Writing and the New Year
With the new year, when so many writer friends are listing their 2013 stats and their 2014 goals, I find that my brain is dwelling on the thought: I could just go do something else. Surely I’d be happier if I tried using my spare hours as hobby time instead of shoehorning writing into my schedule. Writing certainly hasn’t paid any bills for me. If I count the expenses of traveling to conventions and the expenses of printing, I’ve spent more than I’ve earned.
This is not the voice of despair, or at least not the typical despair. I do not feel bleak or sad. Tired, yes, but not overwhelmed. It feels more like temptation. As if something is trying to lure me down a seemingly easier road.
It is a lie. The easier road is illusory. I’ve tried to give up writing before. Both times it came back. I’m 10,000 words into a novel I should finish. Short stories are percolating in my head in a way they haven’t done in years. I have another novel waiting after the first. I still have to do fulfillment on my picture book Kickstarter. I’m headed to ConFusion in only a few weeks where I’ll wear my professional clothes, teach, and re-connect with many of my writer friends.
Perhaps I should take up some soul-filling hobbies. That would be good for me. I spent the last year emptying myself out to answer the needs of others. Something needs to come and fill that space. I think I am afraid that working at writing will be a further drain rather than restorative. That fear is wrong. It would take more work to stop writing. I could stop writing if I put deliberate effort into doing so. I’d have to pull my brain away from it. I’d have to re-wire my coping strategies. I’d have to carefully weed writing out of my life and social contacts; stomp it down when it popped up, again and again. I don’t think I should do that. I think I need to tell these stories even if I only have an audience of one. Even if the only purpose is for me to sort myself. I think once I’m writing regularly I’ll remember that writing fills me. I’ve only forgotten because I’ve put so little effort into writing during this past year. All my effort went elsewhere.
My plans for this coming year are beginning to coalesce, but I’m reluctant to turn them into lists. There will be plenty of time for lists and business. Right now I’ll be content in the contemplation that this might be the year when I finally learn what it is like to leave the door to writer part of my brain open because I’m using it so often.
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