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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Article: Dancing in the Hallways Or the Empty Nest Syndrome

Dancing in the Hallways Or the Empty Nest Syndrome -- What Type of Writer Are You?
by Kim Watters

Okay. I admit it. I’m one of those parents the teachers hate so much. Why? Because I’m the one dancing in the hallways on the first day of school. Yes! Arms pumping into the air here. I’m the one singing school’s back in session…school’s back forever… (Sung to the beat of that old Alice Cooper song with a little air guitar thrown in for full effect). Well, it may not be for ever, but close enough. No more TV, no more play dates, no more you promised we’d go there dirty looks…school’s back in session!

The BIG day is upon us. Back to school. My son’s lower lip begins to tremble as we pull into the school parking lot. The flurry of activity around us heightens the tension in the eerily silent vehicle. Buses, trucks and cars jockey into position to unload the unwilling occupants. Strung out teachers and administrators attempt to direct the sea of metal and the long faces on the returning students (and school hasn’t even officially begun yet) into some semblance of order. Then of course there’s me and several other happy parents, clogging the main artery in and out of school. And yes, we’re dancing.

You can see the giddiness, hear the laughter, and feel the excitement as we kiss our offspring goodbye before we wave them off in the direction of the classrooms. Okay, I admit, there are a few parents with long expressions, too. Obviously, they haven’t quite obtained the sense of freedom yet of packing little Billy or Susie off on their personal journey through life. But as a parent, and an author, you have to let them go.

So, you ask, what does this have to do with writing? Consider this. When you send that finished manuscript off to an agent, editor, or even your critique group, are you happy or sad? Do you feel the first blush of excitement as you hand over that envelope to the postal employee? Or is your head filled with doubts and you want to hold onto those pages forever, never letting them out of your sight? Are you dancing in the hallway? Or feeling that empty nest syndrome when the characters you’ve spend countless hours, days, or even years with have flown the proverbial coop?

For me, it’s a little of both. I’m happy to strike those six enormous characters at the end of every book. I’m also terrified of the emptiness surrounding me because all those voices in my head are suddenly quiet, like the silence in the short car ride home from school. Where do I go from there? How do I fill the void? While my child or my novel adjusts to life on its own, so must I. How? By taking pleasure in the few moments of freedom. Bask in the relaxing sensation of reading a book for the sheer enjoyment of it. Take a hike or cruise the mall and let the mind wander from the realities of every day life. Get caught up on all the little projects that piled up over the summer.

Or better yet, dance with me. Because sooner rather than later, you’ll hear another tiny voice knocking inside your brain begging to get out. And it sure as heck won’t be sporting a Spongebob back pack and a brand new pair of sneakers.

About the Author: At twelve years old, Kim Watters fell in love with romance after she borrowed a romance novel from her older sister. An avid reader, she was soon hooked on the happily ever after endings. For years, she dreamt of writing her own romance novel, but never seemed to have the time until she relocated from Chicago to Phoenix. The rest, they say, is history. She’s a multi-published author with releases from Avalon Books and The Wild Rose Press. She’s a member of RWA, PASIC, NINC, Valley of the Sun Romance Writers, Desert Rose RWA, and the ACFW.

Visit the author at her website, myspace or Bebo.

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