I stopped writing back in 2017.
The beginning of 2017, really, though I had one final piece accepted towards the end of the year. My life had shifted to other hobbies that required an obscene amount of time. I wanted to fence more, to travel to out of area events, to see if I was Good Enough for the bar I had set for myself. I also was finally getting my feet with metalwork and enameling and lot of hours were being poured into the kiln. I started a new relationship that subsequently ended earlier this year, both happenings taking up a huge portion of my time. My day job had gotten crazy and I was working too much and trying to figure out if I wanted to set off down the path of Management (reader, I did not).
Looking back, it was one helluva couple of years. And at the end of the day, I just didn’t have the mental or emotional capacity left to focus on something as demanding on the brain as writing. For me, writing is joyous. It is fulfilling and remarkable and addicting and life-giving. It is also exhausting. It was easier when I was younger, had more energy, had fewer demands on me during the day. In all my current wisdom, however, I can look back at Past Me and also realise that I was young and undisciplined and, quite frankly, kind of an idiot. But I do miss the boundless energy and creativity I seemed to have way back when.
But earlier this autumn, I decided I wanted to get back into it. I started reading again, voraciously. Short fiction, mostly, some novels. I finally got around to reading Naomi Novak’s Uprooted (which gave me the longest book hangover I’ve had in my life) and Terry Prachett’s final Tiffany Aching book The Shepherd’s Crown (and that one just straight up hurt). I dusted off my Twitter account, looked up the password for this blog. I opened my my WIP folder. I started writing again.
At some point in the last two years, there was a shift. Maybe just in my sphere, but suddenly, the bar was much, much higher. People I knew who had just been starting out were now producing consistently phenomenal work. There was a strong, sustained push for #ownvoices, for diverse stories. Em dashes were still a point of contention. It was inspiring. It was terrifying. And more than anything, I was afraid I was no longer good enough, that I would never be able to catch up and I missed my chance in the last two years and I’d never get that time back. And…I won’t. Cuz that’s how time works.
I started writing again, anyway. It was a rocky start with some disheartening rejection, but it’s smoothed out. I’ve found a stride again. I’m starting to form my space. I just signed a contract on a poem that tells a very important story to me. I have pieces being held for consideration and a couple revision requests. I’m creating work I’m proud of, that’s far above what I thought I could do a year ago. It’s a taxing and exhausting and consuming as I remember it and maybe hopefully, I’ll remember not to let it go, this time.