Back in January I made the decision to stop writing. I gave up; retired. It was a relief. Writing (or failing to get my novel what I wanted it to be) had begun to make me really unhappy.
I thought about why I’d begun writing a novel in the first place. It was something I’d always wanted to do but like so many people, I only talked and thought about doing it. Then one day, I stumbled across a blog that invited anyone writing a novel to join a race for support and camaraderie. It wasn’t easy but it made me happier than unhappy.
I have a not-so-secret confession which people rarely believe - I don’t have any burning desire to publish. I wanted to write the best book I could just for the sake of it. There’s something about the process of writing (and making art or craft, come to that) that does it for me. And having to turn my creation out for anyone’s scrutiny (publication or exhibition) brings me out in hives.
And so I did write a novel: 107,000 words of story, a beginning, a middle and an end. Most people spend their lives saying they want to and never do it. I did it and I should be proud of that.
Over the five years that I’ve been writing I’ve had breaks from it; periods of laziness or frustration and even though I’ve longed to give up, I haven’t been able to stop; not completely anyway. There has always been something inside that I identified as a need to write. However miserable it made me I had to continue to do it.
Two months ago, for the first time in four or five years, I felt as though I had a choice. I don’t know what had changed, except perhaps that the unhappiness outweighed the pleasure and I felt as though I’d been released from something and that I could stop writing. It was liberating. There was some grief too but mostly there was relief.
I began to attend jewellery-making classes instead. I feel that making uses a totally different part of my brain from writing (although maybe it doesn’t or shouldn’t) but when I draw or make I go to a place where nothing intrudes. I struggled to find that place in writing… I’m going to come back and tell you about the jewellery course tomorrow but here’s the funny thing:
I have begun to think about my next writing project.