A few times a year I have a meeting with a career coach. (Actually, she's my good friend, author Diane Darcy.) A few weeks ago, we met again.
Typically, we stick our noses into each other's careers and take a good critical look at our own. Then we analyze the hell out of it before we come up with a new career plan. We leave the restaurant--I mean, meeting--feeling focused and powerful even though we know our changes will be difficult. This last meeting was no exception.
*Don't worry, Linda, Stanley is still in progress.
But I was feeling a little overwhelmed with all the sequels and plans, so I thought it would be a smart thing to put some series on the back burner--or rather, in the deep freeze, to thaw out and cook at a much later date. Boy, did I feel liberated. The pressure was gone. I had a simple plan to follow. Life was going to get a whole lot easier.
And was I wrong.
I walked confidently into the waiting room, got everyone's attention, then announced the new plan. And while everyone gasped and clutched each other, trying to absorb it all, I got the hell out of there.
I have to pause here to tell you what I meant by "getting the hell out of there." After all, this waiting room is in my head and I can't just go on functioning if I leave my head behind...unless I really leave my head behind. Which is what I did. I thought it would be a wise thing to start taking some medication to help relieve my stress levels. I was going to test the waters and see if I could actually function while taking these meds, and if I couldn't, I would stop taking them. Turns out, I couldn't write a word--whether it was just an imagined block or not, I was dead in the water.
So I stopped taking the meds. It took a couple of weeks for the stuff to leave my system and the crazy dreams to go away--for the most part. Still having some wacky events in my head at night, but I'm back to writing, which is the important thing here.
My mind arrived as scheduled and I boldly returned to the waiting room. I had my new plan in hand and was ready to call all those malcontents to order. Opened the door...and was mobbed.
Characters both alive and dead surrounded me and dragged me into the center of the room. And despite Stanley firing his dueling pistols, the chaos continued. The ghosts of 79 Highland warriors threw chairs of mist against the walls. Ashmoore glared daggers at me while patting the shoulder of a loudly-weeping Sarah who wailed she was too young to die. I protested, since I hadn't planned to kill her off, but my voice was no match for the rest of the noise.
A couple of old women stood at my elbows and explained why I deserved whatever happened though they insisted that, personally, they didn't hold any grudges...even though I planned to close their little tea shop before it ever had a chance to prove itself.
Monty was no help at all. He sat atop my desk watching the excitement while forcing Jillian and the rest of his clan to cower behind said desk. When I gave him a pointed look, he shrugged his shoulders and said the Muir sisters were right--I'd asked for it.
That was when I really started to worry. It was a dark day indeed if Monty was agreeing with The Sisters.
I gasped and pointed left, then ran to my right toward the exit.
The door disappeared.
I put my back against the wall where that exit had been and braced myself.
After a moment, the chairs stopped flying. The ghosts began righting their imagined furniture, but refused to sit.
Stanley suggested I make myself comfortable and pointed to the desk.
"Move your arse, Laird Ross," he said. "Apparently, no one is going anywhere."
About the room...
There are a number of rooms in my head. Behind one, there is a gnarly table covered with thick open books. If I close those and tuck them away on the shelves, my thoughts become less cluttered. I can focus on whatever is left on the table.