Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coming Out of the Clouds

By Nichole Giles

Last week I took a drive in the canyon. I’d gone up to a small mountain town to spend a weekend with a few of my girlfriends, and though we all would have loved lounging around by the pool on Saturday afternoon, it rained the whole time we were there.

It sounds like a disappointment, but my friends and I were just happy to be in a quiet house where we could giggle and chat and watch chick flicks, so the rain didn’t bother us too much.

When I went to leave on Sunday, the rain had stopped and the sun shone—however weak—so I loaded my things in the trunk and put the convertible top down. In my mind, there’s nothing quite like the feel of mountain air on my skin, the smells of campfires, and crisp, clear water, and millions of trees caressing my senses as I traverse the winding roads listening to…whatever music suits my mood at the time.

I drove away from the house, trying not to see the dark storm clouds closing in on me. Instead of worrying about rain, I cranked my stereo up louder. Minutes later, drops of water splattered on my windshield, small and slow at first, but within a few minutes, the splats grew larger and came much faster. If you’ve ever ridden in a convertible in the rain, you realize that I wasn’t really getting wet at this yet, because I was driving faster than the water was falling. But as the storm continued, I knew that eventually it would catch up with me and I’d be drenched.

As it happens, the canyon in which I was driving is a two-lane highway in some places, and that highway becomes fairly narrow—with few or no turnoffs—around a very large, full lake. In case you were wondering, at that point, stopping to put the top up wasn’t an option. Though, if there had been a place, I probably wouldn’t have stopped anyway.

See, just as the rain was at its hardest, I looked up, wondering what I’d gotten myself into, and saw that up ahead, the clouds had parted and the sun was shining through. I told myself, “Hey, it’s not really so far away,” and kept going. Even when traffic slowed me down, and my clothes became damp, I kept moving—aimed for that sunny break in the clouds.

When I got there, it was more beautiful than I could have imagined. The side of the hill was covered in purple and yellow wildflowers, and the trees reached hundreds of feet toward the sky. The sunshine warmed and dried my skin, and I was revived.

As I was driving through this warm spot, I thought about writing, and how easy it is to get discouraged when you’re trying to drive through the storm. How hard it is to see through the clouds to the sun. Your work is criticized, and you become discouraged. Success is difficult to come by, and you get rejection after rejection, and begin to wonder if all your hard work has been in vain.
I see writing as a journey, and sometimes, we can’t help getting caught in the rain. When this happens, my advice to you is to look up. It may be hard to spot, but somewhere ahead, there’s a break in the clouds where the sun shines through on the tall trees and riot of wildflowers—a spot you can aim for where you can be refreshed and revived before diving back into the rain again.

It may be a small success, or an encouraging comment, or an agent calling to request your full manuscript—but it’s there, just ahead. Be patient. It’s closer than you think.

Have a good week. Write on.


L.T. Elliot said...

Nichole! This is just BEAUTIFUL! I love this post. I'm totally linking to it!

Amber Lynae said...

Nichole, What an inspirational post. Thank you so much for reminding us to see the light and take joy.

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks, L.T. And thanks for the link. Feel free to link in your comments as well.

Amber, you're very welcome. I'm glad you were inspired.

I have now done my good deed for the day... (You all know I'm kidding, right?)


Terresa said...

Great thoughts. So encouraging!

On the heels of getting my articles rejected from 2 online magazines last month, I was upset. But kept writing. Then, I found out yesterday that an essay I wrote for Dreyer's won and I'm a grand prize winner for their ice cream block party contest. Yipee!!

So, as in writing & life, there are rainy times and sunny times, and as you pointed out, we need to stick to our writing and good will come of it in the end.

Nichole Giles said...

What an encouraging story, Teressa. Thanks for sharing.

Ice cream block party? Sounds like fun to me!What an awesome thing to win.


Kim Thompson said...

Inspiring Nichole. This applies to many aspects of life, not just writing and I think I'm starting to see a break in the clouds.

It's about time! :)

Nichole Giles said...

You're right, Kim. And I'm glad you can finally see it. Keep going, you'll get there.