Compelled to Tell Stories
Things haven't changed too much! I still spend much of my day wondering. As a professional storyteller, I now share most of my stories with the world. And as a thinker and changemaker, I help others harness their creative energy, explore truth and embrace intensity. This is my passion, my purpose.
But what happens when the stories get stuck in your throat and won't come out? What happens when life gets so complicated that you lose your voice, even for a little while?
This has happened to me. In truth, I have wafted in an out of that space a lot every since my mom died. It was as though a piece of my soul, my creative spark, died with her last breath.
At first, I thought I'd give up writing for good. I wasn't selling that much of my fiction, so I could easily rationalize giving it up. With my nonfiction, well that just felt like work--reason enough to give it up as well.
Fortunately, I have very wise friends. They refused to allow me to just slip quietly away. They coaxed and cajoled, suggesting all sorts of ways for me to get back to writing.
I started slowly, experimenting with emotions and characterizations. It worked, before long I had written a new story. And another. And another.
I was writing again. A lot.
Life progressed. The pain of the loss lessened.
At least a little.
Things appeared okay on the outside. But as I've mentioned in other posts, something was not okay inside. I was still feeling blocked. The fear that I had lost my creative edge when I lost mom was still present.
Day-by-day, I stopped storytelling. I starved my inner artist, deprived her of inspiration as I made myself busier and busier. It happened so slowly, I didn't notice it at first. But over the course of 18 months, I managed to avoid writing anything new. Fiction and nonfiction. Sure, I still managed to sell a new book. And yes, I "pretended" to write as I edited my old works and rereleased them. But I wasn't creating the way I had before.
By the time it was 2017, I was a mess. I sold an important nonfiction book and focused on that manuscript. It felt good to work on something new. The book was about anxiety, something I with which I was all-too-familiar. As I wove my own stories into that book, my inner storyteller sparked to life.
I began to seek out creative opportunities, attending conferences on craft and book signings - anything to reconnect with the world of writers. Event by event, my soul was nourished.
I outlined a new book, brainstormed with a few writers I deeply admire. I got excited, again.
The spark of creativity was fragile. I struggled to keep it lit. One minute I couldn't wait to get on my computer to weave together a new world, only to find myself procrastinating until the moment had passed. Over and over, I repeated this pattern.
And then something shifted.
I can't really explain it other than to say I found my voice. I remembered my childhood storytelling days. In my mind, new stories sprung forward, new things I again feel compelled to share. Fiction and nonfiction - stories in every genre rushed forward and filled my soul.
Yes, I am still tired when I come home from a long day.
Yes, the battle of time still occurs.
Yes, I still wonder about my skills and other the other typical doubt-filled thoughts.
But something has changed.
Now, I remember that I am a storyteller, first and foremost.
I remember that I have something to say, something I am COMPELLED to say.
And so, I am going to just say it - through self-help books, big idea books, issue stories, love stories, sci-fi tales, and anything else my creative soul wants to do.
I am a storyteller. I am going to keep writing stories!