Of all the things I’ve been neglecting lately and pushing back to the deepest, darkest corner of my mind, I think my writing has collected the most dust. I’m not just referring to blogging – though that has started to gather some cobwebs – but rather, to what allows me to call myself a writer.
When I first published Puppet Parade in 2012, I was determined to release at least one book a year. More than two years have passed since then and I have yet to make a dent in that resolution. It’s not that I don’t have ideas or works-in-progress, as it happens I have one completed first draft and two novels in the making… and about a dozen ideas for future novels. The problem is that I lack time.
A writer who doesn’t write could be one of three things – a celebrity who hired a ghost writer to write their book for them; a writer stuck in a rut or a constant state of Writer’s Block; a one-hit wonder; or a workaholic. Now, I assure you I’m not the first. I used to be the second but I got past that. I was never even a wonder in the first place. That means I’m unfortunately the last one… and I’m not happy about it.
I don’t know when is it that I started allowing my work to take over my life, though I do partially understand why – financial security. As a kid money was always tight, I was always self-conscious when hanging out with “rich” friends, I was always looking for cheap alternatives… heck, I only got books as gifts or special treats, or if I’d been saving really long for them. Now that I earn enough money and never worry about making ends meet, I can’t go back to the life I had before. I’m determined not to. But at the same time I realise that I’ve had to make sacrifices in my obsessiveness over security.
Previously I always had time to read, I had time to watch my favourite shows, I was able to go out without pulling an all-nighter the previous day just to make sure all my work was done and I can afford to spend a few hours outside my house guilt-free, I had time for people… and I had time to write. There was a point in time when I could write 50 thousand words a month no problem, and I look back wistfully upon such a time.
Every time I reach out a tentative hand to brush the dust off my writing, I’m pulled back by a new client or a new project. Seeing people talk about their new writing projects or their editing ventures or their upcoming releases occasionally fills me with envy, because I know of the euphoria and excitement associated with these things, but they’re so far away now that I can barely remember what they feel like. I miss my plot bunnies, I miss my characters, and I miss feeling that twinge of pride when I write something that sounds really, really good. I also miss the anticipation of reviews, good or bad, and I miss the feeling of holding my own book between my hands.
And I do want to do something about it. In 2014 (or what remains of it), I hope to edit and publish one novel, and finish writing another. It may not seem like much, but right now that sounds extremely difficult and out of reach. Nevertheless, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and tackle this problem with a feather-duster (or a pen).
Do you allow your work to get in the way of your writing? What was the longest time you’ve spent away from your books? Can any of my readers identify with my situation?