Cats have been family a long time, so I’ve learned from the best: they’re Masters at Hiding. During these last few weeks, I haven’t written stories or posts; I haven’t revised manuscripts. I’ve been hiding. Hiding from discovering that I’m “good enough.” Hiding from discovering what my love of word craft can create. Hiding from success. Hiding from failure. Two weeks ago at a writers’ conference, published authors, agents, and editors discussed “great” story writing. The lyrical lilt to language spins an authentic tale, grabbing the heart and humor of the reader.
When I returned home, I shook the daylights out of a manuscript. My story was going to be “GREAT”! Somewhere in the battle for rhythmic wording, I lost my authenticity, my voice. Fear swung its fist at me and shouted, “You’ve got nothing!” So, I mastered a new skill–hiding in plain sight. I was EXCEPTIONALLY PRODUCTIVE! “I was TOO BUSY to write stories.”
While talking with God in a nightly prayer, my inner voice lost its patience. “NO MORE HIDING!” it shouted. I countered, “Whoa! No way was I hiding. I was busy. I’ll get back to writing….” Harrumph, I lost that argument. But in my loss, I realized I don’t like hiding. I HAVE a voice. In fact, I like my voice. My writing will get better, but I must keep writing and writing and writing.
During nights that followed, my imagination woke up with my bellowing bladder. At 2 a.m. I found myself squinting at my monitor’s back-light and writing and rewriting stories. Maybe writing in darkness helped me find the courage to write in daylight.
I learned much from those professionals who know book publishing at its best. I DO want to become a part of that world. I DO want to leave behind a legacy of literature–“good stuff, even ‘great’ stuff.” On the plus side, when we find ourselves hiding, we can certainly learn about ourselves. We need to appreciate our self-discoveries. We need to be gentle as we prod ourselves to move on, growing while groaning. We will become stronger and won’t hide so long the next time.