Shannon Dittemore is the author of the Angel Eyes trilogy. She has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a love of all things literary. When she isn’t writing, she spends her days with her husband, Matt, imagining things unseen and chasing their two children around their home in Northern California. To connect with Shan, check out her website, FB, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.
I wrote the following post during the flurry of blog tours and deadlines and trembling words that wrapped up my Angel Eyes trilogy. The words are just as true today and I hope they'll bring some encouragement to you all as we dive together into National Novel Writing Month.
Writers are an interesting breed. Not only do we spend much of our time trapped inside our own heads, but we can grow so accustomed to it that social endeavors begin to feel awkward. Oh, not social networking, but the actual go-outside-see-the-people kind of social. And you would think, truly think that in our writing caves we would find solace, security. Inspiration even.
But I find my writing cave to be a most terrifying place. Why? Because that’s where the dragons are. The fire-breathing inadequacies that tell me I’m not good enough. That tell me I can’t actually write another novel. That I have nothing left to say.
They hide out in my cave. And when I get there, I have to somehow silence them so that the characters who have been talking to me all day can have a say. I have to try to capture what I see in my mind and transfer it to the page, all the while the flames are licking at my back reminding me that I just don’t have it in me. In my writing cave I am confronted with my own lack, while just outside the door my family waits, wondering what the heck I’m doing shut away with a candle and a keyboard.
Why would I ever, EVER, lock myself away like that? Why would I willingly march into a place where fear and doubt crouch in the shadows ready to pounce? And while those are very good, very logical questions, the answer is a simple one.
A story begs to be told.
The plot and the characters are always hidden just behind my own anxieties and so I go into my cave, not only to escape the busyness of the world around me, but to face my deepest, darkest fears.
Every time I sit down to write, I win.
My writing cave is not a safe place. In it, I am tested. It’s there that I succeed or fail. It’s not my sales that determine that. Not my Amazon ranking. It’s whether or not I can shove past the darkness, light the candle, and put pen to the page. If I can do that, I cut down another enemy. And while fighting dragons can be exhausting, their presence reminds me that what I’m doing matters. That there’s a reason for the insanity.
We all have monsters to hunt and insecurities that chew at us. I say face them head on, keep swinging that sword, and celebrate the victories as they come.
And if you’re up for the fight, I promise, they will bring it.