I tell people I’ve been writing forever, which is pretty much the truth. My first stories were written with those extra-large pencils that were supposed to be easier for lefties like me to grip. I was an early reader, and my love of books developed before I ever even went to kindergarten.
Our local newspaper printed some old “letters to Santa” last year, and my first grade Santa letter was one of them—I asked for a new lamp (to read by) and books.
So it only seemed natural for me to grow up wanting to be an author.
Even in high school and college, I almost always had a story in progress. And a few years ago, when I decided to “get serious” about writing, I still came to my computer each day with the joy that writing brought me.
But as the years passed, that began to change. Somewhere along the path of my becoming a published author, I lost the joy.
Those early books were written with a happy heart. The last couple of books…not so much. Instead of a joy, writing began to feel like a burden.
So I stopped. I walked away. I let my laptop gather dust.
I gardened. I watched movies. I dated and fell in love with the man who is now my husband. I started renovating a house. I threw myself into my day job. I took vacation time and instead of using it to frantically finish a book that was due, I just relaxed on the beach or in the backyard.
At first, I didn’t miss writing. I felt free. There were no deadlines hanging over my head. No book releases to prep for. At the end of my work day, I was done. There were no word quotas I had to meet before I could go to bed or bad reviews to get upset about.
But slowly…something started to change. I began to read again just for the pure love of reading. And the more I read, the more I missed writing.
Until I finally confessed to my husband. “I miss it. I miss writing. I miss creating worlds and characters and plots. I miss it in a big way.”
He’s never known me on a deadline. He doesn’t know how grouchy I get over a plot that isn’t working, or a character that feels cardboard. He hasn’t seen how bare the fridge gets when I’m immersed in a story. Or how very messy the house can be when all I can focus on is the perfect ending to a chapter.
Even after my warnings, he still encouraged me. “If writing will make you happy, then do it. We’ll find a way. I’ll do laundry or dishes. I’ll cook if I need to…”
And with that conversation, I decided to get back in the saddle.
For the past several weeks I’ve been plotting a new series. My husband will walk into the room and find me staring into space. I’ve warned him about this habit. “Are you creating a world?” he’ll ask.
I’ll just nod. Creating a world for my fictional characters to live in is one of my favorite things to do. Before long, I’ll have different color post it notes all over the office wall, as my plotting gets more detailed.
I’m happy to say that I’ve found the joy in writing again. Maybe I just needed a break. Or maybe I needed time away to gain some perspective. Either way, I’m happy to be back. Happy to be reunited with my fictional characters and happy to have my fingers on the keyboard again.