Friday, October 30, 2015

Shhh...They're Sleeping - A Hiatus

For years I worked as a PR Specialist for a healthcare association. I wrote press releases, trade magazine articles, executive correspondence. Strangely during this time, I did not consider myself a writer because it wasn't in my “title.” As I am crafting this post, I am coming to understand just how fortuitous that job was in my development as a writer. 

There were the distractions of office politics and difficult personalities. They were big obstacles to a young woman eager to do her best work. But I persevered and over time, I began to see the way I approached my writing at work as “a thing.” I learned that I'm a marinator. That ideas have to sit and soak for awhile before they can come out whole and ready to be consumed by their audience. And if I give those ideas time to marinate on the front end, the actual work flows out of me much more freely on the back end. I learned that my frequent walks around the office for more tea or a chat with a co-worker wasn't mere work avoidance. Those pauses were encouraging the marinating process. They were a part of my process. And then one day it occurred to me: I have a process! Once I got in touch with that, I relaxed more and the work came easier. I understood myself better as a writer, a creator of word documents, and the work got easier.

I haven't actively worked on Astrid's story since July, but I know that the work has continued in my subconscious. I know that her story is with me all the time and that it is growing stronger in this hiatus. I have felt like a mama putting her children to bed for a nap. I tucked them in, told them I love them. I kissed their foreheads, turned off the light, and closed the door. Like any mother, I'm not interested in waking up these children before they're ready. In July, I knew I'd know when it was time for the hiatus to end. I thought October was the time, and then the #write31days challenge began. It was all-consuming, and I knew Astrid and the gang would have to sleep just a little longer.

While they slept, I kept writing every day. I felt my voice grow stronger. I felt my confidence build. I also read my favorite book Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos. I wanted to study the way she told the story from two characters' distinct perspectives and I learned so much. As I've shared snippets of Astrid's story in this series, my excitement to restart my project has increased. I am really excited to dive into phase two.


  1. I think I have a process similar to this as well. It is interesting what we do as writers to get started and develop.Good post.

  2. I like the description of a "marinatoe" I too find walking around, chatting, cleaning my office and making coffee ways for my brain to process as I get my brain ready to write. When I was writing news stories with lots and lots of sources or new information, sleep was the way in which I allowed my brain to incorporate all the new info.

  3. Thoughts have to marinate with me, too, Julie. I totally get that. Great job this month!

  4. At this very moment there is a marinading process going on in my head for tomorrow's post. I'm anxious for Astrid to be at Amazon. :)