Last week was basically 2020 wrapped up in seven days. Between our fridge giving up the ghost (which necessitated a late-night transfer of all its contents into an already-full Fridge #2), saying goodbye to one of our dogs, dealing with an ongoing, long-term family crisis, AND receiving some sad news on Friday, it was what we would call “a humdinger.”
Needless to say, it wasn’t the kind of week that normally fosters a great outpouring of creativity. AND YET! I still began work on the Celtic fantasy novel I mentioned a couple of Mondays ago. I still wrote a rough draft of my next article for Cultivating. I still sent off one query letter and started a new fanfic. And I did it all on a new laptop!
How I managed to accomplish it all, I’m not quite sure. But these were the things I’d planned to do and I did them, even if it sometimes felt as hard as pulling teeth.
The fanfic was, though, was a surprise. I realized on Wednesday that jumping from a nonfiction article and straight into fictional narrative is like cold-starting an engine. It’s not easy, transitioning from the importance of sacramental vision in dark times to an action-packed scene involving the Loch Ness Monster and a high-spirited heroine I’ve built from scratch.
But I learned on Thursday that if I spent a little time writing fanfic, that transition was so much easier! I still moved straight from nonfiction to fiction, but I didn’t have to fret about the pacing of a scene or whether my descriptions of the Scottish Highlands were accurate. I just had fun. And once my creative muscles weren’t so stiff, I was able to work on the Celtic fantasy without a problem!
But my Inner Critic gave me such a hard time about this, insisting that a project that won’t promote my brand or increase my chances of publication is worthless…even though I still worked consistently on the fantasy.
I’m at the point where I’m about to fling the Inner Critic out the window. Its editorial skills (which are admittedly quite good!) gained far too much power over me while I was polishing up Operation Lionhearted, and I’m getting sick of it.
Thankfully, however, the Lord comforted me through this simple yet profound tweet:
Obviously, “I won’t feel guilty about the things that make me happy” can be perverted: you don’t want to think that way about, say, a sinful habit! But it did assure me that if a little fanfic preps me for the more intense work of crafting my own novel…then praise God! It is a gift, it is a mercy, and I can and should accept it as such.
I’m a different writer than I was when I started work on Operation Lionhearted. I was 24, fueled by sheer excitement and a bit of rage…and writing nothing else except for a blog which I updated maybe twice a month. I’m now twenty-eight and no longer full of rage, thank goodness–but I’m also trying to get my first novel published and a second novel written. I update my blog every Monday. I write for an online magazine, and I’d like to write for other magazines. But I also have a wonderful job every Tuesday, and I have a productive life within my own home: I bake for our family, I’m my mom’s secretary, I enjoy my two baby nieces, I teach my siblings piano, I try to maintain a consistent exercise regimen, and I’m broadening my creative horizons with some arts and crafts.
I AM A BUSY WOMAN. And I refuse to feel guilty anymore about balancing my time and finding my own healthy creative zone. If it takes me longer to write The Thin Places than it took me to write Operation Lionhearted, that’s okay. It’s time to accept this new season of my life and write the next right thing!