January was a long, bizarre, intense kind of month. It always is, I don’t know why this still surprises me at round twenty-three. Perhaps it’s because, with a year in between, it’s easy to forget.
First things first, I have been writing this past month, despite low energy and motivation. What matters is that (apart from this past week) I have effectively written a post a week this year but confidence, circumstances, and quality control prevented their publication. The temptation to ghost you guys has never been so strong as when I curled up to type up this piece. And let’s be honest, besides all that, I could definitely be more organised than I am.
Anyway, the point being, I’m back and I’ve missed this. Nevertheless, I believe that my six week silence requires a little explanation.
An Accidental Hiatus
I always wondered why people take hiatuses from writing since, for me anyway, writing is therapy, it’s not stressful. Rather than needing a break, writing is taking a break. So the silence of January (which would be an excellent title for a thriller, you’re welcome) was not intentional. Articles were written and it stressed me out that I wasn’t posting anything and every few days it would cross my mind that I should. But before I knew it, it was the 26th and I made the executive decision to start again in February (except that, once more, circumstances conspired against me, pushing it back a fortnight).
Truth be told, it was a conscious effort once I made the choice. That’s not to say that I haven’t been writing. In September, I finished the first draft of a novel and have been typing and tidying that up with the aim to find some alpha readers by Easter.
Because of this, the steady progress being made on a children’s story has ground to a halt. However, I did complete the first chapter of a slightly heavier-going WIP; have been revising bits of a historical-fiction WIP; and have sort of plotted and begun to write a slightly unusual contemporary romance (I’m enjoying the style of this particular one but a concerned that the narrator will come off a little whiny if I’m not careful). Believe me, K.A. may have been neglected but not through idleness.
I don’t understand writers’ block or these people who want to write but find it difficult to come up with any ideas. All that to say, I do apologise for the neglect. But there’s more to the story.
Outside of my notebooks and back to the real world, it has been an emotionally intense six weeks. A lot happened, decisions were made, counsel given and taken, and plans made. There have been fraught moments and some hard conversations and it has been emotionally draining but I’ve been a lot better this past week or so and we walk into the new year in hope. All there is to say is that, without a doubt, God is good. He’s never given me cause to doubt it and I will stand by that conviction to the end.
I’ve also been ill but that’s partly. Just a bug in January but it took a while to shake and the accompanying headache made it extremely difficult to do anything much more than wake up in a dark room and cry. Normally sick days can at least be utilised in part for writing but this bug was pretty brutal. It’s gone now, thankfully, but it took a while to get my energy levels back up. My mood has been a little slower to follow but it’s getting there.
Most of what I’ve picked up around the art of wordfoolery has been through the ridiculous volume of stuff I’ve read over the years, the other 5% came from a combination of the advice of authors I’ve seen and random articles or videos that people have posted on social media.
I’ve never done a creative writing course in my life. The closest I’ve ever come would be either a random conference I hardly remember, or the Creative Writing Club at my second high school which I couldn’t cut because I simply don’t like fan fiction.
The reason I never considered studying creative writing at university level was because it has gone in the same direction as the art schools; it’s not about the beauty of the thing or having something to say to the world, it’s about the cleverness of me and all the semi-intellectual waffling around the work, trying to give it more depth than it actually has and thereby destroying it altogether. I write because I love stories and I appreciate their power, not so that people think that I’m deep or artsy or intellectual. Because I’m quite definitely not.
But towards the end of last month, I found myself actually considering doing a writing program.
Which led to all sorts of thoughts but mostly I found myself feeling as though I were at a tipping point. I’ve learned all that I can on my own now, I think. If I want to be serious about writing then it’s time to find someone who can help.
Which raised the question, am I serious about it? The answer was fairly self-evident but it was the following question in my mind that brought me to the crossroads: Should I be serious about writing?
There’s a voice in my head (in a non-psychiatric sense) that followed me home from school one day. That voice decided to chime in with several objections, the weightiest being this: Is writing something that you should be serious about? After all, stories are great but we all have to grow up sometime.
I remember those conversations with teachers at school: Writing is a hobby, you can’t make a career out of it. You’ve got so much more potential than that.
And the voice reminds me that I’m nearly twenty-three. I have a job, a flat, I pay my bills, and I put food on the table. Perhaps it’s time to become a full adult and put away this last childish fantasy.
There I was, sitting at my desk, the page open in front of me, wondering which way to go. Am I to sign up for this crazy, potentially time-wasting program and indulge a somewhat solitary, not terribly useful hobby, or am I to put down my pen, grow up like I ought to, and stop wasting what potential I still have left?
So that’s what happened to January.
To be continued.