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     I used to see my future laid out ahead of me, as far as the eye can see, and still, somehow I knew it extended far beyond that.  It was a long, wide path, filled with possibilities.  But lately, visibility is pretty hazy and I’m having trouble seeing any farther than the end of the day; sometimes even seeing that far is a blessing.  The path I’m on was once so certain that I dashed ahead with little thought or concern, simply following the road, oblivious to anything other than reaching the prize that I knew awaited me at the end.  At times, this singular focus made it difficult for me to see and appreciate the gifts I was being given along the way or to take heed of the obstacles being placed up ahead.

     Now the path has narrowed and there are so many twists and turns and dark stretches of road that I tread cautiously.  There was a time when I was surrounded by so many people, traveling along the same path, but little by little, they branched off and now, quite often, I find my path deserted; devoid of any signs of life, of humanity, other than my own.  It can be difficult to convince myself to carry on, but somehow, I always manage to continue trudging forward.  Deep down inside, I know that eventually, the path will once again become smooth and easy, even if I can’t see it ahead of me.  It is how I handle this treacherous stretch that defines who I am and shows what I am made of.  I will not let myself fall prey to the creatures that lurk along the edges, waiting for me to falter, so they can pick me apart like vultures.  I refuse to give them the satisfaction.

     With my head held high, I put on a brave face and try not to let my fear or sadness show.  But if anyone bothered to look closely enough, they would see the tiniest quiver of my lip, feel my heart pounding in my chest and hear the unsteady rhythm of my breathing as I gasp for air to keep the tears from running down my face.  

     No longer thinking, I just put one foot in front of the other, letting the momentum of years of motion guide my limbs.  Well worn and weary, I feel older than my years.  The stitch in my hip, the ache in my knee and the heaviness in my heart; all reminders of the trials I have already survived.  Like battle scars, they are my badges of honor, yet they feel more like evidence of my past transgressions.  Sneaking off the path in search of momentary joy, has its consequences, but has provided valuable life lessons to hopefully keep me on the straight and narrow from here on out.

     The forecast calls for clear skies in my future.  Until then, I will just continue to use caution while navigating with limited visibility.

     I almost didn’t write a blog entry for today.  Instead, I almost wallowed in my emotions and let myself be controlled by them.  Then I had a small moment of clarity.  Rather than sinking into the despair, I chose to pull myself out and use those emotions; to create, to write, to purge the demons that were threatening to drag me down into darkness and put my heart on display.

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     Sometimes I sit down to write and the words just come pouring out of me.  Other times, try as I might, I just can’t seem to get the words to come together.  So what changes from one session to the next?

     A few days ago, I read some notes that I had written for one of the series that I am working on and I got my answer.  When I write based on pure emotion, that is when I do some of my best work, when the words flow so effortlessly.  Is it technically perfect?  No.  There is always editing work to be done and punctuation and I have a bit of a love hate relationship.  But the content has more depth, allowing the reader to get lost in that emotion.

     Those times when I find it difficult to write are usually when I need to build a bridge connecting one swell of emotion with another.  The transitional passages are my weakness. The origin and the destination are both great, but the journey between the two leaves something to be desired.  The entire time I’m writing, my subconscious is asking “Are we there yet?” and the writing becomes robotic and lifeless.

     I think this is why I have been writing so much poetry lately.  Poetry, or at least my poetry, is all about emotion.  It is about laying my soul bare on the page for all to see.

     What is the driving force behind your writing?  What fuels you to write with abandon?

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     You know that feeling you get after a good run, where you struggle to catch your breath?  How about when something scares you so much you feel like your heart is going to beat right out of your chest?  Changes in breathing pattern or heart rate are great ways to convey what your character is experiencing without spelling it out in detail for the reader.  The trouble with vampires, they don’t breath or have a heartbeat.  

