If an author isn’t writing stories, here’s why

They’re writing them in their head.

When people speak of writer’s block, most tend to assume the mind draws a blank in terms of creativity, leading to little physical output. And while that does happen with me every now and then, the real reason why I’m not a more prolific writer is because I’m too busy inventing narratives in my head and listening to inner chatter. And boy, has that been exhausting.

Since Beyond Belzerac was published, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hit with a tidal wave of self-doubt. Somewhere along the way I lost sight of the why behind it all, and wasn’t so sure that if I kept writing it’d be for the right reasons. My headspace was so jumbled with thoughts and feelings—and extrapolations about those thoughts and feelings—I couldn’t Marie Kondo my way out of the clutter.

What I experienced on the inside showed on the outside, too. At events, I did not carry with me the same level of confidence I had after Tea in Pajamas. If I was onstage or in a classroom, I’d wonder what I was doing there or why anybody should care. I couldn’t look at my books. I couldn’t blog or write in a physical journal. I felt paralyzed in some sort of ridiculous existential crisis.

Needing a distraction, I threw myself into work. I sought to transition back into full-time employment, to be more present for the kids, to take better care of home matters and personal admin—all that day-to-day stuff. Writing would beckon eventually. When it’s time, I’ll know it’s time, I said to myself.

Well is it time? I don’t know, maybe. I’m blogging for a start since my last entry in March. That has to be a new record for the longest dry spell on this site—at one point, I even considered shutting it down completely so I wouldn’t be paying maintenance fees for nothing. Fact is, the stress from not putting out any fresh content was also becoming a source of anxiety in itself.

In the past whenever people asked me, “Why do you write?”, I’d answer, “Why not?”, believing in all my hubris that I had something good to offer the world. Several years on, I wonder whether I’ve lost my why or if it no longer exists.

But since I’m the writer of my thoughts and feelings (about my thoughts and feelings), I also get to decide how this dark night of the soul ends. As I sit here blogging on Christmas eve, with the new year a matter of days away, this much is clear to me. I want to go into 2020 with a braver and freer mind.

And I wish everyone else only the same.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

xx

Rachel

Top image via Pinterest.