Once upon a time, a woman became a book blogger, wrote a couple books of her own and enjoyed moderate success. The last one was a cliffhanger, but never fear! She began drafting its sequel immediately.
Then a dangerous storm destroyed her entire life, ripping up her home, tearing apart her family and shredding the pages of her stories. The woman was so busy rebuilding her life that words and ideas were the furthest thing from her mind. She tried to jot down plot bunnies that came scampering past. Some of them even leapt into her arms, but those arms were already occupied with more than the woman could carry, so the bunnies gave her a few sad blinks before eventually hopping off to more welcoming recipients.
Then another storm came. And another. And another.
The woman couldn’t catch her breath.
After three forevers had passed, the woman noticed some of the dust had settled and she could see more than a couple feet in front of her. On this side of the chaos existed a tiny slice of peace – drops of happiness, even. There was also loneliness, silent and swirling in the breeze inside her head. It had replaced the whispering, singing friends who had kept her company for so many years, even through difficult trials.
But this time was different.
The storms had been too ferocious.
The woman had ignored the singing friends too long.
The woman stood before a fork in the road, both paths leading to beautiful – but different – destinations. A wonderful choice to make, for sure, but still a tough decision. Take one path to leave the apocalyptic past behind in order to pursue the beauty before her. Choose the other and welcome back the singing voices she once loved. Doing so, however, meant reopening old wounds and cutting out parts of her new beautiful life in order to make room for the voices.
How does an author begin to write again after years away from that lifestyle?
The simple answer: Hell if I know!
The thoughtful answer: By accepting that things have changed, that the author is no longer the person he or she was when those other books were written and published, and by making a plan.
More on that in Part II.