Saturday, December 10, 2011

Breathe

Guest Post by Dean K. Miller

I’ve carried my writing dreams as long as I can remember. They took a serious dent when I received some much needed, and brutally honest, criticism of a sample of my work. Prior to sending it out, I was thinking chapbook, gift book, or simply just paperback best seller. The return pages told a different story; so much red ink lined the pages it looked like the blood spattered walls of a desolate cabin in a slasher movie.

Fate smiled a short time later when, on a cold December morning, I stumbled upon the Northern Colorado Writer’s studio. That chance encounter changed the scope and direction of my writing path more than anything since the early 1980’s and my last community college level creative writing course.

Before long, I was attending NCW classes, learning how to blog, rounding up a new critique group and blazing my fingers across whatever keyboard I could find. With only one published article to my credit, it seemed piece number two was mere moments away. I could feel it.

Without much thought, three blogs, one book, two articles and 18 other fabulous ideas squeezed every nanosecond from my dwindling free time. I was never happier. Meeting 11 monthly deadlines engulfed my days and drove me to write. New ideas replaced half-finished first drafts and multiple flash drives did little to organize my collection of ill conceived storylines.

Then it happened; I began to suffocate under my self-imposed burden to produce more (which I mistakenly interpreted as a path to success.) Soon, a missed deadline or two didn’t matter. Shouldering my writer’s bag to and from the car was a close as I got to writing. I was acting like a writer, instead of focusing on becoming a writer. Something had to change.

Thankfully, with encouragement from a mentor and friend, I found the courage to let go. The book was shelved, the blogs came to an immediate halt, and I rediscovered my writing breath, simply because I chose to live outside my writing.

Is your writing allowing you to breathe freely, or is it time to un-cinch the noose you’ve hung around your neck?


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6 comments:

Cozy in Texas said...

When I'm writing a novel I tend to give myself a deadline and then stress about it.
Ann

Jerry Eckert said...

One goal at a time, Dean. Focus is what it's all about. I know because I've been there. I am such a Jack of all trades, an idea flitterer, a master of none, myself.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I have way too many diverse interests to focus on one one thing, Dean. But I also have fewer demands on my life since I'm retired and my family is grown. When I was younger, working full time, and had kids at home, I rarely got any writing done. It's important to set priorities, and without a doubt, family needs to come first.

Dean K Miller said...

Ann: One deadline is stressable...I'm working back towards that.

Jerry: Nice to see you! I'm still multiple goals, but my focus is singular when I'm writing, and each one is much more reasonable.

Pat: Taking care of those non-writing priorities always comes first...and then, amazingly, time opens up to write and smile.

Cindy Keen Reynders said...

I recently had a total meltdown; too many things going on. Working full time, a book release, book promotion, blogging and working on new book lit my hair on fire. Then there's Christmas to prepare for. So I've taken a break from the current work in progress. Yes, I'm taking a deep breath,too!

Dean K Miller said...

Cindy: Wish I could add the book promotion to my list of over-indulgence...but maybe sometime later.

I'm sure when you go back to your WIP that's on pause, you'll find new life and new directions that were waiting to be found.

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