Why begin blogging again? Why talk now?
It’s selfish really.
I’ve felt increasingly disconnected from women, and myself. I’ve become silent in the wrong ways, contained when I’d benefit from sharing, shut down when what I crave most is community.
It’s hurt me emotionally, and it’s hurt me spiritually, and this isolation has spilled into my work making writing harder and harder because I can’t find words anymore. I’ve spent so much of the past 7 years buttoning myself down, gritting my teeth, holding tightly to faith and sheer will power that I feel as if I’m slowly turning to stone. My silence has created more silence, and the silence and grinding of teeth, and clamping of jaw, and holding all those feelings—shame, pain, loneliness, guilt, and yet more shame–in, to the point that when I sit to write, there is just silence inside of me. A hollow emptiness like white noise.
I’ve lost the comfort of words. I’ve lost language and accessible emotion, which makes writing brutal. Lately I stare at my computer screen, fingers hovering over keyboard, and wonder where I’ve gone. Wonder what’s happened to me. In my desire to ‘be strong’, I’ve calcified. Flesh to stone. Heart to hard. Even trying to write 1st person romance, or women’s fiction, is a battle. Nothing is natural anymore; everything feels forced. I try to write and am left with yet more shame and a pervasive sense of failure.
I see other writers writing….and some of them are writing a lot. I see debut authors with new books, and pretty covers being shared all over social media. It’s not that I don’t write at all, but I don’t write enough for my head, and the stories I still want to tell. I don’t write with enough ease to feel, well, legitimate. Thus, the sense of failure. Maybe I’m not a writer anymore.
How many books are required to be a real writer?
What is real anyway?
I know my family is real. I know my house and my 4 boys, and our 3 dogs, and rabbit, and gecko and pond of koi fish….that’s all real. So are the raccoons eating our grapes every night, and the skunks wandering through, wondering why the raccoons have moved into our yard.
The skateboards and surfboards leaning against walls are real.
The beach towels, and endless laundry—real.
The meals cooked, and the boys to be hugged, real.
Maybe it’s just me, and the career, that no longer feels real. But my voice isn’t gone, not completely.
And the people that matter, they are still here. Not just my boys, and my friends and family, but you. You’re still here with me on this crazy demanding unpredictable thing called life. And maybe that’s the most important thing—not the awards, or the sales– but the connection. The community. The sense of belonging. I need connection….to myself, and to you. I need to be honest and say that since moving to So Cal from Bellevue, I’ve spent a lot of years trying to come to terms with age, and change. Life can be disappointing. Things happen. Plans derail. Families can hurt. We lose people we love. It’s not easy being resilient. It’s not easy being human.
Maybe the best way to move forward is to be open. And maybe the best way to find my voice, is to use it. Maybe through talking to you, and sharing all the things I’ve bottled up will ease some of the fear and shame, and create change.
I’d like to be more hopeful.
I’d like to be more creative.
I’d like to believe anything is possible again…and not just for others, but for me. I believe so much in my people, other people, but I’ve lost faith in me, and that’s the thing I need to work on.
So, love to you. Thank you for being in my world. In case you didn’t catch it—I need you. I value you. Let’s get through this life by being open, and hopeful, together.
34 Comments / Add Your Comment →
Love being in your world Thank u
We need each other to bounce off of
yes, Kate, we do. I love the way you phrased that. I’ve always pictured energy as a gift we give each other. So yes to our energy bouncing off each other. That’s perfect.
Always enjoy being in your world, encouraging, supporting your new titles. Time and aging shouldn’t steal energy and words. The passion survives.
I am loving your new blog! I think showing your true emotions and feelings makes you relatable! So just keep being you Jane and I will always be here to listen, read, and communicate! Sending love from Illinois!
You can’t see it right now, Jane, but you are truly a blessing. So many women, at some point in their lives, go through this same stage you are in. Consider it natural. Above all, consider it a stage you will pass through. It is temporary. Believe me. I’ve been there too and I no longer am there.
I loved reading your blog. I understand completely. I have been trying to write but can’t seem to get it on paper. At least not anything that makes sense. Keep blogging. It eases your mind to be able to do something else.
Love reading your blog, Jane. You’re so open and honest in stating what so many of us are feeling, but don’t necessarily admit it to the world. Thanks for that. I look forward to reading more. I think you are truly an inspiration!
