Friday, August 19, 2011

Getting Back To What Matters (To Me, Anyway)

*pops head out of hole*

Are you still here?


You've been waiting all this time to read another entry from me?

Well, we aren't going to discuss what that may mean about your sanity (because, honestly, I can't imagine why anyone would hang on my every word), but if you insist on reading new entries on my blog, I am pleased to announce that your wait is now over.

*pulls body out of hole, dusts clothes off*

In case you haven't noticed, I've been on a self-imposed hiatus.  And I'd like to share what I've learned during the past 6-7 months.  But first, that requires a little explanation.

I've been gone for quite awhile.  Mainly, it was because of the Cold of the Century, which was actually the Flu of the Century that turned into Complications from the Flu of the Century.  I've been pretty sick, folks.  Not that you knew that.  (Nor did I really want to tell you. I'm a firm believer in keeping the negativity tucked neatly out of site.  I'm also a firm believer in keeping the piles of paperwork at my house tucked neatly out of site, but oddly enough I'm not so good at that one.  Huh.)


I've been sick enough that I haven't been able to write.  Physically I didn't have the strength or stamina to keep up with the act of typing more than an email or two.  Mentally I couldn't wrap my brain around a new story, or an old one for that matter.  Emotionally I was a wreck while health care people tried to figure out what was wrong.  And while I was dealing with that, my husband and I got the unexpected news that one of our children was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. 


When it rains, it pours, and all that jazz, I suppose.

I realized that I wasn't in any position to pursue publication, so I decided to place the writing aside.  I quietly parted ways with my agent, removed myself from as many online conversations as I could, and prepared to walk away for good.

I tried.  I really did.  Honest.

But oddly enough, the more I didn't write (or talk about writing) the worse I felt physically.  It wasn't until I realized that writing, for me, IS what makes me feel better that I started to see an improvement in my physical health.  So I started writing again.  At first it was just emails to friends telling them  I was getting ready to write again.  Then it was journal entries to myself (with a good old-fashioned pen and paper--ahhh, heaven on earth).  I also tiptoed back into the online conversation.  I picked up the reins I’d dropped as fearless leader at From the Mixed-Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors, and I started a twitter conversation with MG people which eventually blossomed into the weekly #MGlitchat.

And this week I started writing a new book.  One that I love so much that I cry when I think about the story.  (And I am so not a crier.)

But through all this, I found a balance between who I think I need to be (perfect mother, amazing wife, remarkable Asperger's Syndrome guru, inspiring champion of MG books everywhere, and all-around hero to anyone looking for one) and who I really am (terrible housewife, internet addict, mediocre writer, procrastinator and all-around normal human being).  And I really get what matters to me now. 

And maybe you won't be so surprised to hear that what matters most isn't a book contract or accolades from the industry or even an agent clamoring for my work, or anything that I thought aspiring authors needed.  Instead, it's the love the my husband and children give me, the camaraderie I have with my writing peers and other industry people, and the amazing opportunity I have to make a difference in the life of a child (or a teen or adult, for that matter).

So why am I telling you this, you ask?  Well...

I just wanted you to know I'm back at work.  And that sometimes the sweetest experiences may come from the most difficult of trials.  And that, no matter what happens in your life, there is always a reason for it.  You may not see it at first, but eventually you'll figure it out.  And when you do...that will be a good day.

And that I can't seem to find where I placed that last pile of notes about my WIP.  You haven't seen them, have you?  In times like these a good filing system would really come in handy.

Not that I'd use it or anything.