Today I wrote new fiction for the first time in over a month (I do not include blogging, which was entirely about books read recently). It wasn’t much, just a few extra paragraphs in a completed short-story which needed some fleshing-out in certain sections. But it was all new, and it felt good.
I didn’t mean to take a break from writing over the holidays, and I certainly didn’t mean to let it go on for this long. I have a myriad of projects, some unfinished, some un-begun, some merely awaiting final polish. But somehow, I couldn’t muster enthusiasm for ANY of them recently, and even the thought of sitting down to write was profoundly unappealing. Naturally, this fuelled my perennial sense of being a writing impostor. If I was really meant to be a writer, wouldn’t I be writing? Aren’t I a fraud to call myself a writer despite not feeling that insatiable need so many others talk about?
Of course, this is all a bit harsh, but that’s the way of the writer-brain sometimes. In this case, I apparently desperately needed that small break, and eventually gave myself mental permission for it. During that month, my subconscious was evidently working over-time at various plot problems and untangling knots. At the beginning of this week, it finally presented the solutions to me, tied up in tidy bows, and I found I actually did want to write after all. In fact, my brain wouldn’t let me turn to any other projects, either writing or reading, until I had unburdened it properly today.
I didn’t write enough, and I need to get back into some self-discipline, but the break seems to have been just the thing I needed to re-kindle my enthusiasm. The break may have been unintended, but it was just my writer-brain telling me to chill out for a bit. If I wasn’t a “real” writer, the break would have simply stretched out indefinitely until I admitted I had quit. The fact that I sat down to write today, despite various attempts at procrastination, means perhaps I’m meant to be a writer after all.
Writers write, but everyone is allowed a vacation now and then. Even if sometimes it feels like we don’t yet deserve one.