But it was a bad week. Like most bad weeks, it wasn't the product of One Big Thing, but a stew of disappointments, stress, and bad-timing. It left me feeling pretty low, and Friday I finally let it all simmer over as I sat in my car in the parking lot of my local coffee shop, crying, wondering why I was even bothering.
I'm writing this now not because I want encouragement. I'm actually feeling pretty good today. I'm writing this because I'm now on the other side of that feeling, and I wanted to address it.
I reached out for support that day--on Facebook, which is not always the best of forums, but served me well. I didn't want compliments or reassurances, since I have a hard time believing those when I'm in the best of moods, let alone the worst. But I got encouragement. I got support. I got sympathy from others who had been in my shoes. I got the love of my friends.
It's times like that, when the future is uncertain and we realize there's nothing we can do to keep the world from spinning on, that it's good to know we're not alone.
I composed myself, got out of my car, and walked into the coffee-shop. I sat down with my drink, opened my laptop, and pulled up a story.
I started writing.
If there's one thing I've learned about writing, it's this: when I feel bad about my writing, when I feel like I'm never going to get published, or I'm never going to be good enough, or this book that I bled my heart out for is never going to see print, there's nothing that will make me feel better as quickly as getting back to writing.
When the tsunami hit Japan last March, I wished more than anything that I could be back there, in the country that had been my home for three years, doing something. I felt the need to take all the feelings boiling up inside me and turn them into energy, into action, to do something to get that healing-train moving. I couldn't go to Japan, obviously. I would just be a drain on its much-needed resources. There is no feeling quite so terrible as helplessness.
Back then, I turned to the local university and Japanese community to help in the fund-raising efforts. I performed at a benefit concert, and worked together with my friends to get Adryn home for a few weeks, and out of the upheaval of Japan's post-tsunami climate.
It's doing something, effecting a change in my situation, that makes me feel better when I'm down. So when I feel bad about writing, I write.
This weekend, it really helped. I got another whole scene written on BULLRUSHING THE GHOST, and the story is turning out much more touching than I'd anticipated. It was supposed to be a comedy, but it's now also somewhat romantic.
I'm also blessed with wonderful friends, who push me to be better, who support me without babying me, and who understand that I don't want to be told how great I am when only improving my weaknesses will make me feel better...but still find ways to encourage me despite myself.