Sunday Truths: “Tell us what you’re writing”

It was a well-meaning comment. I know it was, because my readers tend to be lovely people.

I wrote a post about what I’ve been reading/listening to/watching, and the first comment I received was just this: please tell us what you’re writing. Meant in excitement, I know, but yet it made me feel small. And that’s on me, not the person who commented.

I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to get myself right. Self-publishing success came out of nowhere with Hidden. I had readers! A lot of them! Authors I loved were talking to me and considered me to be one of them. Authors I loved also accused me of being a hack, which was super fun.

And then life stuff happened. We moved. We lost a loved one. I had health scares. Book publishing slowed to a halt, and because I never planned for this, never learned the business side of things and how to market my back catalog, sales ground to a halt as well.

A funny thing had happened in those few years when things were going well. I’d started aligning my self-worth as a human being with how many books I was selling and how good my reviews were. The fact that I have an amazing marriage and four wonderful kids and that I’d met so many writing goals I never could have dreamed of began to pale in comparison to those numbers.

And when the numbers started going down, my sense of self worth plummeted with them.

I’ve spent the past several months trying to get myself back, learning to see myself as a whole person again and not just one thing. That thing, the writing thing, is an integral part of who I am and always has been. But I’ve had to find a way to see it as one part, one thread of an intricate tapestry that makes up Colleen, intertwined with everything else to create the whole picture. And I needed to ensure that if that thread was pulled again, the whole thing would not unravel as it did before.

And this well-meaning comment that I know came from a place of love had that little voice that every one of us has, that vile little voice that insists that we are not enough, just chortling with mirth.

My inner critic looks an awful lot like this bitch…

“See. You’re nothing. No one cares about you, silly girl.”

And this made me see that I have more work to do. I’m in a place now where I was able to get past that stupid little voice and recognize the comment for what it was: excitement and curiosity. But the fact that I had that reaction at all, that my inner Critic got even a tiny foothold, tells me that there is more work to be done.

So I picked up my old copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I’ve had the book for years and for whatever reason, only made it through the twelve week study once, a very long time ago. But it’s time now. All of those little pieces of me, the ones I’ve hidden or lied to myself about or tried to deny, need to be dealt with.

Writing still makes me happy. I love falling into the worlds of my stories, making my characters live and breathe. But there’s still some block there, something that is preventing me from feeling the complete joy I want to feel when I’m writing. When I wrote Lost Girl, and Broken, and Shadow Witch Rising, and Between the Lines, I felt like I was flying. I want to feel that way again, without all the bullshit that’s been holding me back.

This Blog, and Why It Exists

This blog is a little bit of everything. Part journal, part day-in-the-life, part promo when I have something to promote. At this point in time, it’s another way for me to get words out of my brain and out to those who might want to read them. I’m a firm believer that writing begets writing, that the more time I spend in a place of creation, the easier creating becomes. I promise that when I have a book coming out, if you follow me here, or on social media, or you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll know about it. And I recognize too that some people just want to know about the writing side of me.

For those lovely people, I invite you to check out the blog on Mondays, when I’ll focus on my current work in progress and share snippets.

The rest of the time, I’ll be writing about everything from books to Warcraft to crafting, because I’m trying to get back to a place where I recognize that all of those weird little parts of me are what make up Colleen Vanderlinden, writer. I’ve ignored the other parts too long, determined to be a SERIOUS AUTHOR.

But, I’m just me. Falling apart and putting myself back together, over and over and over again. After all, there’s nothing wrong with breaking every once in a while and remaking ourselves, becoming what we want to be. It’s never-ending. It’s life. As someone who dislikes change, this pisses me off mightily. But breaking is sometimes essential, and I’m embracing that fact, along with the rest of me.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Truths: “Tell us what you’re writing”

  1. Toni says:

    I am glad that my comment inspired some deep reflection! I most definitely asked from a place of excitement and curiosity! I had been in bed looking for something to read and I said to my boyfriend that I hoped everything was alright with you! You hadn’t posted a blog in a few months. I have been FIENDING for more of your writting! Even a blog! The very next day you posted! It made me so excited and I just had to ask! My initial reaction to this blog post was to apologize because I would never want to make someone feel that way! Like I said..I am glad my comment inspired you to look deeper. This has made me feel even more connected to you because I have been in a similar headspace lately with my art. I am chronically ill and work full time. As you can imagine,I do not have much left in me at the end of the day. So if I am not constantly creating…am I even an artist? It can be a tough battle sometimes. Good on you for not giving in to those feelings of inadequacy! Much love to you! I look forward to your future writings and musings!

    • Colleen says:

      Toni — It REALLY did and it hit me upside the head with how much it made me look at where I still am in my process, so I’m glad you commented and you have NO reason at all to apologize because as I said I understand that the comment came from a place of excitement and curiosity and love for my books which is just beautiful and it’s amazing how our inner demons or that little shitty voice inside us can take something wonderful like that and try to twist it. Thank you for commenting again and understanding that I’m grateful for that comment because it made me grow a bit more in understanding myself.

      I hear you completely on the “am I even an artist?” thing. Since book sales have fallen, I’ve spent more time doing freelance writing and editing than actual fiction writing, and I’ve faced the same question about myself. Am I really a writer? The stuff I did before was in the past. What am I now? And I guess for me, I’m trying to get to the point of, I’m ME. And since I’m a person made of many things, yes, I am a writer even when I’m not writing. And sometimes I feel like I’m BSing myself when I say that, but eventually, I won’t feel that way.

      I’m so glad you commented again! Keep up the good fight! <3

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