2021 has been a bruiser of a year so far. An uneven canter through ridge-and-furrow fields of deep loses of confidence mixed with occasional highs of self-determination. I’ve been dropped by my publisher, accused of drawing on racist tropes, pushed my own self-promotion to new heights in approaching a house previously thought unapproachable and resolved to self-publish the culmination of my Antarctic trilogy. I’ve also left one writing group and joined another, only to become overwhelmed by the quality and personalities on display and withdraw back into my shell.
In the middle of this I also received beta-feedback on Our Kind of Bastard and started an entirely new novel.
Now circumstances have forced me to take a break and I am seeing this, for the first time, for what it is: exhausting.
I am always trying to push myself. I am a driven person, though you might not know it by looking at me, and I am always determined to do more and do better. I’m driven by fears of failure and of not achieving, and, though my conscious mind can tell me that I’m being silly, I still feel the lash of passing time and my inability to scale any given mountain.
This is all foolish. I am too often unkind to myself. And I’m beginning to realise that this year so far has been hard and I would benefit from just settling down a little.
I’m not given to holidays, or time off. But I have to take some time away from creative writing to do some editing, and I need to reconnect with the world of front-line paid employment. This may turn out to be a blessing. I’ve paused my new novel, uncoupled my anxiety from the feedback-express of writing groups and beta-readers. Because I was on the cusp of making myself miserable, making myself sick.
To quote REM:
You’re coming onto something so fast, so numb
That you can’t even feel
I should have been a lyricist. Lyrics are what I do best. Much better than I am at this prose malarky.
Have a great day, folks. You, at least, are in all things wonderful. Remember to be kind to yourselves, because you deserve it.