Family, Real Life, Writing

A Month of Everything and Nothing

July has come has come and gone. I had big plans for July, but most of them were not fulfilled. And then I ended the month flat on my back so sick I couldn’t even read. Four horrible, blurry days of boneless misery. I’m a fidgeter, so my husband says he knew when I was starting to come back to life because my fingers and toes started wiggling and tapping again.

The brightest point of the month was the annual summer visit from my son Daniel Lewis and “daughter-in-law” Sarah Chavez, both professors at Marshall University in West Virginia. We always have a good visit with them. On one afternoon, we visited the Nonini Winery—said to be haunted. It’s been owned by the same family since it was founded in 1936, and I loved the old photos and documents displayed in the tasting room. I enjoyed the wine and, yes, it was a little spooky standing among those massive, old redwood aging tanks.

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The second brightest point was the release of my latest novel, High Tea & Flip-Flops. Unfortunately, launch day was one of my sickest. The early reviews are good. Readers are laughing, which is a relief because it’s my first romantic comedy novel. Of course I hope for more reviews, even a couple of negative ones—especially if the reviewer complains about too much s-e-x and bad language, since I hear those complaints tend to sell more books! 🙂

High Tea & Flip-Flops is available for Kindle at Amazon worldwide as well as in paperback at Amazon and other online stores and by special order at your local bookshop. (Amazon.ca is slow adding the paperback, but it’s coming.) If you’d like to help me spread the word on Facebook or Twitter, please click this link, choose the appropriate image, and copy or save it. When you share it, please remember to add the link: author.to/LindaCassidyLewis in your post or tweet. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

So, that’s the everything part of this post.

The nothing part concerns my writing. No progress. I haven’t added a word to the first draft of my next novel. Oh, I think about it. I open the file and read parts of it. I stare at the Scrivener screen for a while. Then I hit exit. It feels odd not to be writing every day. It feels scary, to be honest. What if I never write again?

The odd thing is that it’s not this particular story I’m struggling with. The plot outline is complete. I’ve visualized the rest of the scenes. I believe it’s a story worth telling. The problem is not in that manuscript.

The problem is in me. I’ve had a blow to the confidence in my writing (concerning another manuscript) and haven’t been able to get beyond it. That seems silly when I have a new book out that readers are praising, doesn’t it? Or maybe it doesn’t. I’m as confounded by the writer’s mind as anyone.

I hope your July was fabulous and your August is off to a wonderful start!

Linda

Family, Power, Reflections, Writing

Chow Mein for Breakfast

I’m alone—in a quiet house—today, so I ate leftover chow mein for breakfast. That’s the sort of wild and crazy thing I do when left to my own devices. My youngest son, Daniel, is visiting from Nebraska and took some of the family to the Cincinnati Reds game in Oakland today. I stayed home to care for the dogs.

connect_heartNo next novel in production, yet, but I may get my brain in gear to revise a short story today. Otherwise, I’ll probably read the afternoon away. I’ve surprised myself by reading seven novels since I wrapped up An Illusion of Trust. For me, since I started writing seriously, that qualifies as binge-reading.

Maybe soon I’ll be able to shut the doors, insert the earplugs, and binge-write. I’ve been a little nervous that one of my novel ideas hasn’t taken me captive. But now I’m trying not to listen when the dark side whispers, “Does that mean none of your story ideas is worthy?” I’m trying hard not to take my Muse’s silence as a sign that I shouldn’t write at all. I’m trying to keep my distance from that perfection trap.

I wish I could remember where I saw the link to Brené Brown’s TED talk, which I’ve linked to below, but I thank, thank, thank whoever posted that so I could find it—and watch it over and over. I’m learning to have the courage to be vulnerable. I’m learning the difference between shame and guilt. I’m learning to accept my short-comings and still feel worthy. I’m doing this because I want to connect to life wholeheartedly.

More than anything, I seek connection through my writing. But as an author, just as in my real life, I allow my fears to restrain me. I write from my heart, but I don’t write wholeheartedly. I let my perfectionism steal that from me. Maybe when I learn these lessons, I’ll be free to write another novel.

Also read: Knowing that my friend, author Michelle D. Argyle, struggles with some of the same issues, I shared the link with her. Brené’s talk inspired her to blog about The Price of Perfection.

How are you living wholeheartedly?

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