"All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery."~ GEORGE ORWELL
Vain, certainly; lazy, probably. But I seriously believe I am the most giving person you could ever hope to meet. Just check my Writing.com activities for confirmation. I spend at least as much time trying to help new writers find their groove as I do working on my own projects. Vain? Of course! If I wasn't vain, would I keep posting to this blog that hardly anyone reads? Lazy? I have to cop to that, as if I wasn't lazy, I'd have my nose to the grindstone every day, producing usable copy. Instead, I spend half my writing time blubbering about not being a writer anymore.
And that brings me to a specific Writing.com activity called Dear Me. Each year during December, Writing.com runs a contest that challenges you to write a letter to yourself as a writer. It can be motivational, congratulatory, commiserating, anything you want it to be. The theme, I guess, is what would you say to yourself if you were someone else? I don't participate in contests (my muse isn't a trained circus monkey that performs tricks on demand), but I wrote one of these letters, from the heart to the brain, as it were, and it has really snapped me out of the doldrums. I read it first thing when I sit down to write each morning, and then launch into projects with a clear head and a sharp focus. It has worked so well that I recommend it to anyone who is having difficulty getting started on any project. This is what I wrote:
Dear Me,To bring the story full-circle, I have returned to Stingaree as my primary project. That story is simply too rich, layered, and dare I say fun to toss it on the scrap heap and move on. My secondary project will be a follow-on story to the horror tale, Possession of Blood. To support my new-found exploration of horror, I have joined The Dark Society, Writing.com's premiere horror group. Keep your eye on this space. To quote Dr. Betruger, "Great things are going to happen here, you just wait and see!"
What is it that you think you're doing? We joined WdC a year ago this month, and we came in like a house afire! We had no sooner stepped in the door than we were setting up forums, starting a blog, forming a group, heck, we even posted a novel. That novel, that blog, and our port itself were quickly nominated for Quill Awards. But then something happened to you, something bad.
I remember when, too. It was August, five months ago, that you suddenly lost all interest in writing. After six decades of putting words on the page, I can understand you being tired, but what did you replace it with? Video games and shoot-em-up television? Where's the reward in that? What does that get you besides a few more dead brain cells?
Me, you need to snap out of it. I'm lost without you. We've always been right there on the same page together, partners in crime, explorers of the unknown, two best friends making up new ways to tackle the fantasy that is life, but I can't do this alone. It hurt me when you turned our group over to another member because you didn't plan to be here after our renewal date. It cut me to the bone when you closed one of our forums because people weren't lining up to use it. The pain was almost too much to bear when you asked Kittiara to remove our Quill nominations. Even now, when you talk about reducing our membership to basic, the level that will barely keep the one remaining forum open, and that only for the handful of people who have begun to use it, I lie inside and cry. What about the award we give every month? Will that go, too? How will the dozen fine people who have received it feel when their icons are replaced with the dreaded "Invalid Item" notice? This isn't you, Me.
Are you confused by all the different directions you could take? Beyond the Rails is crying out for that fourth book. I'm sure our friends in the crew are sad about the way we left them. I am, too. We could dust them off and get them back into the air. Or, we could start the Darklighters spinoff we set up at the end of that third book. Those two hooligans would be a blast to follow! We could come home for a while, and lay down the rest of Stingaree. Just imagine the fun of a steampunk adventure set right in our own home town, with famous personages as minor characters, and that book is halfway finished already! Or maybe you're steampunked out. That's understandable after three books. How about that exploration of horror that we talked about? Possession of Blood was well-received. It could use some company in your port. I think I see the problem; you have so many directions to explore that it's overwhelming you. But we need to do something. If you can't decide, we could set up a poll, and go with what our readers would most like to see. Yeah, there's an idea! I know how you dislike making decisions, so let those who would read our work make it for you.
I miss you, Me, more than words can say. Ironic, isn't it, for a wordsmith to be lost for words, but I am. I love being a writer, Me. I always have, and I want to keep being a writer, but I spoke the truth, I can't do it alone.
When are you coming home, Me? I'll wait patiently for as long as I can, but I hope it isn't too long. We'll turn seventy in the fall, and we no longer have the luxury of time to waste. I need you, and you need me. We're at our best when we're together, soaring through fantastic worlds of our own creation. Come back, Me, and let's do what we've always been best at. I'll be here waiting when you're ready.
Missing you more than I can say,
I've been down in the dumps for too long, and I don't like it. The future looks bright, and I intend to keep it that way. I apologize to all of you for dragging you through my personal doldrums, and I promise to bend every effort to not doing it ever again. I'm treating this past weekend as a fresh start. The ol' blimp is leaving the dock and setting course for the far horizon. Join me, friends, on a journey to the real final frontier; the length and breadth of the imagination!
Read well, and write better,
~ Jack "Blimprider" Tyler