I’m being overly dramatic. About the saving your life part. I think.
When I awakened at three one particular morning, as I had for months after a traumatic career ending moment and the realization that a loved one was very very sick, I was, for a change, not in tears.
I saw a (beautiful) reporter, a (stunningly handsome) cop, a (stupid homophobic) decision by a church and a (dead) bishop. Where did that come from? Would I remember it all at a more reasonable hour of the morning?
I didn’t think I would. But I did.
It became Adam’s Witness, a novel I never thought I’d write. Nor any novel, really.
I’m not much of a believer in intervention, divine or otherwise. But somehow, I do think my brain was trying to save my sanity, or myself from a black mood I could not shake. The mood did not actually improve much for a long time, in the overall; but the creative muse eventually took hold and if nothing else served as a distraction. There’s nothing like diving into someone else’s life.
Even a fictional someone.
And now, I am powerfully inclined to pitch my method of mind-bending to others. If a creative or athletic or other positive new thing is calling you, I advise answering the mental phone. Even if it’s hard. Let me tell you, publishing a book online and in print by yourself is not the easiest thing you’ll ever try, creatively or technically. (I’m sure that goes for all other pursuits.)
And I haven’t entirely sorted out why it changed my mind. Altered my brain. But it absolutely did; I’m quite sure it forged new synaptic pathways, and no kidding.
As to the other benefits, there’s always a chance someone else might actually like what you did. Your book. Your painting. Your photograph. The fact that you ran 10K when you could barely walk around the block six months ago.
Further to the benefits, I was incredibly grateful to the readers of my city and the bookstore McNally Robinson for putting Adam’s Witness at the top of the local fiction bestseller list shortly after it landed. How did that happen?
Since then, I’ve published five more books, one of them with a traditional publisher.
Like I said, you never know what following that muse may bring.