Happy almost Thanksgiving (for you Americans)…
Year after year, one of the things I’m most grateful for in my life has been my decision to become a writer.
In August 1993, I woke up with a dream in the middle of the night that showed me six books I was “supposed” to write. The dream was like a detailed vision, revealing how to write the books, how to format them, and even what to title them.
But just because I’d been gifted a vision, didn’t mean it was a done deal. I had to decide to commit to the craft of writing. Trouble was, I’d never trusted I could be an author, even though that’s all I’d ever wanted. Coming from a family of geniuses, I figured I wasn’t smart enough. “I’m just the fun, athletic one,” I remember thinking.
But the dream was so specific. It was as if my unconscious and God teamed up and said, “We’re going to smack you over the head with this and make it so damn obvious that you won’t be able to ignore your dreams any longer.”
Early on, I tried to strike a deal with the Almighty: “Alright. You’ve given me this vision; you’ve given me an ache. I trust that. I believe in that. So I’m going to do my part. I’m going to show up every day at 3 a.m. Please continue to show me what to do.”
I did show up every day from 3 a.m. (to 6 a.m.). That might sound exhausting, but I found it the only time to really hear–both myself and my “guides” (yeah, I’m a believer). It wasn’t like I already had the ideas fully fleshed out and could set aside a chunk of time in the afternoon when our kid was at school and my then-husband was at work. I’d married an actor who was home much of the time, and our three-year-old wasn’t yet in school. If the two weren’t rolling around on the floor like pit bull pups, our boy followed us around and threw Nerf balls at our heads. In other words, home was not conducive to undisturbed writing time. Which is how the middle of the night became my sanctuary, my chance to dance with and co-create with my muse.
It was pretty sexy (not), hunched over, furiously scribbling onto my notepad at the bottom of my closet with a flashlight. I laugh now when I think back on it, but I was hungry. And hiding out in my little cave each night until the dawn made me feel legit and tapped in. It appeared I was taking dictation. My husband looked at all this output after about three weeks and said, “Crap, Woman! If this is real, because it looks real, let’s get you a computer.”
When we moved to the middle of nowhere… onto 365 acres of raw land in the high desert mountains of northern New Mexico, it got even more complicated. We were building a house. We were sitting at the feet of Native American Indian Medicine Men. We were on a soul quest. The kid hadn’t yet started kindergarten. For a long time we didn’t even have insulation or electricity (my laptop ran on solar power). And still, I’d wake up at 3 a.m. so I could breath daily life into my writing while being a full-time frontier wife + mama.
My drive has never wavered much, but my offices have become significantly roomier and more comfortable over the years. And, I think I still have a few (hopefully more) books in me ☺.
How about you? Have you told your muse, your god, or your writer within that you’re committed to showing up? Can your partner see the evidence of your commitment? Give it up. Let us know in the comments below what you’re willing to do to commit to your writing practice this Holiday season. Be bold! And, take out your calendar, diary, day planner and get it scheduled. Make it real. Once you declare when, where, and how often you’ll be there (subject to change, with your evolving life), everything gets easier. Unless you decide to meet with your muse at 3 a.m. in a closet with a flashlight. Or, move to a place where you’ve got to trek to an outhouse at 3 a.m. in 10 degrees. That won’t be easy, but man will it be an adventure!