This post is a bit weird. Hang in there, reader.
I am hoping this writer stage, which I am labelling as the ‘bird cage‘ stage is common.
I have four draft books, possibly five. I also have a collection of short stories. This year I have worked so hard on writing, fine tuning and rewriting all of them.
My issue is that my stories are starting to feel like precious birds trapped inside cages. When I say, ‘precious’, I’m not blowing my own creative trumpet or anything. Every writer’s stories are precious to them.
I have reached a point where some of my stories, after several drafts, feel like they either need a bigger bird cage or need to be released into the world. Things are starting to feel claustrophobic.
The trouble with being an unpublished writer is that you can find yourself giving the keys to your bird cages to other people. You allow other people in your personal life, with no real literary experience, to dictate when and how your birds should be set free.
You also find yourself giving the keys to your bird cages to writer demons. Your demons then decide whether your birds should ever be released. Whilst you stare at your beautiful birds your writer demons whisper things like “not good enough” and “not as good as that writer you follow on Twitter.”
This year I gave the keys to my bird cages away to others. I gave others in my life permission to decide on the release of my birds. Two full manuscript requests from a publisher (which ended in rejection) made the bird ownership issue worse. People in my life, who had barely raised an eyebrow at my birds up until this point, suddenly became interested in the release of them.
They had plans for my birds. “Release them this way and whatever you do don’t set them free like that,” they advised. “Don’t waste your time doing that, do this.”
My writer demons also jangled the keys to my bird cages at me and laughed when I thought about entering writing competitions, looking into self publishing and sending more of my birds out into the world.
I have spent the last four years breeding and raising my birds. All I have ever wanted to do is set my birds free. I didn’t bring them into the world so they could sit in cages.
For me it’s not about how far my birds fly, the direction they fly in or the state they return in. All I know is that someone somewhere will find joy out of seeing one of my birds.
I can’t spend the rest of my writing career sat looking at them in their cages, waiting for someone else to give me the key.
After months of feeling glum and frustrated over bird ownership, combined with writer’s block (think the two were linked), I started reading countless books on signs from the universe. When in a life pickle I find turning to a mighty spiritual power is always a good start.
If you read my blog post from a few weeks ago, you will know that I did ask the universe for a sign regarding my writing future and it kindly sent me several literary rejections.
I now believe it had every right to do this. I was so wrapped up in myself I failed to notice that it had been giving me signs for MONTHS.
It was annoyed with me for not listening. I get this now.
You see, throughout my dark creative time I have become attracted to flying bird prints on clothing. If you knew me you would know that I am not fond of thought provoking patterns. I have also been obsessed with watching flocks of flying birds on dog walks. Lately I have developed a weird hatred for bird cages and bizarrely I have spent the last two months writing a lot about keys and locks (58k words to be precise).
Then the other day I had a weird epiphany / sugar fuelled moment.
My draft novels are birds. This is how the bird analogy came to light. My draft novels are my birds.
I need to be the one holding the keys to their cages.
If I choose to release some of them then so be it.
So, I have decided that 2018 will be the year I take back the keys to my bird cages.
I will be releasing my birds one way or another and giving them their freedom.
There is a logical plan behind their release. It’s amazing how a plan quickly comes together once you make a life changing decision.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to go crazy and set all my birds free at once.
I am going to set my birds free by entering as many writing competitions as I can, annoying more literary agents with my drafts, I am going to self publish my novel, How To Fall In Love Again, which has been rejected a zillion times but it still gives me joy, I am going to warm up my 69,967 Wattpad followers and I am not going to be left with a load of sad bird cages!
If by the end of 2018 I have still not released my birds or there is no firm date for when my birds will be set free please unfollow this blog.
Thank you. 🦅<<<<<<<<<<<<<