Well. The last few years have been… interesting.
I haven’t been consistent here since Jan 2019. I haven’t been a WRITER (in my own eyes) since before then. This is clear from my weekly posts dropping down to 18 in 2019, and only 8 this year.
But I am a Reinventor by nature: I craft my life, created my identity, and follow my inner fire. And at my heart, I’m still a writer underneath it all. But I had, at least in my actions and my thoughts, given up on this piece of myself.
Unbecoming a Writer
I have 16 novels.
To just give you the context, of those 16, 13 are “complete” drafts. Of those 16, 10 are “viable” for the future. Interestingly, the 3 unfinished are in that viable category, alongside my trilogy (all 3 books are completed drafts but need edits), and 4 stand-alone stories.
Aside from those ‘challenge’ NaNoWriMo projects I do not plan to continue working on (i.e. they were dead by the end or I never planned to revisit them), the last long-term creative writing projects I worked on out of joy and the pull to write… were in 2016. Looking at my annual writing stats, I fell off the wagon by the end of 2017.
I began Skeletal in 2016. It’s only 10k done. I wrote the final book of my trilogy in November 2016. I then wrote and had published two short stories in anthologies.
And then aside from the odd moment I picked up The Felled Gods (first drafted in 2014) because I sent it to a beta reader who was interested.
A summary of my annual wordcounts:
2009 50,138 2010 55,300
2011 50,131 2012 80,052
2013 81,210 2014 150,263
2015 104,912 2016 90,244
2017 100,002 2018 62,001
2019 51173 My 11 yr total: 875,426
I had planned not to do NaNo this year. It would be my 11th year. The last 4 years have left me with 50,000 words of rubbish I’ve hated by the end. I’ve felt good about “ticking the box” but I’m not Being a Writer in them.
I haven’t been a writer in so long.
And yet, somewhere at the end of November 2020 I felt the spark to want to work on stories again. I’ve taken a couple of weeks off between day-job transitions and (thanks to my life coach for stopping me from throwing myself into DO ALL THE THINGS) am taking my own damn advice.
The Importance of Reflection
I started my self-development business as a baby idea in 2017 while burnt out and depressed. In hindsight, this took the place of my writing time, of my creativity outlet, and although I love the work and am still working on things (having reinvented it to work for me and be clearer for those seeking support), it’s the first week of December and I’m feeling the GAP in my path.
If you’ve known me a while, or follow me on the biz side, you know I identify one of the massive issues with self help is Not Pausing to Reflect.
Like I’ve apparently not truly done for 5 years, hah.
I’d love to say I took my own worksheets, realised the block, worked through it in my planner and decided to become a writer again. That’s what the reinvention teacher part of me wants to say happened. That this was obvious and simple and I just fixed the problem.
In reality, I had to force myself to finish reading a fiction book (my 3rd fiction book in 2 damn years: again, really might have noticed the signs of writerly-avoidance if I’d paid attention but hindsight is grand and all that) and then spent 4 damn hours crying on the sofa as I grieved for the part of my identity that I no longer share.
Thankfully, she’s still here, and just making the decision to let her write again (without any steps beyond that) has reignited the fire in me in a matter of days.
So for December my current plan is to just let myself write and read, whenever and whatever. I want to explore how just making that decision impacted my wellbeing and sense of identity, even before I opened up my manuscript and story binder.
Because my biggest reinvention story was in shaping my life as a writer.
Want to watch my journey as I reintegrate writing into my life? Here are the best places to connect with me:
I worked full-time the whole way through all lockdowns so this is my first 10-days-off-in-a-row since my honeymoon in 2016.
But I’m aware a lot of people have had time-off this year with the pandemic: