I published my first novel last fall. I was proud, and excited, and more than a bit nervous. Until then I hadn't engaged in the social media thing even though I'm somewhat of an alpha geek, but that's what being a writer in the twenty-first century requires, so I dug in and learned the ropes of using it for business. When my first whirl on the PR merry-go-round was over, I found myself curiously unable to move on to the next project. Writing was no longer a joy. I had to drag myself to the task. I'd let the flame of my passion die down to a flicker.
Without realizing it, I'd taken a trip to Funktown. I was spending most of my time at the local pub, commiserating with the regulars there: Self Doubt, Artistic Integrity, and Poor Me. Looking back, it seems odd to have fallen into the habit of listening to their advice, which included a hearty recommendation to attend a navel-gazing class run by Delores Doleful—free as a service to all writers on leave from Real Life.
But my time in Funktown is up. I've thrown off the heavy blanket of despair, and now I'm standing tall and straight, like Theoden when Gandalf freed him from Saruman's suffocating spell in Lord of the Rings. How? I'm not sure, exactly. There was no Gandalf for me; I had to rekindle my passion all on my own. Somehow I have, so now I'm returning home. And it feels good, let me tell you.
Real Life isn't peaches and cream, of course. There are potholes, traffic jams, and sudden rainstorms, and sometimes I burn my breakfast and have to go hungry till lunch. Boo hoo. Everybody has such frustrations. I knew I wasn't in the boat alone. What I didn't realize is just how crowded the boat is.
The struggles I face in Real Life are worth it though. I go through them for a reason. They build my strength as I work toward my dreams and goals.
My three companions from the pub are coming with me, of course. I thought I'd met them in Funktown, but it turns out I'd brought them with me. But things are different now. Our relationships aren't at all what they once were.
I've sent Self Doubt to his room because I've got work to do, and I don't want him getting in the way. Artistic Integrity grudgingly agreed to work with my PR team after I explained that no one will hear what he has to say unless we get the word out through writing that resonates with what people want to hear. And Poor Me? He lives in the tool shed in the corner of my back yard. I suspect he'll get fed up before long and move on.
I plan to live life again. That means writing, and it also means sharing my life—something that's been particularly hard for me to do before now.
I hope what you find here in the coming days will be meaningful, uplifting, entertaining, and thought provoking. Regardless of how it all strikes you, I can guarantee one thing. It'll be as fresh as my morning coffee and as honest as I can make it.
Now I'm going to go write that one true sentence Ernest Hemingway talks about.
So how about you? I really do want to hear your story. How do you deal with the temptation to take a trip to Funktown?
Ever upward and onward.