     I’ve written before about “writing what you know“.  What I know, is that feeling when you see someone special and it makes your heart flutter.  What I know, is how a kiss or a touch can take your breath away.  What I know, is what it feels like to be so angry you need to take deep, calming breaths to slow down your pounding heart.  When I’m writing, my first instinct is to make my character sigh, gasp, bestill her beating heart, but then I remember, she’s a 200 year old vampire.  Everything I know is completely irrelevant to her.  But does that mean I should scrap everything I’ve worked on so far and stick to writing what I know?  Absolutely not!  After all, what is fiction, if not the imaginings of an author and our imaginations can take us to places we have never been before.

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     Anytime I run into this issue, which is quite often, I need to delve deeper into my memory.  I need to remember beyond the shortness of breath or the increase in heart rate that are so dominant.  I need to think back to the other queues my body offered when I was angry, excited, in love, etc…  Among these queues are the butterflies in my stomach, the stiffening of my muscles, the flushing of my cheeks.  But wait, flushed cheeks are caused by a blood rush and again, not relevant to vampires.  So deeper still, I must dive.

     My hope, is that in doing this exercise, I will find a way to connect with my readers on an even deeper level.  It forces me to go beyond the quick and easy.  I find myself analyzing real life situations as they are happening or directly after so that I can remember every nuance and incorporate it into my writing.  It’s forcing me to remember feelings that I haven’t felt in a while and reminding me that, unlike my main character, I am actually alive.


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   A few months ago, I started to notice that I was becoming numb.  I don’t mean physically numb, but rather, emotionally.  Although mentally and intellectually, I knew I should be feeling certain things, those feelings just weren’t present.  I felt disconnected instead, like someone had flipped my emotion switch to the off position.  It wasn’t the first time this had happened, but I was usually in a bad place when it happened in the past.

     I’ve made quite a few changes in my life over the last three years and it has not always been easy, but the struggle has been well worth it.  After several setbacks in my journey through life, I’ve finally gotten myself back on track and have made great strides, especially in the last year.  So I should be happy; things are looking up now.  While I am not unhappy, I am not happy either; I’m simply, unfulfilled.  Why?  Because I am an impatient person and I focus more on the target that has yet to be reached, rather than the progress that has been made towards reaching that target.  Where most people are encouraged when their dreams begin to take focus over the horizon, just beyond their reach, I become disheartened because I can’t reach out and grab them.

     Knowing this about myself, I have been striving to learn to be more patient, to appreciate the journey that will eventually get me to my destination, to stop and smell the roses once in a while.  I’ve always tried to focus on the positive in any situation, but impatience superseded positivity every time.  I think it is this constant struggle that finally “broke” me and left me in an emotional limbo, unable to feel anything at all.  

     With this numbness, came the inability to write.  I wanted to write more than anything, but I would just sit there, staring at the words on my screen, unable to connect with them.  Looking for a trigger, I tried everything I could think of to evoke some emotion.  I watched movies and listened to music, but nothing seemed to help.


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   And then something happened.  I’m not quite sure what the catalyst was, but I felt something, other than numbness.  It was like a dam bursting.  Everything that had been bottled up for months, now flowing so freely and fiercely, that it couldn’t be ignored; my emotions so open and raw, changing so fast, I felt like I might be bipolar.

     In the midst of all this renewed emotion, I came across someone, that for some inexplicable reason, arouses within me a feeling of inspiration.  I don’t know this person personally, although, I see them from time to time.  It’s an odd feeling, having a complete stranger be your muse.  On the one hand, you want to get to know them, but on the other, fear of breaking the spell makes you keep your distance.  After this brief encounter, I walked away feeling the urge to write.  I didn’t have any idea what I would write, I just had the feeling that I needed to get back to work.

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     The next day, I woke up and even though my immediate reaction was to close my eyes and go back to sleep, I had too many ideas running through my head.  Grabbing my idea book, I started jotting them down.  The next thing I knew, an hour had passed and I’d written several pages.  Am I writing steadily again?  Not quite, but the fact that I am writing at all is a good feeling.  So to whatever brought down the dam blocking my emotions and to my living, breathing muse, thank you for making me feel again.