Or nearly over. This month I had three freelance projects (and I’m knee-deep in a fourth), ten days of houseguests, two special projects at the day job (and I’m knee-deep in a third) . . . and no time for writing. Literally. I think I’ve written maybe a couple thousand words all month, when I often write that in a day.
There comes a point every spring, it seems, when the post-holiday rush of writing and submitting dies down, when the award promo anxiety has come and gone, and this lull settles. It’s sobering. You tally up what you’ve done so far this year and it’s not quite what you thought it was; you’re knee deep in drafts and can only see the problems of each piece; you’ve got stuff sitting for months and the rejections start trickling in and you can’t remember the last time you were accepted anywhere; prior achievements suddenly seem like distant high points you’ll never reach again. To add to that a reminder of what it was like to work full-time+ has only deepened the 2016 lull, as if the universe itself were reminding me to keep my eyes on my own page and focus on what matters.
And what, exactly, matters? That it’s only you and the page. That there’s only this story, this novel, and your job is to write it the best you can, period. That everything else—publication, payment, accolades—is just gravy; it has no bearing on the Work.
I am an anxious, insecure, introverted individual. I constantly check myself against others—where they’re publishing, what they’re writing—and the less confident I feel in my own work, the more I find myself scanning the stories and sales of others.
I know this, and I struggle against this tendency, but clearly I haven’t yet overcome it if it takes robbing me of my creative outlet for a month to remind me of why I actually do this. But universe, I am listening. Perhaps this time it will sink in a little more.