I happened upon a little boy, sitting on the ground beside a hole filled with baby snakes. He was stirring it with a stick, watching them writhe. When he noticed me, he accidentally flicked the stick. Out popped one baby snake, which slithered away.
Dozens remained inside, but his eyes followed the escaped one, and then he looked up at me, mouth sagging, and uttered one pitiful, shame-filled word.
I woke up laughing. I’m not big on dream interpretation, but this one felt like a slap. That little boy was me, and though I don’t love having my work compared to a pit of snakes, the way I treat my books sometimes makes the comparison hit.
That baby snake could be a questionable comma or an uncomfortable plot. Or something vulnerable about me that shows through my writing. It could be my focus on attention for myself instead of a heart for the work. And when it gets flicked out, it’s all I can see. Everything else is in order, but I cry, “Chaos!”
I got sick over the holidays–so sick I missed church and Journey Groups. It went on for weeks, making me skip Christmas gatherings. I even got off schedule with my writing and publishing, though you would think I could do those things while stuck on the couch. But my brain was mush.
I had finished Sam, (book coming soon!) but I came to a dead stop on The Misadventures of Mia Gibbs and barely stayed above water on Carousel. And as for promoting? Nope. I went from dreaming of readers to hoping everyone was too busy to read. I felt like a failure, with a pit too stuffed to stir.
Being knocked down was the best thing that could have happened to me. All the pointless baby snakes slithered away, leaving my pit less crowded. I confronted my fear of getting behind … by getting behind.
Then I made a new plan. Not to plan. To lean into who I am. Not just a Vella writer, or even just a writer. I don’t mind letting the wind take me where it will, because my Father makes the wind.
I’m back! Writing, editing, publishing, and loving it. Until the wind takes me somewhere else ….