The Writing Life
Charlotte Rains Dixon  

The Perfect Storm


I felt like crap.

My stomach ached and rumbled and just didn't feel right.  

Outside, snow fell, the second round of our first big snowstorm in five years.  (People always think we get a ton of snow here but we just don't.) 

Inside, my two-year-old grandson roamed about the house doing what toddlers do. ("Read book.  Want naner.  Play legos!")  He was staying with us for three nights while his parents worked in southern California.

Suddenly, I knew I was going to lose it.  Into the bathroom to hug the toilet.   Back out to the living room to collapse on the couch.   The muscle soreness hit my entire body and I wondered how anybody endured such pain.

The snow raged.  The grandson wreaked havoc.  My husband didn't feel so hot, either.  We hung in there as best we could.

I lay on the couch and texted a friend with whom I was supposed to have a phone appointment.   Told her being sick was a good spiritual lesson because all I could do was be present.  Not that being present was much fun.

Even with all that being present, writing was the furthest thing from my mind.  

It got worse.  I felt like I was going to die.   And then, suddenly, it got better.  (I'm convinced it was because my friend called Silent Unity for me.)  That night I felt more like my usual self and by the next day, I was nearly 100%.

But outside, the snow turned to ice falling from the sky (ice storms are one of our specialties).   My daughter and son-in-law's plane flight home got cancelled.  She was desperate to see her boy and rescheduled.  

Much worry as they landed in the teeth of the ice storm.  All public transportation shut down.   Except, thank God, for cabs.  They stood in line for an hour to nab one and shared it with a man who worked for the television show Grimm.

And made it to our house where they stayed put.

By Sunday, I felt that antsiness that signals I'm not writing.  The world felt out of whack.  I sat at the computer and answered the five thousand emails that had piled up.  Downloaded a program about Qi Gong I'd bought a month ago.  Did some odds and ends, none of which added up to any writing.

 And then, when I finally had time to get back to my writing, there came that edgy feeling.  What am I doing? How do I do this?  Maybe I should be doing something else.  I can't do this.  Why did I ever think I could write?

But then, slowly: one word, and then another.

And, finally:

My fingers flowing across the keyboard.  

Sweet relief.

Writing again.

All is right with the world.

 How do you get back to writing after an interruption?  Please share in the comments.

***If you are feeling up to snuff, how about a contest?  My friend Jeffrey Walker is sponsoring one that will not only win you prized, but also help clarify the message of your story (book, course, or brand). The idea is that we writers often overthink things (who, us?), so Jeffrey urges you to distill your message to six words. Go here to join the fun.


Image from PhotoExpress.

0 thoughts on “The Perfect Storm

  1. Melissa Marsh

    I’m so sorry you were feeling crummy! And when you have your grandson with you…well, that just makes it worse since that’s supposed to be fun playtime. :) But glad you are on the mend.

    After finishing my nonfiction project two weeks, I was ready to jump into my fiction again AFTER I allowed myself a break to just recharge the batteries. I haven’t looked at my novel in two months, so what I’ve been doing for the past week is re-reading it and getting acquainted with my story again. Last night I took notes on the important themes I want to explore, things I need to remember, etc. I feel like I’m back “in touch” with my characters now.

  2. Charlotte Dixon

    Thanks for the good thoughts!  And you are so smart to give yourself recharging time.  I am too often guilty of pushing onward when I really need to rest.   How exciting for you to be getting back to your novel!

  3. J.D.

    Charlotte, sorry you’ve had some down time. Hope you feel better.

  4. J.D.

    Somehow my post failed, I think. This could be a rerun. Sorry you aren’t chipper. Maybe you’re on the way to recovery. Best wishes to family.

  5. Charlotte Dixon

    Sometimes comments go into spam.  Used to happen a lot, hasn't for awhile, but I'll go check.  And thanks for the good thoughts.

  6. Charlotte Dixon

    Found the original comment and pulled it out of spam. Now I feel even better with your nice thoughts for me!

  7. J.D.

    Just to touch base, I think I told you before about my mystery a small publisher had accepted. Then we had a fight over the cover and agreed to part ways. Designing the cover was not my business, of course. The circumstances were such that I made it so. Well, he came back to me. We agreed to dance again. I bit my tongue and he came up with a great cover. We are in the editing process. The book you helped me with has been dormant. My approach in the past has been shot gun submissions (almost), but I have my sights on one in particular for the pages you worked on. John F. Blair Publishing. I really like they way they look. In a few days, I’ll time to work up the submission. I do hope you feel better soon.

  8. Charlotte Dixon

    Oh, J.D., I am SO happy to hear this!  Yay!  You must come back and do a guest post or an author interview or whatever you would like so we can all learn more about your mystery that is coming out.  This is so exciting.  And you'll get to submitting the other one again soon.  All things in good time.

  9. J.D.

    I hope your reacquaintance goes better than mine usually do. Mostly when I pick up something after two months, I’m mumbling, “Who broke into my computer and replaced my Nobel winner with this crap!”

  10. J.D.

    Thank you. That’s very generous. Hugs.

  11. Charlotte Dixon

    J.D. you are consistently too hard on yourself and your writing.  Just saying. 

  12. Don Williams

    Glad your feeling better. I was a little worried about you when I saw the storm on NBC news. The only thing you can do to get back to writing, at least I found, is simply to do it…. get back and start writing! Anyway, hope you stay away from those nasty bugs.

  13. Charlotte Dixon

    Wiser words were never spoken, Don–all you can do is get back to it!  We were at least happy that our power never went off (which usually happens in ice storms) and were safe and warm throughout.  Thanks for your concern!

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