Therese here to introduce our newest regular contributor, Kim Bullock. If you’re a part of WU’s Facebook community, you’ll certainly be no stranger to Kim, who has long been a part of the Mod Squad there. Kim has also become a valued right hand for me here at Writer Unboxed, and as one of WU’s two Assistant Editors (along with Julia Munroe Martin) is a big part of the reason my sanity is mostly intact. When Kim’s longtime blog, What Women Write, was shuttered, it seemed the right time to see if she might like to bring some of her writerly wisdom to WU. Luckily for all of us, she accepted. Welcome, Kim!
Let me start with a confession.
It’s something I’ve told no one. Not my former blogging partners at What Women Write. Not my friends here at Writer Unboxed. Not my parents, my children, and certainly not my spouse.
Those who attended the WU UnConference with me last November would never have known I carried a secret shame, that there was a reason why the laptop I’d dutifully dragged with me from Dallas remained closed.
With the exception of blog posts, I had written nothing for half a year.
I started each day with the best of intentions. I’d open my manuscript to that same damn spot in the middle of page 242. After staring at my blinking cursor until I wanted to throw the laptop across the room, I’d scroll back to the beginning of the chapter and read it over. Every day I wondered why the person who had written that polished prose could no longer compose a sentence she’d let live.
The words flowed in my head while grocery shopping or stuck in traffic. I woke from dreams so vivid it took half the day to feel grounded in this century. I imagined my protagonist’s face superimposed over my own in the mirror. I saw my story as my hero saw his paintings; each brushstroke clear before ever setting brush to canvas.
The image vanished the moment my fingers touched the keyboard.
I might still be stuck on page 242 had I not attended Donald Maass’ 21st Century Fiction Workshop on the last day of the UnCon. One of the many questions he posed to us that day was this: What is your greatest fear?
I fear a lot of things. A tragedy involving my children, losing a parent or my spouse, tornadoes, doctors, having blood drawn, wasps, knives, night driving, large social situations, flying, pain, feeling shunned, failure and, of course, death. I nearly wrote down the latter because, let’s face it, that’s a biggie that will happen to everyone eventually.
Fear of death was not what made me set aside a story that literally pulses through my veins in favor of dust bunny eradication, though. There was another, more immediate, fear wreaking havoc on my psyche. One I happen to share with my protagonist. Go figure. [Read more…]