a self-imposed break from work to focus on more important things. Quite frankly, there was little choice in the matter, but it was also a welcome respite from the past, oh 6, 7, 8 months or so. I hadn’t realized how much “working” I actually did this year until I stopped. Some people forget to stop, while others like me, prefer not to stop. I’ve never been a “stopper”. In fact, I only know how to be productive and complete tasks. It is not only what I do best but what I enjoy. For me, each day needs to have new challenges (preferably of my own choosing) and things to accomplish. And yet, there is also that little voice inside my head reminding at times to slow down and breathe.

I was completely prepared to do just that after the final draft of The Choice Not Taken was submitted in late September. Now it was in the hands of  publishers, which meant I could “ignore” it without any guilt and do things I wanted. Unfortunately, up until now, my break hasn’t been spent as I envisioned it would be. My time has been focused on family (more so than usual) and due to the extent of my concerns, I’ve been unable to fully enjoy much of anything else. Of course, this included any previous worries over the launching and subsequent work of marketing this next book. Exhausted, both physically and emotionally, I possessed little desire to peddle my wares. But still, somewhere in all of my fears and frustrations and sadness, there was this odd sensation.

I wanted to write.

In fact, I still do. The urge is overwhelming. And I don’t want to write just little snippets here and there, I want to write another book. I already know the subject, and this makes the need almost unbearable. However, I’ve promised myself and my family that I need to step away for a bit, and this time is the best to do so. The holidays are my favorite time of year and despite the stresses, I want to be engulfed by the joy they can bring. Last year, I was writing Still Life, and it was always there…in the back of my brain…calling me…distracting me…fulfilling me. I loved it, but swore I’d not be working on a project this holiday season. And I am a woman of my word.

Anyway, I have plenty to keep me occupied over the next few months. The Choice Not Taken is slated for publication by the first weeks of November. That means I have advance orders to ship, an anniversary special to create, consignment deals to make, Ebook and Kindle versions to format and submit, web site additions to list, copyrights to file, and *sigh* I know there are more I’m forgetting here.

So many people hold misconceptions of writers. For some, there is the romanticized version of the author sitting in peaceful solitude while effortlessly penning love stories and happy endings. To others, it is the tortured writer they envision, holed away in a secluded cabin, slightly maddened by tormented thoughts and shattered dreams. Personally, there is a bit of truth in both stereotypes. At times, I am utterly and deliriously content, believing I am destined to do this and damn great at it as well. Then on other days (most days, to be perfectly honest), I determine I’m wasting my time and delusional to think the drivel I produce is worthy of anyone’s eyes, let alone wasting precious trees to print it on.

I really don’t care, though.

I write what I write without trying to control it. Nor do I attempt to manufacture something I believe others want. It is what comes out of me, and if what comes out of me is worthy of sharing with others, then I’ve just upped the ante. I’d write it regardless, but it is painful to even think of never printing it or making it something more than a digital file on the computer. So, for now, I will not stop.

I can’t.

Writing feeds me. The language and characters and hours at the laptop (both romantic and tortured) nourish me. And I hadn’t noticed just how much until this past month of worries and fears over losing my mother. For when I wasn’t thinking of her or helping her or loving her, I was wishing to do only one other thing…write.

Which, when I really take a moment, I wonder…did I choose writing as my line of work, or did it choose me…?

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