Life, the Hiatus, and Everything
Life has a way of tweaking plans. After returning from an excellent writer’s conference put on by Kristine Asselin and Natasha Sass and the folks at the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (NESCBWI), I had the intention of starting my next great children’s novel. Four months later, I’ve switched jobs, moved from New England to the Midwest, and started my life over again.
Like I said, life has a way of tweaking great plans and nothing can kill the writer’s muse faster than a frantic job search and a move halfway across the States. It wasn’t so much my lack of desire, I did want to write. It was the stress and all that life dished onto me that put my writing on hold.
When I mentioned how my life was going to my good friend and editor Taryn Albright, who I finally met in person at the NESCBWI conference, she told me to step away. I decided to take that advice and almost didn’t want to come back. Life was hard enough without worrying about trying to publish. In the end, I discovered that I will always be a writer or storyteller.
Though I didn’t write a single word during this four-month period. I did think, and imagine, and think some more. Maybe I didn’t achieve a first draft of a book, but I did have some new experiences to draw from, and the ideas for four new stories sprang up like daffodils. Like my move, my writing direction changed. I will still write for kids. I could never get rid of the kid inside my head, but I do believe that middle grade is where my heart and storytelling lies.
What did I take away from this break? Perspective, a renewed passion. For me, it redefined what I want from my writing, and helped me understand better what kind of writer I am. Besides, change is what we ask our characters to do, and as writers we should embrace it.