A few weeks ago I was searching for a way to break the wordjam that’s been backed up in my brain for months. I knew the reasons for the jam–a seriously ill husband, an unexpected death in my immediate family, nearly ten years of seven days a week work on my author business. After five months of not writing I was more than ready to get back to storytelling, but it wasn’t happening.
Enter Becca Syme and Clifton Strengths. Living off the main path as I do I’m often late to the party, and the Strengths were no different. They’ve been around a long while. Me being me, I jumped in with both feet–although I didn’t realize it at the time. I signed up for an in-person event with Becca, took the test (which results meant nothing to me), and off I went to spend three days with forty strangers. Forty strangers who were all deep in the Strengths-Becca cult.
To say I felt lost would be an understatement. But, as often happens to me (Serendipity you are my friend), several younger writers took pity on me and did what they could to help me along. I will be forever grateful. They were not only helpful, but entertaining as hell, so I ended up enjoying myself instead of moaning about what a colossal mistake I had made.
I learned that my #1 Strength is Learner, and it is this which makes me write in multiple genres when I know full well that the way to build a solid career is to stick with one. It was a relief to find that out, because I’ve been beating myself up for being a scatterbrain when I’m not scatterbrained at all.
Every single person I met and spoke too was friendly, interesting, and supportive. I was the oldest person there and that could have been uncomfortable. Instead I found it invigorating to be around so much young energy and drive. I left feeling better about myself, my work, and the writer life in general.
I’m happy to say that the words are starting to trickle again. I’m not back to novels yet, although I suspect I will be soon. I’ve been having fun with short stories, a satisfying form to write since they don’t take weeks or months to finish. I recently sold one of my shorts to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine which just makes me dance with joy. Getting published in all four Dell magazines has been one of my bucket goals, so Woot! One down, three to go!
#1 Learner is learning how to move forward again and is quite happy about it.