Jane, I am so glad you came back to your blog. This is like coming over to an imaginary neighbors house. I feel a disconnect with facebook. I was attacked on facebook very nastily and so I don’t venture out there much. As for your writing missy, you haven’t lost your voice your past 2 blogs are great. Maybe you need to give yourself the freedom to write something different.Not forever I mean, I love your view of romance. How about a Children’s book ( using you dogs as characters)or write something funny about raising a family. Just maybe change your internal channel and write something funny about being a real mom. The stories you have told over the years about being a mom to all boys has been a hoot.
Love your world. You are a true genuine lady!!
Wow. Just wow.
Boy, does this post speak to me. For several reasons.
And I’m sure it resonates with others too.
So thank you for sharing this — your honest, unblinking truths and your vulnerability and your heart.
Yes, keep talking to us. It may help you get your fictional words back, and in the meantime, any words are words. You created something here. That’s something.
You’re an inspiration to many, Jane. You are a light in the darkness… even when you don’t feel like that. You just are.
So many hugs. Love and light to you.
How I feel you with this post, Jane!! I feel like we have these seasons in ourselves. Like the girl I was in 2004, when I was writing and publishing YA, is not the girl I am today. Children have been born, my mom has been lost, my original nuclear family has splintered, I’ve exchanged desert climes for New England, we have bought a home, we have sold a home, we have rented multiple homes (oh the tales to tell!), we have bought yet one more home… The fears and the hopes of my 2004 self are so different from those of my 2019 self. I have embraced the change, with only a slight grimace here and there. I think our writing becomes wiser for it, once we stop wrestling with the change.
Do you feel that you just aren’t accepting the constant fall of each grain of sand through the hourglass? I find that changing my social media feed to stay away from the “perfect and lucky” and to focus on the “hard working and peaceful” helps a lot. As someone in her 40s (and even back in my 30s), I follow women in their 60s and 70s for fashion advice and have enjoyed Maria Semple’s honest recollections of what it took to publish “Where’d You Go Bernadette”–one agent told her maybe it would do well self-published and sold at cashwraps at local Seattle grocery stores.
I’m so glad you have this blog post. <3
Hi Jane! Thank you so much for your honesty on this blog. Perhaps you are in a season of going inward? And that can eventually be a really good thing. A couple years ago you contacted me about possibly writing with Tule, and I never followed through. I was feeling lost, trying to figure out who I was as a writer, how to parent my child, (who is so very different from me) how to accept my new life in my new town that never quite feels like home… anyway, I didn’t write much for a while. And when I tried, my writing wasn’t very good. I thought a lot, read a ton, journaled, walked, worked hard with my child, took a new, part time job, and mostly, just tried to keep the faith that at the end of that season I would come out changed for the better. And I believe I have. I’m more at peace with who I am, writing a lot and it’s bringing me real joy. I feel like my voice is renewed. So please keep the faith and trust that this is your season to go inside and regroup. You will come out as another beautiful version of your butterfly self! Warmest wishes, Claire
I think maybe it’s the FB thing. We’re sharing but not really sharing. What we’re sharing is more a picture perfect us and so often we don’t go near the inner self, the warts and problems that make us human. Your blog does that. I hope it helps you find your writing voice as well.
This is a conversation I have with myself and my writer bestie, Liz, regularly. I came late to being published, although I’ve always been writing, but now I worry that what I write is so…watered down from what I’m feeling. I want to tell good stories, I want my publisher (you, fyi) to love them and want more, but I’m scared I’ve aged out of the genre. That I can’t produce at the level I need to to stay in the game. Life is hard…being a woman is harder. Being a writer–even harder But, if it helps, I’m here. I’m listening. I care.
Your writing voice is still beautiful & real & creative. I’m so happy you are blogging again! You always inspire me.
Thank you for this! You always voice truth so many are feeling! You are a special person and I am so happy to be in your circle…
Maybe, my friend, you need to find another creative outlet in order to create more creativity…energy creates more energy, so to speak. Find another form of creativity to get your words flowing. Take a couple of friends and go to one of those paint and sip events where you drink some wine and paint a picture, or find a pottery place where you can sink your hands into some wonderful gooey clay and make a bowl or a vase to pot on your desk and remind you that you are more than your books, you are more than just words.
