Now, I know I'm no Hemingway, but I love his work. I understand the demons that are said to have tormented him. You see, I know a lot of authors who sit down, write, and walk away. Sure they get ideas at the most inconvenient times, like while they're taking a shower, driving kids to practices, or while they are attempting to go to sleep. Many of these same authors can set the mood with very little effort. They simply put their ass in a seat and write. Oh, if only it were that simple for me.
My writing process is quite different. I have playlist upon playlist of music to listen to in order to get my mind in the right space. Candles are usually lit and incense wafting through the air. And silence...total silence with no disturbances or interruptions. Then, I step into the darkness of my mind.
My mind is a scary place most days. Most of my story ideas come from my dreams. I dream in full color with my feet on the ground. Yes, vivid colors. And they stick with me for days...even years. Until I take the time to write them down. And once I step into the darkness, it can take days for me to step out of it. Especially if I dive into the realm of my nightmares...where the monsters reside. I had a nightmare for about 5 years. The same one every time. I got tired of it and sat down to write it out. I listened to very dark metal as I wrote and sank into a depression so deep that I thought I'd never emerge. And it scared me.
What scared me is that I went to a place that I never dreamed was possible! I mean, for a long time, all I wrote was light, romantic stories. No heavy back story. No darkness. Just the pretty stuff, ya know? Then, Cedar River came into being. I wrote and wrote what I saw in my dreams. I watched Ana and Bowie become "real". I watched the community come to life and with it more stories. I remember my ex read the dark scenes and merely looked at me with an astounded look, asking, "Where in hell did that come from?" He had no idea what lived in my mind. The fact of the matter is that I could've gone darker, but didn't. After all, my dream was to be a romance author. Not paranormal. Not urban fantasy. Not horror. Romance, sweet and simple.
I never thought I had what it took to write about the darkness that resides in me. Most people who know me wouldn't believe I knew of the bogeyman or demons that hide in the darkness. So, I push it all aside until it builds to a place where I either let it swallow me whole OR I write it all down for the world to see. I choose to write it down and let my demons out to play. The problem now is that I've kept them locked up for a while and they're scratching at the gates of my soul, begging to be released. If I don't let them out soon, they may just consume me. And I prefer to avoid that, if at all possible.
So, while I'm still working 7 days a week and catching up on my housecleaning, I'm also opening up the Word documents I've kept locked up, lighting the incense and candles, and turning on my music. I'm trying to embrace my darkness. Attempting to draw on it to fuel my muse, but not allowing it to consume me...that's the trick. Feed the muse, write the stories/scenes, walk back into the light and survive...seems like a good plan.