Crossing Over: Reflections on Getting to the Place Where I Can Write Fiction Again!

Changes at my day job and a sudden change in character in my husband have left me floating between uncertainty and relief. Is all this happening in order to bring me to a place where I can finally write the stories that have been buried in my heart for so long? With the New Year I realized I have formed some bad habits since our move to California. In my last post I spoke of igniting my old purpose. In examining some of my new habits, I realized they are holding me back.

I have become dependent on a bedtime routine that landed me in my bed as early as 8pm some nights. A mixture of prescription and natural sleep and pain remedies would put me in quite a daze. Feeling sleep had to be the priority if I were to perform well on the job, I didn’t feel I had a choice. However, being the analytical person I am, I realized this routine had to change. Slowly, I cut back one thing at a time and soon I found myself falling asleep easily most nights with only a cup of tea and a melatonin. During this same time, various personal stressors had emerged–something that would normally keep me awake–yet I found myself not considering them much once I had started my evening routine.

So, I tested the waters a couple of weeks ago and decided to bring my fiction-based work to bed. If I was going to wind down for two or three hours before falling asleep, perhaps I could take the first hour or so to get focused on what I loved the most about writing–combining creativity with constraint to concoct a great story! Reading other works of fiction was necessary, since having an example of great writing is always an inspiration. In addition, I pulled out the Write Great Fiction course I had purchased at an amazing discount over a year ago. I also created a new Twitter account with the intention of connecting with other writers and fiction publishers.

I had no real objective or expectation, aside from focusing on fiction. My life has been overwhelmed with non-fiction writing and editing between my resource and recipe book and my work at a local parenting magazine. Any so-called “free” time I had involved catching up on housework, grocery shopping and cooking, or figuring out how to make ends meet when my husband’s paychecks were less than sufficient. My pain levels had been escalating and I was irritable. I had to focus on something positive, something I could control.

My husband had also started participating more at home, for no apparent reason. I recall at one point praying that God would open his eyes and change his heart to partner with me more in shouldering all the responsibilities of our household of six. But, the prayer seemed weak, as I was too tired to put in much effort. Aside from that, even my husband doesn’t even know what’s gotten into him! Now he is keeping up on the laundry, enforcing chores, cleaning the kitchen every night, and has even made dinner several times! I am sure having this load off my mind is helping a lot. What does this have to do with me writing again? I think the fact every time I turn a corner I am not seeing a mess I need to clean is helping immensely. One of the major stressors for a person with fibromyalgia is mental and physical clutter. Seeing piles of laundry, dishes, and paperwork I don’t have time or energy to tackle is very stressful! But, for the past few weeks, my kitchen is sparkling, the boys’ room is picked up, my laundry is folded and my dresser, and I have not had to think about dinner every single night.

The best part is that I am not overloaded with guilt for nagging and complaining about the mess! I don’t feel like a mean mommy who only “cares about a clean house.” I have had good-natured conversations with my kids, had mental energy to help with homework, and even played Halo on Xbox and got out last weekend to help my oldest son warm up for baseball tryouts (never mind the extreme pain I was in for 4 days afterward!) I actually feel like I am connecting with my kids instead of just correcting them. My husband and I have had laughs and I don’t sense this constant invisible wall of resentment between us. All this is occurring regardless of all the uncertainty in our present circumstances.

Although I have had my moments, they are not getting me down. Going back to my evening fiction-focus time, I am stepping back and realizing that all of this–every challenge, every choice–has the potential to become a part of one of my stories. It is not as if I have never considered using part of my real life as a springboard for a fiction novel. Instead, the epiphany is in seeing how thinking this way is actually helping me to manage the stress of the situation. Instead of scribbling down my frustrations in the form of venting, my journal entries are becoming descriptions of my emotions and thoughts, and even quoting dialogue of conversations I have had during the day.

Now, I am chomping at the bit to get started! Whatever the reason, whatever the method that got me to this point; it is time for me to write. I have a quiet house for the next 5 hours so off I go. I just had to document the journey that got me to this point so my analytical brain could take a rest and let the creativity take over. Thanks for reading!

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