You are art and light and joy and a treasure to those who know and love you. ❤️
I have been somewhat absent from some types of social media too…mostly blogs, because I just didn’t feel I had enough time or energy to enjoy and participate. I was really glad to see your IG post announcing your return to your blog, as it was a blog I always enjoyed. Sorry to hear of your difficulties posting and writing- I am truly hoping you find your voice/way and get back to feeling more like yourself.
Jane, Thank you for this raw honesty. I’ve been feeling very introspective lately too but I don’t have the words you have to help me let it all out. I’d love to try therapy, but even that, I’m too cautious of how I emote and speak. I have been praying this prayer lately and it has helped me a great deal.
“God, today I put my life in your hands.
I trust You are putting me where you need me.”
Keep sharing and inspiring the rest of us!
I think we can go quiet when we’re learning and we’re not sure yet what we’ve learned. How can we share it until we know what it all means? But that’s a perfectionist part of us… wanting to have things figured out before we share. Sometimes talking and sharing is a way to learn, and not just thinking. We talk our way to meaning, and we write our way to meaning. It’s okay when life isn’t a smooth path with a clearly defined goal… the messy, circuitous journey has more to teach us. I’m listening to all you have to share. Your way of seeing the world is interesting to me and your readers too. We need your voice to grapple for your meaning out loud where we can hear it and let it help us grapple for our meaning too.
I feel honored to be a part of your world. You are an amazing, giving person and the world is better for it. I hope that you take care of you and find your passion and voice again as I enjoy reading and hearing from you. Hugs and love to you.
Glad you are blogging again.
What you are saying happens to all of us. And, I think opening up about your struggles will help a lot of people (including yourself). It may not feel like it at this second, but being true to yourself, honest and open will bring you some great advice to you and other’s who are going through the same thing. Just looking at the comments shows me how many friends you have and how many are relating to your life right now. Hang in there. Better days are right around the corner.
I’m sorry to read you are struggling! I am happy you are sharing again on your blog. I have been following it for many years & have missed reading your words. I enjoy Facebook & Instagram but they definitely don’t allow for the depth of a blog post. People can be quick to like a post or throw a comment on a Facebook post but takes more effort to interact with a blog but I think that makes it more meaningful. I hope that blogging again helps you get back to being happy with your writing. It’s hard to not compare yourself to others and what they have or are accomplishing since it’s so in our faces with social media, but I think it can also put too much pressure to meet some imaginary expectations. Know we are listening and supporting you!
Jane I wish I could hug you right now. We all go through moments like these. The goal is to not unpack your bags and live there. Right now I’m going through a divorce. My kids and I moved out of our five bedroom house and into a two bedroom apartment. But you know what? I’m happy. I realized change is good and I can either allow this to define me, or use it as a learning tool. I’m proud that after too many years of being with the wrong person I got the courage to meet up with an attorney and do something about it. Unfortunately we all have stuff going on behind closed doors that many are unaware of. I’m so sorry that you have been struggling. Know that I’m only a phone all away. Sending you love, happiness and positivity.
thank you for sharing your voice with all of us. it connects us in ways that are like no other.
What a moving, honest, open blog. You haven’t lost your voice, it’s still strong and articulate and touching hearts. There is something beautifully genuine about you. While you don’t know me, strangely, you’ve been on my mind lately. Maybe it started with the FB posts from Hawaii, but I’ve felt compelled to tell you about a time I attended one of your workshops. Two days ago, I pulled out all my conference notebooks and couldn’t find the notes about it to even figure out when it was. All I know is that it was in New Jersey. I even remember the room, on that upper balcony section. I’d been going through a really rough patch. I’d published my debut novel in 2015 and then my health took a spiraling nosedive. Nothing life-threatening, but enough to suck up all my energy and time in trying to figure out what was wrong. During that time, I had nothing left for book 2. I’m still trying to finish it, but am finally making progress again. Anyway, in the midst of that struggle, I attended a workshop you gave. I can’t recall what the topic was, hence my quest to find the notes, but I do remember that you shared some of your health struggles with us, some of which I also had. Tears filled my eyes as I realized I wasn’t alone. I thought, if you could make it and be so positive, so could I. Writing that makes me feel selfish. I really don’t wish struggles upon anyone, but knowing others understood and could relate was so validating and cathartic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of that workshop and kept trudging along, thinking it will get better. And it did get better. Thank you for being so open and real. Thank you for sharing your struggles. You do have a strong, compassionate, beautiful voice and it reaches the hearts of others. I hope you find some comfort and that you know how much you are loved just as you are. I’m sending huge virtual hugs your way and a thought… Perhaps writing about a heroine climbing out of a difficult place in her life would be helpful. I feel like the more of yourself you pour onto the page, the more the words will flow. They certainly flowed in this blog.
