Too often I start a blog post and never finish it. That’s what I did here. It’s a blog that I started in late May of 2011, never finished, and then forgot that it even existed – until I accidentally found it more than two years later.

What I discovered when I found it and reread it is that I think I’d finished it in that one swift writing session and didn’t realize it. Writers often get stumped, so we stop and, all too often, give up. Then by accident, purpose, or maybe divine intervention, we go back and discover that maybe the reason we were stumped is because we’d completed the work but didn’t know it.

I guess you could say we get a bit lost, which is the very topic I was writing about in 2011. Unfortunately, the topic is still applicable to me in 2013.  

 

 

May 26, 2011

More than six weeks have passed since I last posted on here. Nearly a month has gone by since I last wrote anything more than an email or letter, despite the fact that I’d planned to start a new book on May 9.

What’s the problem?

I’m lost.

Sometimes getting lost can be good for writers, such as when we get lost in our work. And in our stories. Then again, getting lost in one’s story can be good or bad depending on what kind of lost. There’s the good kind of lost where our creative minds are living in the world we’re writing about. That’s bliss. There’s the kind of lost when we lose our direction in our story. That’s hell. And then there’s the kind of lost where we lose the direction in our work and lives. That’s roasting in the flames of hell.

In the past five months, hell, what am I talking about? In the past five years, I’ve done all of the above, repeatedly. I lost myself in my work and story and pounded out a few good sentences and some great characters – thanks to some amazing sources who showed me their hearts.

But too many times I lost the direction of my story. My (then) agent and I saw it as one thing. My friends and my editor saw it as another. Then my editor saw it as something beyond what she and my friends first perceived. Something that had me standing on the edge, wondering if I really wanted to jump. Memoir. That’s the term she used. But my journalist’s mind didn’t conceive that. I conceived hybrid – an oomph of memoir to tie together a journalist’s research. Not until last February did I finally comprehend that she truly wanted a reveal-my-heart-and-soul memoir that goes against every ethical fiber of this old school journalist who believes in staying out of the story and being as objective as any flawed human being can be.

And when I did, I lost who I was, found someone new who I liked better, then got terrified of her, and decided life would be safer and easier just being the old Suzy.

That’s where I am now, and it’s making me feel lost again.

* * *

June 18, 2013

Anyone else out there feeling lost?

 

Suzy Spencer is a New York Times best-selling author and journalist.
  1. Angela Reply
    This post 50 growth thing is dang annoying at times, ya know? I mean one hears that middle to advanced maturity is a time of reflection, polishing achievements, passing on wisdom and preparing for retirement. In reality these years past my 50th birthday have been among the most challenging and growth inducing I have ever experienced since my early teen years. I feel lost so often that I have considered attaching a GPS to myself. Unfortunately there isn't a GPS for the heart and soul per se. As life progresses my inner reflections aren't so easy anymore since I have so much experience, so many emotional scars from past mistakes, so many lazy habits of thinking and reacting that muddle the pathway and make me feel lost in a land of gray. A land of a million shades of gray. A land where I have to finesse the nuances of the situations and make choices and course adjustments that sometimes feel so uncomfortable that all I want to do is freeze on the road and pray that inertia will be enough for now. However when I do keep plunging forward I have found some amazing connections, some soothing answers and absolutely awesome potentials still awaiting me. This post 50 time of life is one in which we must use our past experiences and tools to create new tools, new choices that are full of grays and not just black and white. In visual art an artist is taught to use black to define the negative space but it is the shading of grays that give refinement, detail and zing to a picture. It is easy to get lost when rummaging through all those grays.
  2. Coyote Reply
    Suzy, You know I respect you dearly but if your main concern is aging be glad that you are able to. Some don't get that choice. Some die young and unexpectedly for various reasons and some make the decision to end it on their own. Knowing me as you do you know what I'm talking about. I read a quote the other day that said something to this effect, and this is not exact but you get the jest of it: The Lord gives his toughest challenges to his best soldiers because he knows they can handle it. I have to agree. J

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