I’ve been away for a while. Longer than any other break I took last year, and it was both intentional and unintentional.
I got too busy to write, too scattered and too burnt out. Not a thing an actual writer would or should say, but it's the truth. I wanted to reconfigure some things and couldn’t come up with a plan that I was happy with. Another job that I started required a lot more brainpower than I expected. Decided I should give it a rest for a little bit. Maybe the energy will come back. Give yourself time to recharge.
A friend told me recently that he’d encountered a lot of the same feelings - around January and the turn of the New Year felt like the fear, anxiety, and fatigue over the pandemic reflected some of the feelings in the beginning. And the fear that we’d been through now a year of it, that we’d never come out of it, permeated into everything anyone tried to do.
It was a heaviness, under the currents of our lives, of mine. Struggling to get back to work, whatever that was, hyper-focusing on the work that I did have, to make things chug along like normal. Doing whatever we could to maintain the new normal we had. Even as the light was growing at the end of the tunnel, as the curve started to flatten and vaccines started to go out, it felt like an endless loop of drastic shutdowns and too early reopening. Rising and falling cases and mask protests.
And then there was the insurrection attempt at the Capital and the inability to find anyone responsible and accountable by our Congress. Liverpool’s season taking a nosedive and the women’s team manager, Vicky Jepson, losing her job.
The light at the end of the tunnel got bigger, got closer. I got vaccinated in March. I was able to see my mom and my sister for the first time in two years - and I promptly sobbed into my mom’s arms when she picked me up from the airport.
I was able to see my sister get engaged, to be there to celebrate with her in a place neither of us had ever experienced.
Liverpool beat the odds and secured a place in next year’s Champions League - after the owners walked back a shambolic decision to found a “European Super League.”
To be honest, there’s been a lot in the past year that has made it hard to be a sports fan, and even a Liverpool fan. How do you write a blog about being a sports fan when there’s a deep disappointment rooting through that fandom? Jessica Luther and Kavitha Davidson wrote a book about that feeling that’s on my (unfortunately very long) TBR list. What to do when the sports don’t love you back. Something even I asked when the Astros cheating scandal came out, and still haven’t really been able to answer for myself.
Then the doubt started to creep in. I didn’t like what I had been writing before, I felt like I was pigeonholing myself into this critical space or even trying too hard to write blog posts that were popular but not for reasons that felt true to me. Writing felt negative to me, and it’s been the thing that I’ve always prided myself on - that I could do, and well, and loved the most.
Just a rut. Spinning my wheels in a dirt path, even as I turned the steering to a new direction, didn’t seem to go anywhere. Dirt turned to mud, wheels sunk in.
Eventually ran out of gas.
I don’t know if I have more gas now, honestly. I wanted to have this post written for the one year birthday of the blog, but that came and went and I was still underwater with work, still swimming in a way that didn’t save energy for writing. Even as I’ve been thinking about other projects - I want to write a book this year somehow - I wanted to come back here, to this space. To make this the space I wanted it to be (even if maybe I still don’t know what that is).
Even talking about the doubts feels… not right. It feels like an excuse but how much of an excuse can it be when you sit down to an open laptop and think “no one wants to read what I write anyway, what’s the point.”
Which isn’t true. I know it isn’t true. I had friends and loved ones talk to me about writing my blog again in the break, encouraging me to post again, that they wanted to see it. This is not a humble brag, because I didn’t do it. I still didn’t do it, until now. It’s been a month since I saw friends at the last match of the season, tell me how much they actually missed my blog.
Took me a month to even get to a second page of my Word document for this blog post. A month to get to over 800 words.
I’ve been reading a lot more in that space, though. In these six months I’ve finished ten books, and am currently working on three more - two are audiobooks, to be fair. I’ve decided to write my own book, to trying get the first draft done this year, even if it’s a genre I’m unfamiliar with (at the moment - part of the ten books and counting I’m doing this year).
I don’t know what’s going to happen with #FictionFridays. I don’t know if it was a popular feature, I don’t know how to keep it up. So it’s taking a break - maybe once a month to write about what I’ve read so far. Maybe I’ll keep my own fiction to myself for now.
I want to move to a once a week model. 3 posts a week was ambitious, and I maintained it as much as I could, but maybe that’s what led to burnout too. So we’re cutting down - Mondays and Wednesdays, with a once a month Friday. Honestly, its all I can maintain, and this gives me the chance to be able to write on the one day a week I feel like I have to energy to do it.
Writing is what I want to do with my life. I’ve always said it, felt it, even when I’ve been full of fears and doubts and insecurities. Even when I don’t trust myself and my voice, don’t believe in it, and it feels cliche to say “you just have to go through it.”
Sometimes you have to wait. You have to recharge, refuel, rejuvenate.
And hope that once you come back, you don’t use yourself up again.