Jane, get out of my head, will ya? You put words to every thought I have been fighting with right now. You and I are a lot alike in that regard. I, too, have been on a journey to find “me”. It can be challenging at times, and I also feel like I have lost my voice. I am so glad you re-opened the doors to this community. It was sorely missed. I am here for you as well, my friend.
Peace and love,
I love your words!! Take a break, rest your mind, and then maybe they will return and in force.
I am so happy that you are blogging again, and having the courage to share your words with us. Many of us are going through a variation of this , and probably wonder if we are the only one. I feel like I lost my voice and my identity these last few years, after having my job eliminated and having to help my parents more and more. Sending you loads of hugs. You know that I am close by, and if you ever want to meet up for lunch or Starbuck’s, let me know.
My husband is on FB. He never posts anything original; just forwards other posts. I have never signed up, despite being on the computer the most in our household; figured I spend so much time blogging (when I should be doing other things) that I don’t need another time suck. (I DO creep on his FB, though, whenever my daughter tells me there’s someone else’s family picture I should save – as that’s the only way they “keep in touch”.)
I am not on any other social media either, and have never regretted this decision, especially when I realize how so many people (especially today) bully others and insist on spewing negative comments. Narcissism: putting others down to lift yourself up. Just not my thing. Having grown up with bullies, I have made it my goal to eliminate every bully from my life, as well as every toxic friend. It has really helped us to focus on the positives.
Life DOES have positives. Yes, it has ups and downs, but the trick (I’ve heard) to living a longer and healthier life is to embrace those positives, which you are doing with blogging, and I REALLY look forward to hearing your take on things for years to come. Thank you for being you. I have missed your blogs….
Thank you for sharing your thoughts–your words really hit home. I used to write a lot, and words came easily. But about 6 years ago, life started throwing curve balls on all fronts, as it does when you get older (I’m about the same age as you). Writing became a chore and a bore, and, worst of all, it felt inauthentic. Not only was this frustrating, it was humiliating. Being a writer was how I defined myself, and if I stopped writing who was I? Well, it turns out that what I really crave is to express myself creatively, and not necessarily through writing. Fortunately, I was able to turn to my earlier loves: art and music. They never really left me, but took a backseat when writing was my priority. And for now it’s the other way round. I miss writing, but I’m sure its time will come again – I can feel it bubbling away inside, ready to burst out, new and (with any luck) improved.
What I’ve learned from all of this is that you need to welcome all possibilities and let the universe lead you along your path. And that sometimes, all you need is a good, long break.
Very happy to see you writing your blog again! Your voice is coming through beautifully.
Well, I just read your last two blog posts and I’m here to tell you that you haven’t lost your voice and you can still write…boy can you write…write from the heart, the mind, the soul. You are most likely your own worst critic, as I have always been. I’ve been reading Brené Brown’s work lately and I have to say it has helped me immensely to realize that I AM ENOUGH, just as I am. Even if I don’t write or reinvent myself again or find time to volunteer in my community or have a partner who loves me. I’m still enough. And so are you. Always!! You have touched my life in ways that no one else has and for that I am forever grateful.
I think you’ve actually found something to write about for a new book…those issues that you’ve been struggling with are not yours alone, many others struggle with them as well…so write about that. There will be people who want to read it. You are a beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful, and complex human being and you are absolutely, 100% ENOUGH, the way you are.
It’s never easy trying to find our place when we’re partially empty nesters, but we still have the youngest one at home, knowing what our role is…as a mom, a wife, a woman, a friend…we lose ourselves in there somewhere.
I’ve been in that same void for a while, and it’s hindered my writing, and I don’t have your prolific body of work. I war with myself in trying to get it all done and still have my creative outlet.
Moms are pulled in so many directions, we care…deeply…we hurt deeply…we feel even deeper. I know I can’t turn it off, and I don’t want to. If I do, I many never feel or care again.
I’m going through an agonizing time at the moment, and I have almost no one I can even talk to…I certainly can’t even blog about it. It’s supposed to be a beautiful time in life, but it’s been so ugly. My heart has been stepped on…
Please know you’re not alone.