I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve last published something on the blog… eighteen months more or less!
In that amount of time, I got married, moved to a new state in a new timezone, started a new job, and put out another ebook (foreshadowing). That’s two out of the three things newlyweds aren’t supposed to do in the first year of marriage, but we’re not doing Number Three (having a kid) yet. In all that adjustment and chaos, regular writing got kind of pushed to the wayside, although mostly in recent months, I’ve made up for some of the lost time.
It makes me think a bit about my relationship with writing, actually.
I’ve been a writer since before I could write. When I was really little, I would draw pictures to tell the stories I wanted. And as soon as I actually learned to write, I did. I did that all through school, often as an escape. I kept it up through college, but it wasn’t until I got to graduate school that my personal writing started to slow down. In part I blamed that on my physical and mental health, and I definitely did over the year I was underemployed and essentially in limbo. Almost nothing I wanted got done then.
But then, employed full-time, and finally married, I still didn’t write as much. But the urge was still there.
I write because I have to, and because I love it. But I need something else.
I don’t think it’s necessarily time, although that’s definitely a necessity. I can’t bang out a 100 page novella in a day, and while I can write a 60 page research paper in 17 days, I definitely don’t want to do that again! That one time in grad school was more than enough.
It’s a cliche, and I think a dangerous one, to say writers have to be unhappy to produce good work. And I write good stuff, happy or unhappy. I prefer to not be unhappy, and I think my work is generally better when I’m not weighed down by the world. Besides, if unhappiness meant I’d be more prolific, I’d have composed a second War and Peace from June 2016-June 2017.
Maybe it’s just mental energy. Depression wears you out. Moving wears you out. Starting a new job is tiring. Keeping a job you don’t especially like is tiring. Major life changes in general are just tiring.
Maybe writing is a sign that there’s the potential for things to get better. I don’t want to get overly mystical, but it seems like a possibility. After all, authoritarians want to crack down on ideas, and writing is one way for them to spread. Maybe, as long as we can write, there’s the potential for something better.
And there are always red pencils to help with the actual written material.