Have you ever been mired in quicksand?
I remember the day I made my First Communion in the Catholic Church. I have a picture of myself in a white, frilly dress, wearing a veil and shiny patent leather shoes. It was supposed to be a day that I would remember as a beginning of a new era in my life.
We went to visit my grandmother who lived next to a large field that led to a playground. I begged my parents to let me walk with my brothers to the playground, promising not to get dirty or ruin my dress and shoes. We had gone there before without any incident and I reassured mom and dad I could do it without any problem. They finally relented and the three of us ran off to have some fun.
About half way to our destination, I became mired in quicksand, at least that is what my brothers called it. I sank down to my knees in something muddy and deep. The more I fought it, the worse it got. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get out of the muck.
My brothers ran off to summon my father. I still remember the feeling of desperation while I was immobile and alone. The tears streamed down my cheeks as I stood in the middle of an open field embarrassed and wanting to disappear before my dad arrived.
My pain was not from the sting of the spanking I received for my mud-packed shoes, socks and dress. It wasn’t from the cold water as dad hosed me off. The look of anger and frustration on my parents face would have been enough, but I can still see my grandmother who wept at the sight of me. It was the disappointment of not keeping my promise and for ending a special event on such a sour note.
Like many others, I dove into November by challenging myself to complete my second novel (50,000 words) in 30 days (NANOWRIMO). I zoomed through the first 25,000 words and my novel came to an end. I went back and tried to find places to add more words, but the story line was complete.
I got mired in quicksand. I couldn’t move forward. I pulled and tugged and wanted to cry when I realized I would not be successful in completing the NANOWRIMO challenge. I stopped writing anything.
For the past 7 days, I have sat hopelessly in front of my laptop glaring at the computer screen. I felt much like the five year old girl who could not move an inch without sinking further into the mud. I could not seem to pull myself out. I failed to live up to a commitment I made, one that probably means little to anyone except me, but feels much the same as.
Then I remembered, I’m not that five year old little girl and I’m not in quicksand. Writing is more than a thirty day commitment. I’ve printed out my manuscript and read it. It needs work, but it is a beginning and today is a new day, worthy of a new beginning.
To all my fellow writers who think they are mired in quicksand, it’s probably not quicksand that is holding you back. Write. You’ll feel better soon!