Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a published author. Three clear memories come to my mind of defining moments.
As a courtesy, I will just share one for now.
When I was in fifth grade, we were studying explorers. We had the option for a project to either do a straight report on one of the explorers, or to create a sea monster (with some criteria) and write a short story that involved one of the explorers.
I chose the latter, and wrote and illustrated my very first picture book about Sir Francis Drake discovering a sea monster.
While I do not still have this book in my possession (here is hoping my parents do), I remember my fifth grade history teacher coming into my Language Arts class, interrupting, to inform everyone that: “Emily, I knew you would write a good story, but you wrote an actual book! You have to read it aloud.”
I felt so much joy and pride as I got to read it to the class.
This was a big moment for me. Another affirmation that I could do this. Another affirmation that I would do this.
I was going to be a published author.
Writing has always been therapeutic. I can’t say it has always been joyful. There have been times where writing has been solely to help me process and move forward. But it was there for me as needed.
Somewhere along the lines as I got older, writing was work.
(I know this is a gray area, as writing to supply my full time income would be the dream, and that’s what full time authors do.)
I don’t mean that I couldn’t handle deadlines, or I didn’t enjoy writing anymore because of having an agent, or that editing was my enemy and I didn’t want to do it. I mean, somewhere along the way, the words started feeling forced and the love and passion that I always associated with writing… wasn’t there.
This can happen as writers. I’ve written about it before.
In my busy season of life, and the pressure that seemed to come with establishing myself as a writer, and the way my brain was turning from motherhood and all the things… writing became a chore. And when it came down to it and I had to find things to cut from my time so I might reinvest in others, for the first time my writing and all that came with it (blogging, social media, querying, free lancing) met the chopping block.
But not anymore.
After taking a solid break (it had been two years since I truly revisited an idea and four years since I left my agent), I can now say I am more motivated than I have felt in so long.
Doing things for writing doesn’t feel like a chore, but a joy.
I want to make spreadsheets for research and read about different types of publishing and explore ideas that have been taking up notes on my phone storage. I want to connect with other writers and those in the writing community and do the things.
Joy in the details for the writing life.
This is what I mean for chore verses joy.
And of course I’m not always going to want to do all the things. No one does. I mean, there are those of us who love the research. Those of us who hate editing. Those of us who want to write the book and lock it up, never to share it. Those of us who want to write for the masses.
It’s all different for each of us. And that’s beautiful.
And I think one thing about allowing yourself to take space from something is if it’s meant to be, you’re going to go back to it. And if it’s not, odds are you’ll find the next amazing thing you’re meant to do.