Step Back to Go Forward

Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back in order to go forward. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been very restless. I sit and try to write (unsuccessfully). I go for walks or runs with my boys. I read. I lurk on social media. Yet my mind continues to churn and I realize why.

I’ve been trying to revive an old manuscript that has lost its spark for life. The world building limits me, and I don’t like my imagination curtailed. That’s why I struggled. I needed to step back and break free of that world.

However, it’s hard when it’s your “baby.” I love that story. I enjoy the world. But it wasn’t working. I don’t want to write books for five series. That’s what I was looking at doing if I continue on the current path. So I decided to throw everything into my imagination box. The resultant byproduct is very satisfactory to me as a writer.

The series will be called Legion of Blades. The series brings together (or tears apart) two groups of beings I love to write about—vampire slayers and demon hunters. Toss in vampire demons, witches, werewolves and Elementals, and you get a smorgasbord of potential.

The more I stepped back, the calmer I became. I accept what has happened, what can happen and what I can or can’t control in my life. I can’t go back in time. I relive meaningful moments through memories. I learn from past mistakes. I follow the advice of others who have similar experiences.

But most important in my struggle for balance is this:  I write in the moment—who I was and am, where I’ve been and where I want to go, who affects me and who I should or shouldn’t have in my life, how I feel and how I want my readers to feel, and how I treat others and how I’d like to be treated.

How about you? If you struggled, have you stepped back and looked—with fresh eyes and new insight—at the barriers preventing you from achieving something? Did stepping back propel you toward a better and more worthwhile project or work that elicits a renewed spark of excitement?

2 thoughts on “Step Back to Go Forward”

  1. Ashlyn, for me the key to this is when you said: “I write in the moment…”

    For myself, I find that my writing is very connected to who I am at the moment in my life. Who I was at 28 is different than who I was at 40 and is different yet again to who I am at 59. When I began writing to publish, around age 50, I tried to resurrect novels I wrote in my late 20’s. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t edit them and make them work. I loved the stories and the emotion. The answer was I was a different person–someone who’s life experiences had changed the way I viewed relationships, right and wrong, and romance. Resurrecting those old novels was not something I could do.

    So I think you are doing the right thing by looking forward and taking what you can from the past that is still a part of you and your sense of story and recombining it for who you are now as a writer and person. It will be stronger for it in the long term and take advantage of all you have learned.

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