It’s the first Wednesday again, and time for the next monthly installment for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This is where we writers provide support and encouragement to each other. Join us!
Thank you to this month’s co-hosts: L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace. And of course, a special thanks goes to our fearless founder and leader, Alex J. Cavenaugh! I hope you’ll visit their blogs in appreciation for their contributions to our merry band of writers.
January 2, 1996…twenty years ago. My then-husband and I woke up with the flu. Since we were both sick, there was no one to take care of us, and it was a nasty bug.
Three days later, he went back to work, still ailing but better. For me, though, the story was different. I didn’t get well. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I woke exhausted, my body alternating between freezing cold and burning hot, my lymph nodes swollen, my digestion disrupted.
The eventual diagnosis of CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) didn’t help, as the cause is unknown and the path to treatment unclear.
During the months in bed, I had a lot of time to think. All my life I had wanted to be a writer but always let life get in the way. Now, with my brain addled and little ability to concentrate, I wondered: was it too late? Did I squander my chance?
I don’t often “bargain” when I grieve, but this time I did. Make me well, God, and I won’t forget.
I was one of the lucky ones. Eventually, I did get well…and I didn’t forget my promise. In 1997 I found The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which helped me get started. In October 1999 I published my first book, When a Grandchild Dies: What to Do, What to Say, How to Cope (the link is for the 15th anniversary edition).
The life changes that resulted were extraordinary, and here I am all these years later, proud to be a novelist who has completed her second novel and sent it off to industry reviewers. There’s another novel in draft form, and I am swimming in ideas for more books.
More than anything, writing has made me more whole, more authentic, happier. As a side note, when I met my current husband, I gave him a copy of When a Grandchild Dies…it made him want to get to know me better.
It took a debilitating illness for me to wake up and live. It took that moment in time, twenty years ago, when I no longer had the choice to ignore who I really was. Every day that I can write, that I do write, is a remarkable gift. Yes, writing is hard. Yes, it’s frustrating sometimes to find readers. Yes, reviews can be upsetting.
But to be writers who do not write…that is a tragedy.
My hope for you, my fellow writers, is that 2016 brings you joy, peace, health, and a wealth of ideas to explore. May you find readers who resonate with your words. May you look self-doubt and insecurity in the eye and say, “Thanks. I’m doing this anyway.”
How was your 2015? What are your dreams/goals/plans for 2016? Do tell!
What She Knew is now available for pre-order! I hope you’ll take a look. *