A year ago, I was working on the edits to my memoir including writing the preface. I thought a long while about what I would say in that opening portion of my memoir, how I wanted to speak to my readers.
The paragraph that I ‘sat with’ for a long time was worded like this in that final draft that’s now in the book:
“I don’t know what you’re struggling with, what situation may have you feeling paralyzed by fear and uncertain of your direction. Perhaps you’ve experienced a crushing break up, or you’re going through grief after the loss of someone you loved, or trying to make sense of what seems like an unforgivable betrayal.” In the next paragraph, I invited my readers to come along with me on the journey.
Now, I read those words and feel it’s true for me on this unexpected path.
I had no idea that I was also writing the preface to myself; there was never even a tiny glimpse of what my life is like a year later. Along with my readers, I’ll need to revisit Psalm 40 verses 1-3 and remember the promise for that time still holds for me today. God will pull me up and place my feet on a rock; eventually I will have a new song in my heart.
Last year I listened to hours of podcasts on Indie Publishing. They included how to get your manuscript ready, building your launch team, marketing etc. I knew I, as a company of one, didn’t have the energy to do everything they recommended. While some of the podcast speakers talked about what can go wrong with launches, none of them mentioned everything falling apart when you’re knocked down just twenty-three days after your Launch.
That day, in the warm, supportive, enthusiastic environment of my home community, I had no idea what was about to happen.
Now, I look back over the last few months and all the energy it takes to deal with the grief of losing my marriage; I’ve put my book to the side to deal with reality. One of my writer friends told me that when she went through divorce, she stopped writing for a year. When I’ve helped folks through loss, and they’ve asked how long that grief process will take, I have responded, “It takes as long as it takes.” That’s true for me, too; there’s no set time frame for going through this very individual situation.
Gradually I’m getting up from being knocked down. I’ve worked on a couple of chapters of my memoir’s sequel and I’m slowly catching up on tasks of my writing business. Recently, I felt my energy lift when I scheduled a book reading and signing with a local Rotary club. I’ll have to be more measured with how much energy I can expend on writing with the new demands on my life. Now, I’ll need to be more content with slow and steady progress– but that’s better than just letting everything drop.
For me, as it is for others, there are times when our goals and dreams are sidetracked. It takes energy to get back into the flow of pursuing that dream and focus to concentrate on the action steps to make it a reality. Energy and focus are both lost when you receive shocking news that changes your life.
Recently I was looking through a book I’d read several years ago and found a card stuffed between the pages. I guess it was one I’d bought for someone but failed to send. Now, I’m glad I have this visual inspiration and will keep it for myself. I like the collage-like design and the quote:
Last week’s post was about being present while at the same time looking to the future. Just like when I wrote that paragraph for the memoir’s preface, I wonder how this Hugo quote will apply to my life as well as yours. Whether we’ve had unexpected disruption in our marriage, diagnosis of cancer or some other disease, a cross-country move, or some other situation that greatly changes our lives, how do we continue toward our dream? How do we keep plodding toward that goal and refusing to give up no matter how sidetracked we’ve become?
My hope is that each of us will find a way to keep moving toward our dreams, finding the hope we need to keep going forward to that future we’ve imagined.
And when we arrive, may we celebrate with great joy our steadfast pursuit, in spite of what sidetracked us momentarily.
How About You?
Have you had a dream interrupted by an unforeseen change in your life?
How can you get back up and take the steps that are needed to see the fulfillment of that dream?
My Memoir is available in Paperback and Ebook