There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.
~Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)
It’s been 363 days since I posted. More than once over the past several months, I’ve wondered if I should discontinue this blog altogether. From July 2021 until November 2022, I didn’t write or edit any fiction. I can’t tell you how many papers, discussion posts, and lesson plans I wrote, but none of them fed my creativity. While I do journal nightly (mainly to keep my sanity), I’ve never lived through such a dry spell since I could hold a crayon. In November 2021, I knew I wouldn’t be able to participate in NaNoWriMo—there was no way, immersed as I was in the five-course dyslexia practicum that lasted through the following August. And when I finished the grueling practicum, the next course I took required me to read at least one novel per week (more about that in my next post). I raced to the finish line, completing my Master of Education in Reading Education a semester earlier than I’d ever hoped, but I was white-knuckling it that last year just to get done. Finally, I feel like I can breathe again, like I can choose to do—or not do—things because I want to.
On November first, still finishing my last course, I had the vague idea that I might be able to squeak in some National Novel Writing Month participation. I opened the story I’d last worked on 16 months previously. I had started it in March of 2021 and written nearly 114,000 words before life intervened and I had to set it aside. And to be honest, I’d reached a point in my writing where I needed to step back, anyway. I just didn’t think it would be for almost a year-and-a-half. So when I reopened the manuscript, I was more than a little rusty. The plan was to read through the whole thing over again, editing as I went, praying that I would get through what I’d already written quickly enough to start making progress again. Well, forget NaNoWriMo. What with editing as I went, I was lucky to add 500 words in November, almost two months after getting started again, I’m only just over halfway through that manuscript. I have hope that my not-so-trustworthy memory and more dependable notes will be enough to get me back on track. But the heartening thing about all this is that I’ve discovered that I still like to write; there is still something within me that wants to tell a story. So I’m not giving up. I’m just glad that, after surfacing from the necessary mire that was grad school, the impetus to write remains.
Here’s to an end of something—grad school, not this blog!—and a renewal of something that remains important to me, even if it doesn’t pay the bills. I used to hold onto a story idea for months in order to have 50,000 words in my mental tank for NaNoWriMo. Not anymore. That’s not to say that I won’t ever participate in NaNoWriMo again, but it does mean that I will absolutely use the time that I have to write—or build a LEGO typewriter, or whatever. I feel like 2023 will be a great year for rediscovering what I like to do when I have that rare commodity, spare time, and the main thing I like—love—to do is to write.