Writing and publishing my debut novel has been an unforgettable experience. As I look back at my four-year book journey I can’t help but notice the reoccuring process of creation, destruction and resurrection. I have spent four years doing just this; creating my draft manuscript, destroying my draft manuscript and resurrecting my draft manuscript.
Now I know I am not alone in this process of creating, destroying and resurrecting drafts. I only have to browse through the Twitter hashtags #AmWriting and #WritingCommunity to see there are hundreds of writers out there all going through the same process.
This process makes me think of the mythical bird; the phoenix. After a strong coffee and a giant piece of cake I discovered these surprising similarities between the writer and the phoenix.
- The phoenix is a strange and mysterious creature. So is the writer. I don’t think anyone is going to argue with me on this one. This is why I became a writer – so that I could live my best life being strange and mysterious.
- The life of a phoenix is all about creation, destruction and resurrection. The writer’s creative process follows a similar pattern; drafts are created, destroyed through editing / revision and then resurrected again…once emotions have settled down.
- But it is just not about your draft. You – the writer are also like a phoenix. When the phoenix feels like the end is approaching, it builds a nest, sets fire to it, allows itself to be consumed by the flames and turns into a heap of ashes on the floor. A similar situation occurs when the writer has been inundated with harsh criticism or rejections. In their head they feel like heading over to their nest and burning everything they have ever written, but instead they erupt into a hot, fiery creative rage, announce they are quitting and turn into a teary heap on the floor.
- According to legend, the sighting of a phoenix is a good sign as it means a new era has begun. The same can be said for a writer, once they emerge from Writing Corner after completing a draft. Loved ones and pets will only need to take a quick look at the writer’s face to know that a new era has begun!
- This quote makes me think of that wonderful feeling you get after coming back strong after a harsh critique. You rise from the dust and as the words flow again you rekindle the spark of your future. ‘And when all that was left was ashes, she would again clothe herself in flame. Rising from the dust of her past to rekindle the spark of her future. She was a Phoenix, her own salvation; rebirthed, renewed, resurrected.’ — LaRhonda Toreson
- Just like the phoenix goes through a process of reincarnation, so does the writer – every time they start a new draft.
- How many times do we go through hell with our writer demons and despise our art? This inevitably leads to dark literary times and us questioning our creative abilities. How many times do we then rise from the ashes (a few days later) feeling like we have been reborn and start to love our writing again?
To be successful we have to keep rising from the ashes. 🔥
So, if you are feeling gloomy or fed up with your writing, remember you are like the phoenix.
Let me know what phoenix stage you are currently at:
I am working on my resurrection. I need to get out of these draft six ashes and rise again with draft seven.
I am hoping we can find writers at each of the three stages.
Have a great day my fellow phoenix friends!