Lately, I’ve had an uneasy feeling. In one word, confused. My little family, my job, my health, all fill me with happiness and ease. I’m not overlooking these blessings–I thank my lucky stars for every one of them. But my writing, the words with my name on them, felt unsteady.
And then on Friday, I got the call. Probably a call that any writer would dread. My agent–a woman who has been my friend, editor, partner and cheerleader over the past three years–wanted to have the talk. And deep down inside, I knew we needed to have it. I’d changed, grown, shifted, and we weren’t on the same page anymore. No hard feelings. No ones fault. But, in the moment, it hurt.
Mostly, I felt lost, embarrassed, and mournful. I knew it was the natural next step and I needed to let go, but my pride was getting in the way. My ego was shouting at me: What will everyone think? You put in all this effort and you failed. You just blogged about how great everything was going. Did you really think you were going to be successful? And at the core of it all: You’re not good enough. Ouch.
I turned to two people who have been there for me every step of the way. My husband gave me a shoulder to cry on and my dear friend and boss, Kris, gave me some good ole advice and perspective. This doesn’t mean I won’t write fiction. It’s not a reflection of the quality of my work. It’s just another stop along the way. Rejection is good! Kris urged me to toast to this shift instead of resisting it. So that evening, after tucking Audrey into bed, I poured a glass of vino and clinked glasses with Steve. Here’s to rejection, I said, and I felt a little better.
But it takes more than 24 hours to move on, even if I was trying my best to keep my chin up. I still felt…off. As always, the universe had already given me exactly what I needed. I’d bought The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte the day before the call. Hello, life line.
Over the past three days, I’ve spent every free moment listening to Danielle read The Desire Map on my iPhone. Chores became pure delight as I washed dishes, mopped, and vacuumed the weekend away to Desire 101. Sunday morning, I printed out the first section of Book Two: The Workbook. While Audrey napped and Steve watched football, I sat on my bed, played The Desire Map’s soulful Spotify playlist and tore through the worksheets.
Three hours swept by. My heart raced. My stomach flip flopped. I felt uncomfortable, daring, hopeful. Clearly, I needed to do this work. And at the end of those three hours, I smiled. I felt lighter. I didn’t have answers, but I had less noise. I just felt present and I knew that I had begun something that would feed me and truly help me lead a happier life.
I could see my blessings in bright, dazzling lights and I started to feel like I could take a little breather from my fiction. It’s not going anywhere. Maybe now is the time to read more, be present more, take more notes, journal, and just be. Maybe that’s what’s going to bring the best stories out of me. I’ve been writing so fast the past three years–trying to reach goal after goal. Maybe I just need to live. Not to mention the fact that I’m working on a digital book with Kris right now, which fills me with excitement and joy. Maybe that needs my attention at the moment.
For now, I’m doing what feels good. Early morning yoga and writing before the babe wakes up. Focusing on my job and soaking in all the phenomenal opportunities it offers me. Being present while reading Audrey a book or sitting with Steve in our decked out living room while the Yule Log crackles in HD. All of these things feel spacious, infinite and nourishing. That’s where I want to exist.
Here’s to Desire Mapping, new beginnings and letting go.