I miss Suburban Island. I wish I had kept writing and writing here until my fingers started to hurt. The thing is that you only have so much time and energy and you have to spread it around in different ways at different points in your life. Making family a priority, putting my best effort into my work, and the responsibilities of running a household took precedence. I got spread too thin and so I stepped away from my beloved Suburban Island.
Part of what tipped the scale for me was a new writing venture. For many years I had worked on and off on a novel. That manuscript was set aside, unfinished, for about a decade. I did not believe I could go back to it. Writing at Suburban Island kept me in touch with how much I loved to write though. It was during a particularly grueling stretch of daily living – wake up, work, work, work, do chores, do more chores, do good things with family, work, work, work, sleep a little, repeat – that my guardian angel must have taken it upon herself/himself to whisper a little reminder in my ear about my neglected manuscript. I needed that book to yank me off the treadmill and rebalance my life.
I knew I couldn’t write the same kind of book in the same kind of way—with the same voice, perspective, and tone. I thought that was bad. That this meant I couldn’t use much of what I had written. That it would become a chore instead of a pleasure to take it apart and put it back together again in a way that works for me now. That it might be impossible to do so anyway. That the whole thing was irretrievable.
I was wrong.
I dug up that manuscript and began reading. I couldn’t put it down. I liked the basic concept. I liked aspects of my characters. I knew where I wanted it to go. I would have to tear it apart but I could do things with it that excited me as a writer and I could write it like I couldn’t have written it before. And because it wasn't finished, I could take it places that made sense to me now. I had a writing project. I had my dream firmly back in place. That dream would sustain me and make me better at home, better at work, better at life, than I had been before. Having a dream is important. It enhances your daily life. Having the book was what I needed to jump off the treadmill and start walking my own path. I grasped the opportunity and never looked back.
Do you have a dream you've been putting off? Do you have to set something else aside so you can bring it to the front and start working on it again? What would you be willing to let go to pursue this bigger goal? What are you waiting for? What's holding you back?
I’m not the kind of person who runs around telling people that I’m writing a book which is why I never said anything on Suburban Island about it. It seemed a bit premature. I did tell a very few of my friends. Some, like dear Spritopias, were supportive and for that, I am eternally grateful. A few were clearly unimpressed by my dream. Perhaps they though me presumptuous or simply pedestrian. Why, after all, everyone is writing a book. Hey, they’re writing a book too. Of course, they don’t have any words on the page but they could, if they could just get to it.
So I shut up about the book.
I wrote quietly for years in between all the day-to-day stuff and the important things like time with family. I starting up again on the book wihile I was still writing Suburban Island with the intention of doing both. But what I found was that I couldn’t write on Suburban Island and write the book at the same time. I just couldn’t build in the time and I was having trouble with switching between the two because the voices and the themes were so different. I did not think my haitus from Suburban Island would last so long but it ended up serving me well.
The value of not writing on Suburban Island for an extended period of time was that it taught me something about who I am as a writer - that I like to be funny and positive, that sometimes I am a smartass, that if I can't integrate that into whatever I'm writing, I need to step back and ask why. What I found in the end is that I needed to pull in my true voice – my Suburban Island voice – into my novel. Something I did not think I could do. But I did it. And I love it. It works and my book is so much better for it.Some people will be annoyed at you that you don’t just keep going on as you were. I get that. I have often wished that someone whose blog I regularly visited hadn't suddenly stopped blogging or slowly slipped off the face of the blogosphere. I miss those friends. Sometimes people just stop without an explanation. I wonder how they are. I wish they would write again but I understand they may not put a period on their blog or check back in with an explanation for why the aren't blogging right now for many reasons. Maybe they don't know how to explain. Maybe they keep thinking they're coming back. Maybe they just got tired out or something upset them and they need to walk away. Maybe they procrastinate. Mabye they don't want people to tell them why they shouldn't go. Whatever the reason, it has been my experience that your blogging friends will often find you in the new places that you land. I found many of my blogging friends elsewhere because we almost always land somewhere else these days – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or another blog because in the end, many of us just can’t resist that.
- Writing a blog is a powerful and valuable experience that can launch you into following your dreams in many different ways.
- If you love to write, you're going to keep writing...something.
- No matter what you write, what you do, you need to shine through. Don’t hide your true voice, rejoice in it.
- Whatever your dream is, don't neglect it. if writing is your dream, then don't set it aside, Find a way to fit it in. It will sustain you.
- You can’t always do everything at once even though you want to, even though others want you to, even though you feel guilty because you can’t.
Writing in whatever form it takes can keep you happy, keep you sane, keep you out of trouble in life. It may be your dream to write a blog, a journal, a memoir, a bunch of articles, a book, and if it is, at some point you must find a way to follow through on it. I did not want to grow old knowing that writing a book was a treasured goal of mine but I didn't find a way to fit pursuing it into my life.
That book I was writing turned out to be three. And there will be more beyond it. I love a series and now I'm writing one. I'm just about to release Book One in the series. It's one of the scariest and most exciting things I've ever done in my life. It's not the great American novel. I’m happy about that. It’s a paranormal romance. I am writing what I love. I've been hooked on the paranormal since I was a kid. When it’s published I’ll share the info here with all of you. I will probably be ramping up on an author blog and I'll share all that here too. In rhe meantime, if you're looking for me you can find me @m_m_coleman on Twitter.