The last time I posted was to share that I was taking a break from being an author. My new non-writing job had taken over an even bigger share of my life and I was struggling to keep up with the book-world. It had become stressful which is ironic, given that the reason I started writing was as a coping mechanism at a tough point in my life.
A few months have passed and I now have a slightly different perspective on the role of writing in my life. You see those light bulbs in the photo? Imagine all of them are on; that’s what my day to day work-life is like. I love my job but it’s mentally and emotionally challenging. The voices in my head are incessant, chattering away about every different decision that has to be made. Keeping those bulbs lit meant I hadn’t got the energy to power the one that represented me as an author. The character’s voices were the only ones I could allow myself to switch off. So, how has this changed?
Over the Christmas break, I allowed myself to open up the Word document of my current work in progress (that’s been in progress for almost eighteen months!) and re-read it. All of a sudden, I was transported back into the world I had created. I stayed at home for a couple of days and wrote, just for the joy of it. And do you know what? Those work voices shut up. For the first time in six months, I could hear myself think about something other than work. It was wonderful.
And that’s when I realised that now, more than ever, I need to write. I need to give my brain a break from the stress of work and the decisions that affect other people’s lives. I need to give myself the time to be creative, to inhabit a space where the decisions I make don’t have consequences for real people in real life.
I’m sure someone would be able to explain the process that means, by switching on that one bulb, the others go off. From my Physics GCSE days, I’m sure there’s a circuit involved in the explanation. But what I do know is that, by switching to that one bulb, the room gets a little darker, more relaxed and the buzz of electricity quiets to a gentle hum. And, although the opportunities are infrequent, I’m determined to grasp them.
I’m writing for me again. And it feels good.