Back in the Saddle…

Published June 6, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?” James 2:14

Admittedly, I’ve spent hardly any time since Christmas break on the sequel to Rising Shadows, and it’s been a full two months since I even sat down to put thought to doc (the modern version of “pen to paper”). I believe I was actually terrified to sit in that chair again after such a long time and have my hands hovering over the keys, completely unable to form any coherent thoughts. I was afraid I would be uninspired and would stare at the unfinished manuscript, watching that awful black line blink on and off on that intimidatingly blank page, waiting to type the next word that would never come. It was almost paralyzing to imagine that Rising Shadows might be known as this fantastic novel that never received a companion, and I would be known as a one-hit-wonder. For some reason, my months of writing hiatus made me question if I would ever again experience a creative thought. So, I decided not to face that moment and continued to put off finishing the sequel, sometimes wondering if I hid away from the book, then maybe it would write itself or disappear completely.

This was completely irrational, since the longer I put it off, the more pressure there would be to write it and the closer I would get to my deadline; it wasn’t going to write itself! Then a few nights ago, I woke up at midnight in a moment of inspiration—unfortunately, I do all my best thinking at the most inconvenient times—and began scribbling ideas as fast as I could in the dark so I didn’t wake my sister, Katie. You can imagine my great relief when I spent the next afternoon pounding away at the keys, piecing together thoughts and words to create new scenes. Once I got going, it was like all the pressure I had been feeling for so long was lifted, and I began to remember how much I love to write. It honestly felt like I had never been away as I created new characters and picked up with the old ones, immediately understanding how they would react in certain situations and how they’ve grown. I wrote the epilogue to the story—chills!—and also this one farewell scene that left me in need of a tissue. All those fears were for naught, and they kept me from finishing the sequel, which was my greatest fear to begin with! (I believe that’s irony, or something like that) Needless to say, I have every intention of spending the rest of the summer dedicated to this next installment in The Shadow trilogy.

It was interesting, because the day after I finally got over my fear of writer’s block that kept me from attempting to write, my mom and I went to my grandpa’s to see some family friends who were visiting. One of the highlights of my very, very new career in writing was when a friend of my mom’s came up to me to say how much she has enjoyed reading my blog. She said that the words I write are so encouraging to her and very real, and I paint life how it really is and don’t try to make it seem perfect, because it’s not. Sometimes I feel like I’m just writing about what affects me and wonder if it will impact other people, so her words meant a lot to me. Talking with her encouraged me that all the time I’ve spent on this series and these characters will be worthwhile to some, and that’s all that matters. It gave me hope that I can touch people with my words and got me thinking—maybe I can impact people with my writing . . .

Have you checked out the official cover for Rising Shadows yet? If not, take a look at the “Rising Shadows” page on the left or go to www.goodreads.com and search for the book.

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” –Shakespeare

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