Return of the Writer

I like to measure my writing in word counts. I think this comes from years of NaNoWriMo and that 50,000 word goal being part of the foundation of who I am as a writer.

Since December, I’ve written 64,000 words. I don’t share this to brag or anything like this but to marvel at it.

My writing had slowed down immensely over the last five or six years. In 2017, I won NaNo with a little over 50,000 words. Looking back, I did so because my mental health journey was still a little screwy. Saltwater is a pretty good little novel that I look forward to finishing one day.

2015 was the year Pack It In was born. I wrote a little over 30K for that NaNo project. And then Pack sat. And sat. I picked at it here and there. Wrote a short story for a class based on it. Did a workshop with the first few chapters. But, mostly, it languished inside its Scrivener folder on my desktop. A promise to myself that I would return to my werewolf gang novel and figure it out.

But I spent years writing mostly for school. Being a creative writing major will do that. Writing for myself besides half-hearted NaNo attempts disappeared.

I feared for a long time that I wouldn’t return to my writing. That my life, my mental health, had caused me to lose my spark, my interest in something that had been part of my identity for a large portion of my life. I knew this was something many artists went through. I knew it could last just a few years or decades. I tried to reconnect. I picked up The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (which took me over a year to complete the twelve-week course…loosely). I did my best with the short story assignments for each of my workshops. I drank in the compliments and edits like wine.

I can put a finger on a few things that shifted in the last five or six months in particular that contributed to this sudden burst of writing. But that’s not my point. My point is that the writing came back.

Writing for pleasure slipped away for me over my 20s and it has returned with a vengeance.

Sixty-four thousand words.

It’s a combination of a finished Draft Zero and the beginning of Draft One. It’s all werewolf goodness. And I’m loving it.

It’s not always smooth. I struggle with my inner critic. I struggle with comparing my rough work with finished work (here’s looking at you Summer Sons). My characters don’t feel real enough. I self-edit. I worry I’m telling and not showing enough. And on and on.

But I’m writing again. And I am so grateful for that.

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