Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a lifetime far, far away there lived a woman. Single. Childless.
Let’s call her Kelly.
Kelly fell in love with a sarcastic Computer God, married him, and moved to a place so foreign from home, it might as well have been another country.
We shall call this land “Texas.”
Kelly spent her first summer hiding from the brutal heat—a mild summer by native accounts—and wondered why anyone settled in such a harsh place.
Then winter came and she still wore shorts.
Kelly embraced this new land, discovering perks never thought possible.
Her family expanded.
Named Uruk-hai because of her obsession with Lord of the Rings (it was 2003, after all), it released her from the chain of Deathstar (aka her desktop PC, now deceased) and allowed her to enjoy the most magical gift from Texas: her deck in winter.
Basking in the warmth of the morning and early afternoon sun, legs propped up in her folding captain’s chair, it would prove to be the most productive writing location. Hours passed. She wrote her first novel—a young adult fantasy. She learned sunscreen must be applied in February or your legs will burn and explored every possible beginner’s mistake in book writing.
Then, one day, she typed the final words of the first draft. By now she knew the first 50% consisted of beginner crap and the rewrites would take even longer than this initial draft.
Undaunted, she plotted how to fix these characters who shared their story with her.
But then, one hot summer day, something happened that would alter her life forever.
You see, Kelly had been listening to The Clock tick-tock for years. On this humid day, after attempting to pee on a stick without getting any on her hand and failing, she learned her deepest wish had come true: she would be a mother.
Silence fell around the characters, their cries drowned by the shrieks of “BABY! BABY!” flooding Kelly’s brain. No longer could Kelly communicate with her sixteen-year-old protagonist as HCG levels multiplied in her bloodstream.
For years, these characters waited in silence, as a second pregnancy, sleep deprivation, and exponentially increasing piles of laundry imprisoned them.
Mommy Brain attacked any thought that dared linger more than 2.23 seconds, terminating all creativity and the basic ability to think more than five minutes ahead about anything other than children.
The characters feared they would be extinguished forever.
One tiny part of the former Kelly remained, and one day, it formed a resistance and fought back.
Dances with Chaos The Blog was born, followed by Writing with Chaos.
Baby step by baby step, Kelly worked to open the communication with the characters living in her head. The ones from long ago remained silent, still deeply buried in the dungeon, but new ones—unknown until they popped onto the page—began to appear. Aided by online writing prompts, the brain cobwebs began to clear.
Kelly joined with others who also fought the constant Mommy Brain battle. Together, their power overcame piles of laundry and cranky children.
Many setbacks happened, as Kelly strived to better herself in hopes one day her job could be writing. Her inner critic screamed she would fail.
And she did. Over and over.
Hope was nearly lost, her dreams in danger of being jailed again. Writing time dwindled to the point of non-existence.
It threatened to disappear forever.
But a few amazing friends and a small pact made months before rose from the ashes of her dreams.
Kelly and Erin had a vow—to submit pieces for an anthology—and neither one could back down for the other. This tiny thread of accountability somehow held more power than both of their inner critics and juggling the daily chaos.
The final day of submission arrived and both women entered their pieces, fulfilling their vow to each other.
Released last fall, a part of Kelly still feared announcing her success. Life twisted and turned and then mentioning just seemed… wrong.
Then one afternoon Kelly, grumpy, tired, and craving all manner of junk food, forced herself back onto her deck and into the captain’s chair. This time Firefly (laptop 3.0) accompanied her as she soaked up the sun.
Sitting there, where so many words were typed before, the flood gates opened and it was impossible not to write.
It seemed silly not to share her good news.
And in the corners of her mind, she heard voices silenced six-and-half years ago.
Whispering for their rewrites.
* * *
Where is your favorite writing spot?