I have to admit a lot of my doldrums get caught up in the “what’s the point.” I get frustrated with my story and wonder if I will ever get it finished. Or I ask that question that haunts every writer from bestsellers to the writer of obituaries on the smallest paper in the smallest town on earth. Does anyone even read this stuff except me?
Then comes the gift of what I call the “Joan Wilder Moment”. For those of you who haven’t seenRomancing the Stone more than once, you might not get the reference, so let me explain. The heroine of the movie is a romance novelist who goes to rescue her sister from evil kidnappers in Columbia, and things go a little less than perfectly when she arrives. Finally she and the erstwhile hero make it to a small village—which turns out to be the stronghold of a drug-lord. As they are about to be shot by said drug lord the hero says, “Write your way out of this one, Joan Wilder.” The drug-lord lowers the gun and says, “Joan Wilder? You are Joan Wilder? The romance novelist? I read your books!” And of course, he becomes their staunch ally.
So, back to the Joan Wilder Moment.
In making reservations for an upcoming con, there was a “Muffy Morrigan? The Muffy Morrigan? I read your books!” Now, this was not someone who worked for the con, but rather an employee of the hotel that is hosting the con. It was a moment that reminded me why I am writing. Not just because I love my stories, but because I love sharing my stories. When someone is excited by what I’ve written, or is touched or—in the case of my story about gastroparesis—finds a little hope, I am blown away. Each time is like the first and I glow with the same lovely, fuzzy warmth.
I’ve found through the years that the doldrums almost always have a “Joan Wilder Moment” attached. Just like a ship lost in the windless sea finally catching the Trade Winds, so we can find that breathe of fresh air. Look for it. It will give you the joy and the momentum to sail on.