This post by Gayle M. Irwin
I debated what to write about for my first blog post this month. Originally, I wanted to write about visiting national parks this year, the centennial celebration of the National Park Service. Then I thought I’d write about dogs as October is National Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month. But, I’ve written about that in the past, and I do write a lot about pets and my passion to help them. And many people have written about the autumn season, although as I write this, it appears winter has arrived in Wyoming and other parts of the Northern Rockies (thankfully, only temporarily, as temps are supposed to rebound to autumn-like in my community…. for a bit of time, anyway). So, what to write?
In light of the devastating and frightening Hurricane Matthew on the East Coast and the destructive winds that ripped through Casper earlier in the week, I decided STORMS would be appropriate. Winter is coming, and with that season often comes blizzard conditions and heavy piles of snow – at least in my neck of the woods. Ice storms often grip the Midwestern and Eastern states, and dust storms envelope parts of the southwestern U.S. Whether torrential rains, thunder, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow, or dirt, natural storms occur. Even fires can whip up into storms, racing at tremendous speed and leaving destruction in its wake.
Storms also present themselves in our life. Waves crash on our hearts when relationships crater. Our minds swirl when a troubling health diagnosis comes along. The dust-storm of job-loss wrecks our self-confidence. Yet, through each storm, if we’re patient enough and look hard enough, the sunlight of strength and the rainbow of hope appear. One of my manuscripts-in-progress parallels seasons in nature with seasons in life, including blizzards, drought, storms, renewal, harvest, and thanksgiving.
As writers, we also know storms: rejection, doubt, lack of time (or being pulled in too many directions); even the business aspect of our work can be stormy. So much vies for our attention in this world, and people’s lack of attention (or demand for “give it to me quick”) makes writing challenging. We face a lot of competition for readers and many avenues to try to reach them – sometimes the whole business of writing is overwhelming. But, if we focus not on the sales but on the joy of writing, of telling that story that desires to be told, we will enjoy the journey, even if the winds knock us off our feet now and then.
Nearly 10 months of this year has already gone by. My desire when Jan. 1, 2016 rolled around was to be a fulltime freelance writer before year-end. I’m not there yet. I’ve experienced a few storms in my life in 2016, but nothing compared to many friends, colleagues and family members. There is always next year. And, I’ve taken a few extra steps to pursue that goal even more during the coming months, including signing up for a copywriting course and to become part of copywriting community. There seems to be a demand for such work and something that be done at home. We’ll see where this road may lead. Hopefully, it will lead to achieving my desired goal in 2017.
Meantime, National Novel Writing Month begins in a few weeks. I have a work-in-progress that I plan to pick back up and earmark to finish by November 30. In that story, a number of storms happen to my characters, molding and shaping them, growing them, and yes, setting them back somewhat. That’s what happens in storms – beaches are eroded, roofs are ripped off, and areas are burned. But, when the menace is gone, rebirth and rejuvenation begins. The natural world is reborn, our lives are rebuilt, and our characters develop. Storms can be scary, but they can also be life-shaping.
Maybe next time I’ll talk about something less frightening and challenging – like dogs, or national parks!
Gayle M. Irwin is the author of seven inspirational dog stories for children and adults. She is a also a freelance writer for various magazines and newspapers and is a contributor to six editions of the Chicken Soup for the Soul as well as to the short story collection Memories from Maple Street: Pawprints on My Heart, released in July 2016 from Sundown Press. She is currently working on new books, including BobCat Goes to School, a humorous children’s story about a cat that gets trapped in a school building; Tail Tales: A Short Story Collection About Pets that Have Touched My Heart & Impacted My Life; and Seasons of Life, Seasons of Nature, which parallels the seasons in nature with the joys and challenges of life. Learn more about Gayle and her works at www.gaylemirwin.com.