I was in my military dress greens, traveling to the next school, sitting in an airport overnight. At twenty I had just been dealt a huge lesson in humility. I'd been kicked out of Language School in California for being "unable to learn a language fast enough", now I was being sent to another school across the country on the East Coast. I was alone, feeling like the most insignificant thing on the planet. To make matters worse, a freak spring storm had cancelled all the flights, so now I was alone, tired, miserable with no place to stay.
Writing is a lot like that, it's a lesson in humility, and frustration. If our internal editor doesn't harass us, its the results of the contest, the place in your story you don't know how to write through, work requiring over time, family that needs you, or something catastrophic like a lay off or illness that brings you to your knees-all interfering with writing. It is that time of darkness that shapes and works with you.
Personally, I wish it wasn't so darn painful.
Recently I was on a whirl-wind business trip, it was uneventful, but tiring. I flew to Dallas, only to return the next day. Still, every time I fly, especially on business I remember those moments twenty years ago as I sat in that airport, feeling so very low. I still taste the misery, and the feeling of being overwhelmed. I also remember what I chanted to myself, "I can do this. One step at a time." Just like writing, we press on even when our ego is saying we are failures, there is nothing left but to keep on going.
Like with everything, eventually it all works out. As I wandered the airport, I found the USO and slept on the floor with other stranded military. The next day I managed to get the flight to my next destination. I took a taxi to my unit, stepped in to the building to announce myself, only to look at confusion at the large guy with the green beret sitting behind the desk, who gave me an evil smile.
"Congratulations, you are the first female in the Green Beret's!"
You see, sometimes, even life has it's own sense of humor.
I know we've spoken about this before, pressing onward in spite of obstacles, but what are the words that you say to yourself when you are at your lowest to keep on going?