Why My Writing Life Feels Full of Bird Cages #Writer #AmWriting #Writer

#Writing #Writer #WritersLife

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.Β 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The trouble with being an unpublished writer is that you can find yourself giving the keys to your bird cages to other people.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.

Breaking news:

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.Β 

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. πŸ¦…<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Posted by

Lucy Mitchell lives in South Wales with her husband, her two teenage daughters, a giant labrador and a gang of unruly cats. Lucy is the author of the award winning blog, BlondeWriteMore and was a Featured Romance Author on Wattpad. When she’s not working or writing, Lucy can be found listening to audiobooks in a muddy field with her dog or sat outside her local pub in the sunshine enjoying a glass of wine. Her debut novel Instructions Falling In Love Again is OUT now and already pulling in some fabulous reviews ❀️

52 thoughts on “Why My Writing Life Feels Full of Bird Cages #Writer #AmWriting #Writer

  1. I have many caged birds. I have just finished an e course by Author Fiona Ferris who is a successful author. I am now equipped to release by birds myself through Amazon. 2018 is my year I hope it’s yours too.

    I look forward to reading your books, you have a successful blog, you are halfway there!! Good luck

  2. When you do decide to publish ‘How to Fall in Love Again’ and need some help with promoting it, our website/blog is at your disposal… promotional posts, author interviews or a book tour, whatever you need…
    I have a feeling that 2018 will be the year for the brave …

  3. I’m so glad you’ve decided to go for it Lucy! I’ll be behind you every step of the way! πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ And when you release… review/blog tour/ guest post… I’d be honoured to host you xxc

  4. You go Lucy. Only you know when that moment has come. Mine came when I realised I’d just revised half my novel for the umpteenth time and only rephrased it back to how I had it 32457 revisions before. If I was to leave it alone and get onto another book I needed to send it off to earn its own keep. Having your children at home for a visit is lovely but living with you and still behaving like a slobby teen when into their 20s begins to pall. So I self published and, you know, it worked. Once it was no longer my book anymore I didn’t want to touch it. You’ll find your own way and your bloggable Bezzies out here will cheer you on!

  5. Lucy, I was startled to find you in such a state. Admittedly, I haven’t followed your blog closely in recent months, but during this time it was always nice to receive the notification that you’d posted something new, remembering how much I’d enjoyed the pure energy and genuine wit that I’ve often found in your work.

    My initial impression after reading this post in the middle of the night here in the eastern U.S. is that it might be helpful to get yourself out of the aviary for a bit…stepping away from all those cages and the overheated environment you’ve created for your birds. Is it possible for you to put them out of your mind long enough to mute all the past judgments–by you or anyone who’s tried to tell you how to edit or manage your own work? To change the metaphor, would it be beneficial for you to cleanse your literary palette?

    Two things achieve that effectively for me:

    1. Actually changing my world with a trip–even a short one, consisting of only a few hours, if a week-long vacation to the tropics isn’t viable. See new things. Feel new breezes on your skin. Discover new delights in new places. Escape the familiar.

    2. Read someone else’s words. I’m talking about high-quality work here, stories that rise above most of what one finds clogging up the digital world. Maybe it’s an old book you’ve always loved reading but haven’t opened for some time. Or new work by an author you admire…new to you, I mean…the book might’ve come out decades ago but you’d never gotten around to it. Or someone completely new whose opening pages speak to you in that way you know instinctively will work to the closing page.

    Another thing that might help is to submit more of your short stories to magazines rather than online writing competitions. It made such a difference to me when, after years of languishing as an unpublished writer, I received a note from the Georgia Review’s editor (Stan Lindberg) expressing interest in a story but wanting it to go further than it did. Stan was willing to discuss the story on the phone, and his suggestions were illuminating and liberating. The scales fell from my eyes after that call: I rolled up my sleeves and got to work, and the magazine accepted the revised draft and I could finally see something I’d written in print! Since then, I’ve published a few other pieces in literary magazines, both fiction and poetry, and as this began to happen more often, my morale as a writer soared.

    You’ve already realized that you alone should be in charge of your work. No one else, regardless of their literary pedigree, will be able to give you advice that is 100% right for you. In my case, I didn’t agree with everything Stan suggested, either. You may not agree with everything I’ve suggested here, which is absolutely as it should be.

    But, Lucy, be of good cheer: many have affirmed your creativity and expressed their delight in what you’ve composed in the past. Don’t let anything take that away from you. But, just as importantly, don’t be afraid to go to the next level…writing in ways you might not have been able to imagine when you started out.

  6. Ah Lucy, I love your honesty and I think it’s great that you are sharing what the journey to publication is really like for authors. It’s a lonely place, submitting all the time and never having anyone believe in your work enough to publish. If I hadn’t self-published back in 2013, I wouldn’t be writing now. I probably would have given up, thinking I wasn’t good enough. But through self-publishing, I found readers who really enjoyed my books (and some who didn’t!) and I learned about the publishing industry from the ground up. Like you, all I wanted was to set my stories free and self-publishing gives you that freedom. sometimes, we just have to claim that title of ‘writer’ and stop letting those gatekeepers lock us out! You have many friends here cheering you on xx

  7. Ah, I see now why you mentioned this on my blog. It seems you and I have similar thoughts too. Although I’ve not explored Watpad at all. My own folly is knowing I have a list of things I need to do before submitting. Last (2017) year left me still staring at it wondering why I’d not ticked any of them off. The manuscripts (four) rest in several stages from ready to go, need an edit and finishing touches (chapter here or there). They’ve become very close and very few have seen them. Cognitive dissonance tends to rest with the keys, using your analogy.

    I’m aiming to publish 2018 too, so it seems our journey is running a similar course. That said I have every faith in you Lucy. Once that cage is opened I feel you will soon find momentum gathering.

    Of course, I expect a signed copy 😁

      1. Flipping hope so or you can unfollow my blog too!! I spent a good deal of last year trying to decide on the best route in for me and I still ended up going eek! Wrote another book instead…well it’s so close to being done now it’s scary 😜

      2. No, that’s spooky because so have I! Almost finished number four though now and some of my best characters are dropping like flies 😱 Mind you that’s why I’ve been off social media. I need to write and two months has seen me into probably the longest book project I’ve attempted so far! Write or publish…do we write to avoid that lol

  8. Good for you!! I know you will find (more) success Lucy. And you’re not alone. It’s hard to let them go. I’ve been holding onto a finished, professionally edited ms this year, still unsure about it and I really need to let it go. You’re inspiring and talented and once those cage doors are open, there will be no stopping you.
    Happy Nee Year!

  9. I totally get this. I’ve often equated the feeling as constipation. Ha! Your description is more eloquent. My first book was started six years ago. The full manuscript is out with two top agents so I’m holding my breath. It has gone through tons of revisions. With every rejection, I’ve tried to suss out the problems. In the meantime, I’ve got tons of other projects going.

    One word of warning. If you want to be traditionally published, give yourself ten years since it is soooo out of our control. If you’re self-publishing, then go for it!

  10. I love this analogy. Birds flying free is such an inspirational image. πŸ™‚ Good luck with opening the cages, and happy new year!

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