It's Time to Pursue Joy
Updated: Jan 16, 2022
2020 was a crazy year of learning and growth. Biggest of all being that three days after launching my cover rebrand for STARCHASER in July, with all these big plans for what the future would look like, I took a pregnancy test on a whim and BOOM, two pink lines!. BIG UNEXPECTED SHOCKER! But the more I settled into the notion, the less destabilized life felt. In fact, the new normal of life with JD just makes sense. And in it, shockingly, I found my way back to myself.
I don't find my personal identity as a wife or mother. I don't find it as a writer, either. I find my identity in who God made me to be, which is a blend of all those things and so much more. In that way, I feel like 2020 led me on a whirlwind journey of self-appraisal; once I settled into the shock of knowing I'd be a mother, I had to ask myself "What do I do now?"
As usual, I searched myself out through writing. At one point, I was doing FOUR WRITING PROJECTS at once. Literally four different things every day! Drafting my WIP at the time, FAIREST, editing TCotB (an old 2019 project), doing client edits AND proofreading NIGHTWING. Surprisingly, that hectic, crammed schedule made me feel strangely alive. It was answering some kind of question, because as time went on certain things started to not fit anymore.
I quietly closed TCotB Book 2, ready to continue editing at some later date. And as I set FAIREST, half-completed and not once sparking true joy within me, back on its shelf, I wondered if that was what traditional authors felt like when their manuscripts faced rejection. Except no one was rejecting those projects but me. PATH, PRIDE, FELLOWS, VOID, ORACLE, and now FAIREST...all stories I started in 2020, all stories that went back on the shelf.
Was there something wrong with those books? Was there something wrong with ME?
I'm so thankful for all three of my amazing CPs, who talked me through this with a firm "No, you aren't broken, and no, those stories aren't bad." What I came out realize on the other side is there are some seasons that are for creating new things and seasons that are for resting. Years like 2017-2018 where I wrote several130k+ novels; years like 2019 where I only managed one new trilogy. And years like 2020 where I wrote only one new novel - and deleted it two months later.
2020 was a unique year for me. If you read my previous blog post, "I Deleted My Manuscript - And I'm Not Sorry", or follow me on Instagram, you know why. There were extenuating circumstances within my mental, spiritual, and emotional life that made it a bit of a bum year for me with creating new worlds. But the truth is, especially last year, we all had extenuating circumstances. If it felt like the year of false starts and failures, if you're still struggling even in 2021, don't be unkind to yourself.
This may be the time of resting. The time you reread and rework that book you drafted in 2015 when you were younger and more carefree and the world wasn't so overwhelming. Maybe you're moving housing or adding to your family or losing part of it and you just need to breathe, not to try and "keep up" with someone or even MANY someones who have shiny new projects to pursue.
Maybe you just need to cast off that cloak of expectation and write the silly, strange thing you WANT to write that is never going anywhere but it just feels like home. I'm here to tell you to DO IT. Write that modern-world AU of your fantasy cast. Write that sequel no one is ever going to read. Write that coffeeshop meetcute between your MCs because YOU miss coffee shops and you need to live vicariously through them.
Or draft the new thing. Go to the new world. Seek out the new adventure. Whatever you do, whatever you're writing, just write it for the right reasons: not to keep up, not to prove your productivity, but because it's the story you need to hear right now.
Pursue the thing that brings you joy in writing. Trust me. This is the time for it.