When I awoke this morning, there was a flutter of anticipation low in my belly. Today is the day I was to consummate my commitment to writing…but not only that, push myself in the direction of completing this novel and readying it for agent representation and, potentially, publication. As much as the industry attempts to discourage writers from doing what they do, it’s not a choice.
Writers write. It’s pretty straightforward.
Several weeks ago, I decided to make some positive adjustments to reaching my goals. One of the major steps in this process was to hire a coach/guide/mentor that could help me see my way to finishing the novel. That, above all others, seemed to be the sticking point for me. Writing the many drafts were easy, because there was no real commitment to completing them. Why, when there was no intent to actually shop them around? It was a safe, if cowardly, approach.
Yes, I’ll be the first to admit to my own cowardice.
Sometimes we allow ourselves certain fears, in spite of “knowing” that they’re really phantoms of our past trying to hold us back, or worse, flawed projections into our own future. I’ve always said with certainty that the word “fear” is really an acronym for False Expectations Appearing Real. In this specific case, I couldn’t visualize who I might be if I ever finished one of my writing projects. What would I do? What if I ran out of ideas? Those are followed by the nagging demon in my head that said, You’ll never be able to support yourself with this writing stuff. It’s a ridiculous dream, one you’ll never realize.
Sometimes, when your inner voice says something enough times, you begin to believe it’s so. Despite all that hard inner work I’ve accomplished, I am still waylaid by my own inner thoughts. It’s a battle I wage every moment of every day.
Meeting with Christopher Rosales from the Boulder Writing Studio was like throwing a tanker trunk of gasoline on that inner demon and setting it afire.
What so many non-writers (and even some writers) don’t realize is that writing is a process. For many it’s a painfully long process, a journey into the deepest, darkest parts of yourself. If you’ve already made that journey and survived, I am proud of you. Depending on the tools you have at your fingertips, it can take months, or it can take years. Some – a few – never make it back out. Others come out so ragged and scarred, their writing careers implode. There’s a reason why the myth that writers are addicts and alcoholics came to be…that inward journey takes more courage than many possess. Self-medicating is only one way to blunt the pain.
Writing is a process in which those who wield the pens must battle demons. It’s definitely not for everyone. To know your Truth is even harder. Writing is speaking your Truth. It’s a very difficult concept to explain.
Have you ever had a moment in your life when someone spoke a word or a name, and chills ran along your spine, or goosebumps formed on your skin? When a writer reaches his or her Truth, it’s a moment much like that, sustained over many pages and chapters. When I speak of capital “T” Truth, I don’t mean those things we tell ourselves in the moment to get us through. Truth is what you do when it’s just you. Truth is sometimes an act that you perform without thinking, because you don’t “think” your Truth, you can only embody it. And in pricking the sensitive skin of it through writing, it releases the cold yet beautifully comforting certainty into your soul that you’ve reached a place that no one has ever gone before. Not even you. Truth isn’t told. It’s lived.
Truth is also the current that runs throughout our known universe. When we are allowed to tap into it, it’s like mainlining a lightning bolt.
Being in Christopher’s presence today was being in the presence of my Truth. Without diminishing the exceptionally powerful feeling that I’m still reeling with, I can say this: sometimes the Universe sends you a Teacher. And if you’re paying attention – very close attention – you recognize him. At the same time, you see a mirror image of yourself in his life, as if he were a doppelganger who’d stepped through a different door than you, and lived a parallel existence. One that perhaps had different characters, a different storyline, but because you’re so much the same spirit, you finally get a chance to be present when your paths cross. And because you’ve done that heavy inner lifting for so many years, it’s like a door opening…not to Narnia, but to the very essence of who you are.
I look forward with exceptional gratitude for his presence in my world. And I’m more thankful than I can easily express for the opportunity to learn, and perhaps to teach, as we move forward.