Long time no see. If you’re reading this, thank you. This will be my life-update where-have-I-been article. If you’re not interested in that sort of thing, come back tomorrow (tomorrow!) for a book review. If you are… stick around.
In July, my work-life upended. I work in tech, and, if you hadn’t heard, things are rough out there in the post-pandemic, war-shaken marketplace. Companies are circling the wagons, and mine was no different. I did not lose my job, exactly… but it was clear that at a time when I was straining against my boundaries and ready for more, my employer was not ready to facilitate that, and, furthermore, would not become ready for the foreseeable future. So, I made the tough call and found a new job.
That period wrecked my reading and writing time. I was worried about my future, about my family. Not only was I devoting the pockets of time previously reserved for literary leisure to job-hunt related activities, I was mentally and emotionally drained of creativity when I did have some time. I tried to come back in September, but fell off the wagon as applying and training intensified.
Things worked out. I found a new job in November, one I can see a real future in. I’ve settled into a routine… which is both good, and bad.
Remember that pandemic thing? It was terrible. Nothing good about it. 0 stars, Do not recommend. Nothing I am about to say should be taken as a callous covid-was-actually-good take. Screw Covid. That clear? Good.
All that said, it is an objective fact that the shift to remote work and the fact that I was experienced in my role meant I had time. Time I wasn’t commuting. Time I wasn’t driving to buy food. Time between tasks. To read and write. It just so happens that my renewed push to read more, and to give this whole writing thing an honest shot came about four months before the world blew up. This creative desire of mine was nurtured in the supportive confines of a flexible schedule. It’s more difficult now.
Once you break a good habit, inertia sets in. The longer you sit, the more difficult it becomes to move. The big interruption is over. My schedule has changed, yes, but only to what it would have been all along in a pandemic-free timeline. It is time to buckle down.
Work wasn’t my only source of creative angst. I have mentioned this before, but I joined a writing group in May of 2022. It was an interesting experiment, one I may write more about later. The work problems killed that for me as well. It felt wrong to attend these meetings without holding up my end. At the same time, I became disillusioned about the novel I worked on over the first 8 months of 2022. In my first two manuscripts, I was able to power through the dreaded Murky Middle. I found my way. This third, now-abandoned project felt different. It just wasn’t working. Rather than trying to force it, I plan to start a new project for ‘23.
A critic could justifiably ask whether it’s worth it. Why bother? From a certain perspective, I’ve put in a lot of work for little measurable return. At the same time… Stories are never far from my mind. The books I’m reading have a way of resurfacing. Unfinished series call. The stories in my head are constantly floating, transforming, and beckoning.
Things have settled down. The bookshelves are calling. The blank page is screaming. It’s time to get back to it.
Thank you for sticking with me. If you’re itching for some reviews, check this space tomorrow. 🙂