I’m not sure how it happened. I fell off and… damn, but it’s hard to climb back in the saddle and get those words written. The horse keeps moving, you know. The publishing world, the writing world, the social world… it all kept moving, and here I was, stuck on the ground, stunned a bit, afraid to jump back in because I’d made a mistake and fell off. I had stopped writing.
There were many reasons—we all have reasons for not writing. For me, Life got busier than busy. I had run out of ideas, and my characters weren’t talking to me. All I could think of were lesson plans and schedules, and assignments and homework and getting my information into the State database so I could continue to work with kids and… Well, you name it; I saw it as an excuse to take a break from writing regularly. And once I stopped writing regularly… I stopped writing.
I didn’t think it would hurt to take some time off. Yeah, I felt estranged from fictional people that I once knew better than my own blood kin. Yeah, I began to sleep badly as the once familiar catharsis and escape I had once relied on seemed to be gone. But I was B.U.S.Y. I had “important” things to do, children to care for, homework to finish for teachers, paperwork to do for the government, etc. Writing was just a hobby for me, not my career… it should have been set aside.
Or should it?
I don’t exaggerate when I say I was out of touch and more than a bit emotionally disconnected without having that regular contact with my characters. After investing so much time on their lives and on the world I’d created, it was as if I had been torn from my family and home and forced to function in an alien environment. Instead of moving day in and day out with the comfort and reassurance of knowing I had all these “people” there alongside me as I moved into what was a very new world of becoming a teacher, I felt alone and uncertain.
And I’m not exaggerating the difficulty I have had sleeping since I stopped writing regularly. The odd day I managed to write (I squeaked through NaNoWriMo by doing scattered days of crazy huge wordcounts followed by days of not being able to settle long enough to write ten words) , I woke up the next day feeling more creative and inspired. Losing writing time was akin to not exercising day after day; I felt weak and unfit for most mental activities.
“That’s okay,” you might say. “We’ve all stopped writing once or twice when Life took over.” But I can’t be the only one who has noticed how much harder it is to start back up again than to keep going. The one-day break… that’s not too bad; we call it a day of rest, a Sabbath as it were. The week off… that’s a vacation. But the months off… those are something else. Usually when someone leaves a thing for so long, it is because they’ve chosen a different path in life, or that Life has chosen for them.
Enough is enough. I am a writer, not a victim. I can climb back up in that saddle and write, and I am inviting you to join me. Let’s see where our writing takes us.