So a couple of weeks ago, I put it out there on Facebook & Instagram that I’d fallen down the proverbial “rabbit hole” of Writerland. I literally cried out for help (albeit via social media) and asked for ice cream and/or wine to drown my sorrows, or for someone to come along and knock me out of the dead-end funk I’d found myself in–whichever came first. I’m sorry to say–y’all failed to come through! I.am.shocked.
Nah, I’m kidding. I actually failed myself. No shock there!
To make a long story short(er), what happened was I took this huge, giant, out-of-my-comfort-zone leap of faith in my writing career. It was amazing and I don’t regret it at all because that one simple action confirmed something for me and that was this: I want this dream enough that I’m wiling to make those terrifying leaps and whatever else it is I need to do to make it a reality. In other words, I needed to make that move in order to prove to myself that I could be gutsy enough to put myself “out there”. And I was; I did it and the high from that that one step alone has been enough to propel me forward, so I am incredibly grateful and I can not–will not–complain.
I don’t know yet what came (or will come) of making said move, but that’s really beside the point. If something comes of it someday, I’ll be over-the-moon and y’all will be the first to know about it. If nothing comes of it… well, scratch that. I’ve already gotten something majorly positive out of it so while it’s important and could be potentially life-changing (or career-altering)–I’m in a good place no matter what. I’ve gained some momentum and I’m still moving!
But anyway, back to the “rabbit hole”…
I clicked “send” on that gutsy email and immediately felt three things and in this order: relief, pride, and… fear. I was relieved that I’d put everything together and got it all done to the best of my knowledge and didn’t cry or crumble or die in the process. Score one for me! I was proud of the content, I was proud of the effort, I was proud of myself for doing something I always wanted, but never–ever–thought I’d actually do. And then I was scared. Terrified. Because as it turns out, putting yourself out there isn’t nearly as easy as you might think–even when you already know what level of rejection could possibly be involved and have been preparing for that kind of thing for months.
I did what I tend to do when I’m afraid. I prayed about it. I fixed myself a rum and Coke and then sat down and wrote about it. Then I flat-out dismissed all thoughts I had about it. C’est la vie–it is what it is.
Only that’s when my mind followed the white rabbit down that stupid hole and no, it’s not because I had too much rum in my Coke. All of a sudden, my story just exploded in my head and I was at WAR. New ideas were coming at me faster than I could write them down. I began second-guessing everything I’d written up to that point and ripped all of my beats apart and started piecing them back together bit by bit and in a completely different order. I killed a few darlings, introduced some new ones. I thought about every aspect of my story again and again and again and when I was done thinking about it, I started to overthink about it. Ripped it all to shreds again and took it down another path, re-building again, one piece at a time.
The first time you sit down and start hammering out your story’s structure, it’s a painful, but fun and rewarding process.
The second time you sit down to nail down those stupid beats, it’s painful, but still a little bit fun.
The third time you find yourself staring at those 15 beats of hell (otherwise known as Blake Snyder’s 15 Beats from his book on screenwriting structure, Save the Cat)–it’s just plain painful.
I’ve been told that writing can be a very lonely profession. And I’m learning that it’s not so much that it’s lonely because it’s not the kind of job you sit down and share with someone else all the time, it’s that it’s lonely because when you find yourself sitting there ripping yourself apart day after day after day–there’s no one really there to pick up the pieces or to share in the blame. You kind of have to pick them up yourself.
Just like when you find yourself stuck way down deep in a “rabbit hole” it’s kind of up to you to find your own way out of it.
I’m thankful for old friends that don’t put up with my whining and who tell me to suck it up and keep writing (or pay the consequences). And I’m thankful for new friends I’ve made in the industry that understand a little of where I’m coming from and continually encourage me to power through these phases that seem to come and go without warning. They didn’t send me ice cream or wine or pull me out of my funk, but they reminded me of what it is I’m fighting for and told me I already had all the tools I needed to cure the Analysis Paralysis that had paralyzed me.
I made it out the “rabbit hole”. For now, anyway.
I don’t know what the magic motivator was or how it is I finally managed to shake off the self-doubt, but if I can do it, so can you.