Oh my gosh... nearly three months since my last post. And I call myself a blogger? Oy.
I have actually been busy. I've been rediscovering myself.
It sounds silly to say it that way, when in actuality I've been doing nothing but going to work, being a mom, and working on my book. And reading, I can't forget that. How on earth could I rediscover myself doing exactly the same things I've been doing for years? I've been working on this book since I graduated in July of 2008. I've been writing since 1997. I've been a mom since 1992. I've been a nurse since 1990. I've been reading since I was five. What's to discover?
In October of this year, I went to see a girl that I've known through my child health nursing job for seven years. She's practically an adult! We're helping to get her on her feet and be independent, since she has a lot of medical issues to juggle. I thought my visit was going to be routine--I would come back to my office with a list of tasks to do for her, and that would be that. I didn't expect her to cry. She's never cried at a visit with me before... I never knew she was unhappy with her situation. I realized on the way home that, despite the fact that I was doing my job all these years, I didn't know a lot about her at all.
I had to stop and ask myself why. Not because I haven't been doing my job... more likely because I've only been doing my job. I did the tasks that needed doing, and I thought I was meeting her needs. But that wasn't making her happy. I never looked below the surface to discover that. So I changed the way I looked at her whole case, and now I'm working hard to get her medical needs met AND to make her happy. Is it easy? No. Is it rewarding? Much more so than just completing tasks.
So I started to look at the other areas of my life. Am I just scratching the surface, or am I working hard to make a difference? Being a mom? It's easy, it's hard, and it takes work, always. But making my family happy is the most rewarding part of my life--something I'll always put before everything else. Reading? A routine part of my night (a half hour before I go to sleep every night... the perfect way to end my day). It takes work, though, to remind myself to find new books to read. It's so much easier to just pick up a book that I've read several times. Now I'm hunting for more quality reading, and taking the time to reserve books at the library or order them online.
What about writing? What about writing the book I've been working on since July of 2008? Am I really doing what I need to do for this book? I've already looked below the surface of this story. I finished it. I finished revisions on it. I sent it out, I got rejections, and then I did more revisions on it. I keep doing more, more, more! And I got to the point that I asked myself, why? Why am I still writing this story? I don't have to write this story. I finished my master's degree, so I have no more obligations, no more real reasons to write. I finished a book that I am happy with--what more do I need to do? I could be satisfied with knowing I completed a master's level education and wrote a good book as a result.
And besides, I told myself, I've already taken lots of time away from my family and my work to get that education and to write this book. Maybe it's time I should be giving back to them instead of taking more time away from them. So, I quit writing for a while. I spent time with my husband and kids and read a lot. It was nice, no pressure and no brain-wracking writer's block. No guilt about playing Bejeweled night after night.
I didn't know what to answer when my hubby asked me how my book was going and when was I going to submit it. I couldn't say I was done with it forever and I was never going to submit it... I knew that wasn't true. Well, maybe I'd just polish it up a little and send it off to just a few agents I met this summer. Yet, I couldn't really do that either.
It took three trusted friends to make me read into myself for my own answers. Yes, I'm a writer. No, I didn't write this book just for my own satisfaction of writing a good book. And lastly, I'm not done yet. I have work to do. I have more to do than just a list of tasks. Just like I had to do for my young friend, I have to look deeper. I have to do more than scratch the surface of this story, and my own life, to find out the real story.
As a writer, you can't be afraid to dig deeper. You can't be afraid to go back again and again, over and over, to find out what isn't working and then find out how to fix it. Whether it's in your own life or in your stories... keep working at things until they come out right. It will be worth it in the end.
It doesn't take an master's level education to make you a writer. It just takes the strength and willingness to go back again and again and again until you've done the best job that you can possibly do.