I published nothing last year and I have yet to publish anything this year.
A few years back, this would have freaked me out. The sky would have been falling in chunks. That I wasn’t writing something, ANYTHING would have been a crime. A means of punishment because I couldn’t imagine not being published once I finally overcame the obstacles on my path to getting that very first credit.
But a few things happened. I dropped my agent. Got picked up by a new one. I went on query right when a goddamn pandemic reared its head and sent us all into a fucking spiral of insanity that continues.
I got a little more perspective.
A lesson I learned from pandemic is to shed the fear of doing the things I want. That isn’t to say that I’m going to speed run life, in fact, it’s the opposite. I realized a lot of my short writing and need to publish were entirely rooted in the very real fear of focusing my efforts on long form – an obviously longer game. I was horrified of that wait. Of not filling the space with validation because if that validation disappeared, then I wasn’t worth anything as a writer.
Which was bullshit.
I’m a good writer. I’m trying to be a great writer. I’m doing the extra stupid thing to achieve that on my terms, without sacrificing my voice or my identity in order to get to where I want to be. The problem is that takes time. My speed doesn’t help (I’m sitting on four books as of right now and started outlining a fifth), but I’m learning to deal with the silence; to allow myself to disappear because I’m doing the work.
At first, I was worried that lack of me would hurt me – especially when it came to networking. Thankfully, pandemic alleviated some of those concerns, but now we’re pretending things are over and here comes all the events that a person has to participate in to be taken seriously. While I miss the folks I’ve forged meaningful relationships with, I also don’t miss the infinite internal eye rolling that comes with a lot of these events. I’m not unique in this, especially among writers, but I ain’t a joiner.
So, the silence has become a lot more attractive. I like putting my head down and putting in the work. I won’t lie, I do miss writing short fiction, but looking at the state of things, I don’t see a place for me in that world at the time. I’m proud of what’s come before, but all this time I know I’ve grown as a writer and I’m so very excited to show folks what’s coming.