I was just looking over my blog and can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I shared a blog post. This last year has been a tough one for most of us. I spent the better part of the pandemic waiting. It will be over soon, right? Just a few more weeks. Waiting. But then I looked up from my waiting and realized several months had passed and I wasn’t getting on with my life. It was as if the pandemic put my life on hold.
Of course, it really didn’t. I am the one who put things on hold. I think that is natural when we are in survival mode. My focus was staying healthy, washing my hands, avoiding people, washing my hands, getting outside for a walk and …. washing my hands. Each day my goal was mainly NOT to get COVID. Sounds silly when you write it down but I’d wager other people felt that way too.
I could have done all that hand washing and also got on with my life.
So sometime in January I decided to get those hands busy doing something else. Writing, you ask? Well, no. I still didn’t have faith in myself that I had anymore writing in me.
Instead, I started sewing. I knew I could do that. Easy peasy, as my granddaughter likes to say. And what better thing to sew than masks? We all needed them and I was pretty sick of steamed-up glasses every time I went into the store to buy groceries. So I designed a mask that I wanted to wear. Well, not wanted but at least tolerated.
One week later I opened my Etsy Store and started selling masks. It was rewarding and fun and people liked them. As is my pattern, I got bored with making masks within a few months and started making bags instead. Tote bags. Beach bags. Purses. Any kind of bag.
I really liked that. It was challenging and fun and I was good at it! Especially picking out coordinating fabric. And if you sew, you know getting the right fabric can be the most stressful part.
I sold most of my masks and all of my bags quickly and spent time keeping up with social media. A friend posted on Facebook, after losing both her parents to covid, that life was short but her parents lived a good long life with no regrets. Then she asked, “If you were to die today would you have any regrets?” My answer came out immediately, without thought.
I would regret that I never wrote a book.
I opened my laptop and found the few chapters I had written back at the beginning of December. I remember putting them away because I thought they sucked. I wonder if other writers feel this way about their work? I figured I might as well read them to see if anything was salvageable.
To my surprise, they weren’t nearly as bad as I thought they were. In fact, I had a start to build upon. I cleaned up my sewing room and made a space to write. I hung up an old whiteboard I had and wrote an outline on it. I added sticky notes so I could move things around to be sure the story was in the right order, then I sat down and wrote.
I spent the next three weeks writing. Well, sort of. At first, I tried to write. I could only manage to write every few days without feeling completely overwhelmed. I heard Stephen King in my head telling me, “Get your ass in your room, shut the door and write. Now!” He’s pretty bossy.
But I listened. He says if you are waiting for your muse to write then at least be in the same room at the same time so she knows where to find you! I thought that made sense.
So I went to my room, shut the door and wrote. Every day. And you know what happened? I finished the first draft of my book. When I added the period to the last sentence of the book I cried. Not out of relief but out of sadness. I didn’t want it to end.
I went from “I can’t do this!” to “I love this!” and that is a wonderful place to be.
No more waiting.