There was a point in my writing where I was madly in love with it. I could write all day if I was allowed. Sometimes I did, and my fingers would bruise and cramp and rebel. Still I would write. I just couldn't get enough. I knew this was what I wanted to do forever.
Well, that phase is over, quite frankly.
It came as quite a shock, when the intensity of my passion began to wane. I felt like I'd lost something. I wondered if I'd ever get it back. I doubted my choice—was this really what I wanted to do? Am I even good at it?
Before it didn't matter if I was good or not. I loved it and that was enough. But suddenly it was...hard. I didn't love it like I used to. I questioned everything—my ideas, my style, my skill, my talent, etc. And all the questioning made it even harder. I was paralyzed. Just looking at a Word document made me ill. I had gotten in so deep and accomplished a lot, and yet at the same time I felt like I'd gotten nowhere.
It was a scary time for me. Some of my closest friends know just how bad it got. I honestly, truly considered walking away. It was the only time on this journey when it just didn't seem worth it anymore. I was tearing myself apart, and I didn't think I had any more to give.
This was March. And I'm telling you this so you know that it's not all roses after you get an agent. Not to say I'm ungrateful or unaware of how amazing having an agent is—because it's truly a wonderful thing I'm still trying to believe is real—I'm just saying this doubt and fear can hit any writer at any time.
Sometimes our own inner struggles are the hardest to defeat.
I tried to hide it, but I think it was probably obvious to anyone who knew me even just a little. Part of me was broken, and I didn't know how to fix it. I was beyond burned out, overwhelmed, and just plain done.
I felt like a failure for not being emotionally strong enough to handle things. I knew I was overreacting, and yet I couldn't seem to stop myself from thinking it was the end of my little world.
So I walked away from my writing. I closed down Word, put away all my notebooks, and told myself I wasn't going to do this if it turned me into this awful ball of mess I was.
I played Warcraft. I planted flowers and herbs and a beautiful Japanese Maple. I cooked. And cleaned a little. I talked with friends. I exercised. I did some soul searching.
I didn't read. Or write. Or take notes. I didn't even critique others' work because I couldn't bring the icky stuff inside me to their words. The only thing I did was think about writing, and even that I tried to do as little as possible.
During all this doing and not doing, I realized something. My love for writing hadn't disappeared—it had changed. I have changed.
It's not passion and obsession and fire anymore, but it's still there, like a dear old friend I can't imagine my life without. I knew deep down I still wanted to write; I just had to believe in my love for it. Even if that love has become quieter outwardly, it's grown deeper and stronger inwardly. I don't have to prove it with crazy writing mania anymore. I know it.
I remember once hearing a story about Mother Teresa, how she was overcome with inspiration that told her to serve. It was so intense and strong that she gave up everything to serve others.
Then she never felt that intense inspiration again. Yet she continued her mission. She never stopped serving.
Sometimes I wonder how I would have reacted in her shoes. I wonder if I would have been angry that God never visited me again. Or maybe I would have questioned that one moment of inspiration, convinced myself it wasn't real. All I know is that I wouldn't have been that strong, that's for sure.
But that story always helps me remember that you don't have to feel passionate every moment to keep going forward. A good thing never stops being good.
So I'm still here, and I'm not going anywhere no matter how hard my relationship with writing gets. We've grown too much together to stop now.