Z. Egloff has a new release, Leap, and it’s available now from Bywater Books. Before you go running off to buy it, stick around for a few minutes and read her guest blog. Then go check out her website, Life in ZD. Or like her on facebook HERE. Or be her friend on facebook HERE. And of course, you can buy her books HERE.
How to Be a Writer and Not Go Insane
When I first started writing over a decade ago, I was full of inspiration. I wrote my first piece of fiction in my car. It was for a fan-fiction website called Whatever Weaver Wants. The television show “ER” had a lesbian subplot involving a character named Kerry Weaver. I was obsessed with the show, an obsession that catapulted me into writing.
I haven’t stopped since.
After a few months of fan fic, I tried my hand at a novel. And now, eleven years later, that first novel, called Leap, is being published by Bywater Books.
I’m amazed I made it out alive.
My early writing days were filled with torture. No, not whips or chains or anything kinky. The torture took place solely in my mind. I would write something and then decide it was crap. Worse than crap.
My mind chatter went a little something like this:
Why am I even bothering to write? I’m not a writer! I’m a producer of crap! I should cease and desist immediately, thus saving the world the excruciating experience of reading my words!
Actually, no one was even reading my stuff at that point, so ceasing and desisting would have just saved me.
Only I didn’t want to be saved. In spite of my often-disparaging assessment of my work, I loved to write.
And when I wasn’t busy deciding my work was crap, I was sometimes thinking maybe it was okay.
Or maybe even better than okay. Maybe even, kinda, good.
Except this kind of thinking made me nervous, because I didn’t want to get a swelled head. So I’d go back to thinking it was crap.
It was like a roller coaster ride. The assessment of my writing would swing from crap to good to crap to good to crap. Up and down and round and round.
It was enough to make me perpetually dizzy and nauseous.
Until I remembered why I started writing in the first place.
My foray into fan fiction began not long after I started A Course in Miracles. The Course, for those of you who don’t know, is a book about forgiveness and spiritual growth.
My exposure to the Course deepened my spiritual practice, which, in turn, deepened my commitment to creativity. This was all well and good, as far putting words on a page.
The problem came with the aftermath. Once the words were out there, my mind would get hold of them and scoot off to roller coaster land.
I logged a lot of hours on that roller coaster before I was willing to try something different. But, thankfully, that day finally came.
It came when I realized my work wasn’t mine.
Writing, at its best, is like taking dictation. The words form themselves in my mind and I write them down. Where do they come from? I have no idea.
Ultimately, they come from somewhere bigger than me, but where is that, exactly? I don’t know and I don’t need to.
All I know is that being a writer means surrendering myself to something that’s bigger than I am.
When I remember that my writing isn’t mine, that it belongs to something bigger than me, then declaring my work crap is insane. Who am I to judge my muse?
Yes, I still hop back on that roller coaster every once and while. But I don’t stay on very long. Nausea isn’t my thing.
But writing is. Writing, and the amazing ride that happens when I let my muse direct my life.
I’ll buy a ticket for that ride any day.