I haven't written in a while.
I always considered that the most important part of my identity. I always tell the stories. I am the One Who Does Words Good. But ever since I came back the words just weren't coming.
Now the words are back, and they gave me a message. Before, when I was writing, it was tinged with desperation. I was in a job I hated, just another meaningless office peon. So writing was an escape, and more than mentally. I had convinced myself if I could write enough and well enough I could get out, make that my job instead. Yes, it would be hard. But at least I wouldn't hate every morning, and dread waking up to another day. It was a spiritually draining and mentally soul-sucking as could be, and I was fighting against becoming just another empty husk with no ambition but getting that few cents raise or an empty promotion to get more work with no additional pay (but damn that title would look good on a resume when I would look for ANOTHER empty office nobody job). I wrote to survive, because I was convinced my job was killing me. My brain went to the Dark Place a lot in those days. Half my brain would tell myself I was just being dramatic when I worried about the other half telling me that maybe hanging myself to get out of work was a reasonable plan.
Then I got fired from the job I hated, and wrote even more. I had more time, and damn did I have motivation. Unemployment was enough to eat, plus what little I'd saved, but it wouldn't last forever. A few sold stories, if I could manage them, would mean a few extra weeks of being able to eat. But no stories were bought. They were all good, they all got good feedback, even personalized rejections, but never were enough to get bought.
Then I was hired at Gold's Gym. I was still writing, but less. I was just as busy, but I was also so much happier. Sure, they pay wasn't nearly as high as my office nobody job, but it was pay, enough to survive but not enough to save. But most importantly I no longer dreaded waking up. in fact I looked forward to it, wondering what cool people I'd get to talk to at work that day or what neat thing I'd get to work on between cleaning the GoldsFit room and the Spin room, or scrubbing the walls, or cleaning the mirrors. Racking the weights was my favorite, it was almost like a mini-workout on the clock. The increasing wave of Trump Fascism would still drive me to the Dark Place from time to time but that was a thing with a root cause. Between the new awesome job, RTX 2016 and my move back to Boston where I got another, even better job I basically stopped writing, and only now, after becoming settled in my new job and having my life upheaved by helping to get a new business off the ground, have I started again.
But now it's different. I smell the desperation in the old pages. I can see the keystrokes that were changed because "no publisher would buy that" or "think of the market" or "the Saga-translation like style isn't something people buy" or "this is good but we're not buying that kind of story." But now I don't have to write to survive.
"I'm not doing this for the reward.
I'm not doing this because someone told me to.
I'm doing this... for me."
Now my writing is mine, the things I want to write because I want to write them. I don't care if other people might find it cheesy or unmarketable, or if they'd find the style too archaic or obtuse. I am doing this for me.
And damn does it feel good to be back.