By Lisa Lickel
I so killed it. I knew it when I hauled it out of the dirt to store for winter.
"It" is a several-year-old amaryllis bulb, but I could just as easily talk about my writing career.
Last year in late winter I carefully unpacked the amaryllis bulb from storage in the basement. It looked like a rock, but like the previous two years we'd planted it, the thing greened up and began to grow so fast you could watch it. I faithfully took pictures every day, planning to post many of them to my blog. Green spears grew…and…grew…and grew.
At the same time I worked on a story that I had begun a couple of months earlier. I had spent time after my third novel release thinking about which of my many projects to pursue. I finally settled on the third installment of my mystery series that was still selling. I kept pitching the second book and some other manuscripts. I branched out in marketing, trying new things, new blogs. The plant didn't bloom. I stopped taking pictures and put it outside.
My writing hit major doldrums that summer. I never have writer's block, but I do admit to writer's tantrums. None of the feelers I put out hit paydirt. The new blog I started was swirling in the bowl and none of my queries showed results. Did I still want to be a writer? Well, yeah. I sucked it up and took advantage of more volunteer opportunities for name recognition: I jumped into editing, book reviewing like crazy, working with a local writers group, revamping the blog, met a new writing buddy. Then I received several offers to write smaller things. I sold some short stories and was offered more opportunities.
Dead of winter: I got that bulb out again last week; a little earlier than I usually do. I was sure it would never grow. I was wrong. It came back to life. I don't know if it will bloom, but it's alive and growing. Time will tell. Stay tuned for updates on all fronts.