In these past 6 months I have been mentally creating updates explaining why I've been delayed with things, and none of those posts ever got one word actually typed out. Then another event would happen, another excuse for my silence, another mentally written apology, and then another month went by. The list of excuses is very long now, and I think I have chosen to just move on rather than continue feeling guilty by rambling on about how hard things have been for me in these last 6 months, ups and downs, elations and despairs. At the end of the day, that's called life, and while it can be so easy to escape into a digital world, pretending that a concerned audience is anxiously waiting for an update, I am sure that most of those who take the time to read any of my posts have probably been dealing with all of the ups and downs of their own real lives.
I want to approach this post as a writer, not as a therapy session, and so I would like to explain the most crippling writer-related reason for my digital silence. Imposter Syndrome. At the end of 2017, it seemed that I had actually achieved some momentum in my writing persona. I had writer meetings and games on Twitter, I was exploring creative play with my own characters, I got to mentor a large group of students interested in noveling. I was riding a high of feeling like a writer. But I stopped writing. I used my online presence as an outlet to feel connected to the writing world, but eventually I realized that I had nothing left to offer. I wasn't creating anything new. I wasn't exploring a new world or meeting new characters. Heck, I wasn't even digging up anything from my WIP pile. As new Twitter Q&A's popped up weekly (some daily), I felt like a fraud. I wasn't writing. How could I contribute to an on-going conversation about growing as a writer when I plateaued? So I stopped participating. With nothing new to say, I withdrew from several online communities, and all of that momentum that drove me on merely months before suddenly dried up, leaving me feeling empty, and then worse than empty, filled with guilt and shame.
This isn't to say that I've been in a deep depressive state this whole time, I have done great things: I got back on the stage for another round of dinner theatre, I choreographed the dance numbers for our school version of The Lion King, we took our little one to Disneyland, and, after months of trying, we finally were able to make baby #2. All very positive things, but none of the them writing-related. And the more time that passed not writing, the harder it has been to even think about starting again. Where can I start? Which project? How much re-reading, re-visiting notes, or re-writing will have I have to do? Where am I going to find the time/energy? Each of those thoughts made the act of writing feel heavier and heavier, more and more impossible, and since writers write, what did that make me now? Despite 3 completed novels out in the world, I had fallen from writer to dreamer, and I feared falling even further backwards, possibly into oblivion itself - as if all of the progress I had made in my life would dissolve into nothing.
So why am I posting now? After six months of silence, what has given me the strength to take a few minutes to put thoughts into writing?
Someone told me to.
It sounds silly, but that's the truth of it. Sure I had a few people mention that they didn't receive *insert month here*'s newsletter, but that only seemed to add to the guilt; no I hadn't written it, so that's why you haven't received it. As far as I was aware, I had nothing to update readers on. There was nothing to say. And then once there was something to say, the burdensome need to explain why I hadn't said anything in-between became overwhelming. What do I say? How much do I explain? Does anyone even care? All of that thinking just added to the exhaustion I already felt. So doing nothing was both easier and harder.
But just the other day, as I was ranting on my personal account, someone who I am not especially close to said quite casually, "You should write this in a blog." And just as I was about to explain that I did have a blog already, I realized that I didn't have to explain myself, I just had to do it. Therefore this post was born. It is serving the purpose of my explanation, and is also the marker for my starting line. It doesn't matter where I was prior, what I was doing or not doing. This is a new lap. A new run. I am at my starting line with no expectations of how far I will go or of how long this lap will take me. I may run, I may walk, heck, I may even just flop on the ground for a bit crying that I can't get up. I make no promises, not to you, not to myself. Will I get back into my newsletter? Probably eventually. Will it be monthly? I doubt it. Will I continue my goals from last year? Probably not. I will need to set my standards very low right now, I need very tiny victories to keep me on track.
So, in short, I'm back, sort of. I am on the way to building myself back up, to feeling like a writer again. And with a new baby on its way, it's not going to be easy.
As of right now, I have at least one story to tell. The one that was asked of me. This post is step #1, to appease my own guilt. My next post will be setting that guilt aside. Moving forward. Writing. Because that's what writers do.