There’s nothing quite like the relief one feels upon learning they are not irreparably broken. To have someone reach out and lift that guilt from your shoulders, to say, “this isn’t a burden you need to be bearing”. There’s also a great comfort in being shown that you can do it, you’ve just been doing it the wrong way for you, because you’ve spent too long ignoring the voice trying to guide you.
I had gotten into a good flow, writing every day on the bus into work. I’d finally broken my “5k block”, as I called it, the point where every story either finished by 5000 words, or it just died, and I was well over 40,000 words on a project. It was a great feeling. Every day I’d throw out and post a thousand words and revel in the comments. And then my mom got hurt, and in the process of dealing with that found out that she was terminally ill. The words stopped, and things snowballed from there. My grandfather passed suddenly, just before Christmas, my mom the following month, and while I was still trying to figure out how to deal with that, my husband passed just after the anniversary of my mother’s death. Toss in a pandemic and suddenly living alone for the first time in my life (and in a quarantine no less) and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to start writing again. I was convinced that I was too depressed, too miserable, to be able to find the joy in it anymore.
The first online Wild Heart retreat, I booked time off work and decided I was going to treat it like I was really going on a retreat, and I was going to write. And I did. I learned that sprints worked. They were a thing that helped, and I got a whole bunch of words done. But then the retreat ended and so did the productivity. It was back to the daily grind of work, the daily misery of what life was throwing my way.
And then came Unearthed, a deep dive into creativity and community. Where we learned about the stars and the seasons and how they could guide our characters, but also ourselves. I’ve always appreciated Andrea’s “take what resonates and leave the rest” take on, well, everything, but there was just so much about what we were learning that resonated with my personal experience.
I ended up having a private call with Andrea to discuss what the stars of my birth were saying about my writing process and it was like a slap in the face. It wasn’t anything new, per say, but it feels a lot more real when someone else is saying it. It’s a lot harder to ignore when someone reads you, and lays it all out for you.
Combining that outside looking in view of how my own process works, with the new knowledge from Andrea’s classes that creativity itself flows in a cycle of rest/recuperation and productivity just like the seasons of our planet, has given me a fresh outlook on my writing life. More than that, it’s given me a sense of hope. It’s made those times where I can’t create feel less like they aren’t me failing. And that’s a wonderful feeling.