I must be experiencing something akin to a mid-life writing crisis. Is there such a thing? I’m impatient and frustrated about the publication process. I’ve realized that the day-to-day grind and occasional one-step-forward-two-steps-back trudge has left me feeling worn down and, well, homely. Not that I don’t appreciate the blessings of my wonderful agent, supportive family, and writing buddies who believe in me. I am lucky, I know. But, right now, if I worked in a profession with a regular paycheck, I’d be tempted to buy myself a boost in the way of a shiny new sports car that’s way too impractical for my real life. I might even have the wrinkles stitched out of my belly, my brow, my bum, my attitude. Of course, that wouldn’t solve what really ails me, but at least I’d look good.
As I typed my last blog post, I had somewhat of an epiphany. You see, I begin every new project with zeal and eagerness and I-can’t-wait-to-learn-more energy. But, when it’s time to pour forth the first words of a brand new draft, I automatically think ahead to what my agent would like, what an editor would like, what a librarian would like, what unknown young readers would like. Trying to please so many people, with their own subjective tastes, has threatened the joy in my own writing life. Maybe you feel the same way. Sometimes, it feels more like work and less like heart-fueling art. Sometimes I forget to consider the person who counts most of all. In my desperate search for literary validation, I have cheated on my most important reader. Me. Or, more specifically, the child in me.
So, I’m digging deep today and inviting my inner child back into my world. It’s time for me to get reacquainted with her, to remember where I came from and where my words first blossomed. I’ve uncovered a photo of my ten-year-old self and I think I’ll place it in a prominent spot above my computer. Maybe this reflection will prove to be my most trusted muse, my most reliable critic. What can it hurt, right?