Monday, October 22, 2012

It's My Writerversary!

Because nothing says CELEBRATE like water ballet.

It’s my 4th writing anniversary! Yay, me!

It was four years ago that I returned to writing for, like, real after a five-year hiatus that was brought on by discouragement, confusion, and chronic, kid-related exhaustion.

But, really, I guess you could say that four years ago, I unquit after quitting writing.

You’d think by now I’d have blathered on about this at great length, but I sent my intern roaming through my blog post files and, nope, turns out I haven’t talked much about unquitting other than in my very first blog post.

The short story is this: I wrote and wrote and wrote my little heart out for about three years after getting my MFA and then, after receiving a certain, still-painful-after-all-these years rejection, I thought, I’m just not getting this. I’m not. As much as I’m struggling and trying, I obviously haven’t got IT. I’m done.

Seeing as this realization coincided with the birth of child #2 (aka, Screamy Colicky Monster Baby*), it wasn’t difficult to enact the resolution to stop writing. Actually, I don’t know that I even thought at the time, “That’s it, I’m quitting forever.” I doubt my ego would have tolerated the idea of quitting for good, but definitely during those five years of not writing, I came to believe that writing had perhaps been a youthful folly. Maybe something I’d grown out of and now looked back upon in What was I thinking? horror, sort of like a high school hair-do that might have been very high and very wide and very teased.

But four years ago, it became clear to me that I couldn’t stay away, and I decided to do three simple things:

1)      Write what I love;
2)      Figure out how to improve with every project;
3)      Never give up.

Oh, yes, I said they were simple. But simple is not the same as easy. I mean, running a marathon is simple: You just run 26.2 miles and then stop. The simple but hard items are definitely items two and three above, because they require the acceptance of criticism. I don’t know about you, but I want to accept criticism like I want to pull out my own molars with a dirty plumber’s wrench. But it must be done or else you risk turning into a defensive writing jerk who others quickly tire of. 

So for sticking to my goals and retaining my joy while pursuing them (though not always at the same time), I think my writerversary is worth celebrating.

Now the question is how can I mark this most solemn occasion? Should I:

1)      engage in the usual pants-less, three-day binge of circus peanuts and Chivas in Reno;
2)      release a thousand paper lanterns with inspirational messages designed to encourage writers to follow their dreams;
3)      carry on much as I have been, quietly pleased with my steady progress.

I’m pretty sure which option I’m going to go with, mostly because No.1 is way too hard on the liver, and No. 2 requires a level of earnestness I do not believe I’m capable of.

Have you ever taken a break from writing? How long? Was it planned or did life just get in the way? What brought you back again?

*If you have a colicky baby, take heart! They do grow out of it.