I was ready to give up on writing last week. I even thought about writing a farewell post and deactivating my Substack.
It’s been a month since I published my last essay, A Portrait of Bode. I tend to write heavy emotional pieces, and this essay, about my dog who recently passed, drained my creative energy. Every time I sat down to write since then, nothing would come. I couldn’t even bring myself to paint.
One week went by without writing. Then two. I started feeling guilty. The more guilt I felt week after week, the less I wanted to write. Eventually I felt like a failure, so I stopped showing up to write all together.
Instead, I spent my evenings binge-watching the Expanse, a political sci-fi series where the human race expanded to colonize Mars and the outer planets in our solar system. A cold war between the people on Earth, Mars, and the outer planets (aka “the Belt”) delicately hangs on by a thread, while a scrappy team of 4 asteroid miners find themselves eradicating an unpredictable extraterrestrial technology that threatens the existence of everyone in the universe! (This show is actually based on a book series by James S. A. Corey that I now want to read.)
I drowned my guilt by consuming this epic space opera. Day after day, the pressure to write gently floated away. My mind relaxed.
Suddenly, I missed writing.
The last few weeks taught me that taking breaks in my writing isn’t just inevitable, it’s healthy. Space away from the practice gave me perspective on what I should be doing next. The weekly cadence I was so hung up on was an artifact from my sabbatical. It came from a good place, but my situation is completely different.
For the first time in my life I’m actually creatively satisfied in my day job. I’m still excited to continue my writing practice, but I don’t need to beat myself up if I miss a week, or two…or three.
If you ever find yourself in an unexpected break from your creative practice, see it as an opportunity to restart.
Embrace the break.
Lead with Light, Let Fear Follow
If you’re looking to return to your creative practice after taking a break, but feeling a lil scared because its been a while, check out my dear friend Sandra's essay Lead with Light, Let Fear Follow.
She shares how she confronts her fear of judgment every time she publishes her writing. Her beautiful writing and insight in this piece motivated me to publish this essay, and I hope she inspires you to share your work with others! Check it out and let me know what you think: