Fuelled by many adventures in London, in 2015 I had the idea for a novel that I couldn’t wait to write. A culmination of old ideas I’d had and characters from stories that didn’t go anywhere, I suddenly had an idea that excited me. I took another trip to London to explore the main parts of the city where my story would unravel and I began to write.
Then, at the start of 2016, after struggling for a few years with extreme headaches and other symptoms I was diagnosed with incurable Chronic Migraines. The constant pain along with the crushing devastation at my diagnosis pulled me away from myself. I stopped writing and I withdrew from a lot of things. After a year of medication trials that bred more issues (anxiety, joint pain, insomnia) I decided to quit looking for help in drugs and try managing it myself. It’s still a long journey, the pain is still very much real, but I am me again. And by earlier this year I was ready to get back to the novel I’d begun.
Here, I’d like to share with you the 5 main things I learned in a year of not writing; the longest I’d ever gone without putting pen to page.
1. You miss it
It may seem obvious, but even with everything else that was going on I missed it. It was a big year for me. I battled my illness, came to terms with it, moved in with my boyfriend, learnt to drive and began studying for a degree all while working full time. I was busy all the time, but I always had time to miss writing. Despite how much I thought about it, I couldn’t get back into it. I was so far removed from it, which is why next week I’m going to tell you how I got back into writing after all that time. Watch this space!
2. Your characters never leave you
In everything I did, everywhere I went, everyone I saw; there were my characters. I still, unintentionally, wondered what they’d do in certain situations, thought of conversations they’d have, imagined how their stories would end. It was a huge comfort, to know that even though I’d abandoned them, they hadn’t abandoned me. Which leads me on to the next point…
3. The guilt you feel is unbearable
When you’re writing a story you don’t owe anything to anyone (unless you’re a published author with a deadline!) but yourself. No-one cares if you’re writing or not, no-one is waiting for your story, no-one will mind if you don’t finish it. But you care and every time you think of your neglected story and your failed ambition the guilt burns through your heart. As horrible as it is, I think it’s a good thing. If you care that much then chances are you’ll find your way back. You’ll rescue it and in turn you’ll rescue yourself.
4. Every book you read inspires you
Initially, like my writing, my reading suffered too. But it didn’t take me half as long to get back to it as writing did. I picked up books of many different genres, but they all made me want to get back to my story. If I read a story with beautiful prose then I wanted to start writing beautiful descriptions of my own. When I read a mystery I wanted to get back to mine, to plan my twists and turns. Even though I was too uninspired and unmotivated to actually do any writing, I still thought of my story every time I read a book.
5. Getting back to it is tough
I’ve recently started getting back into it, and it’s damn hard. When you don’t write for so long, if you decide to go back to it with a story you already started it’s so difficult to know where to pick up. Do you go straight back to where you left off? Do you start it again from the beginning? Just let me tell you one thing; it’s tough, but it’s possible. It’s so possible!
Next week I will post my 5 tips for getting back into writing, so please check back for some important advice that has seen me back to where I was in 2015; inspired, motivated and excited!
In the mean time;