A few years ago, my kids began to notice some changes in my behavior. I was getting up at odd hours and spending lots of time with my computer. I’d talk to myself while preparing dinner. Now and then I’d drift into a daze or scribble frantically in a pocket-sized notebook that was always nearby.
To their intense relief, they learned I had not bought a one-way ticket to the looney bin. Rather, I’d been struck with inspiration, and had decided to try my hand at a women’s fiction novel. I’d discovered the joy of writing.
But last summer, after pantsing my way through another dead-end draft, I set the project aside, uncertain if I would ever return to it. I’d hit the figurative wall, and I was ready to try something new. So I enrolled in a course with the Institute of Children’s Literature.
I can’t say enough good things about this comprehensive course, which prepares students for a career in freelance writing for children. The skills I’ve acquired can be applied in any market. Without a doubt, my knowledge of the business and my writing itself has improved.
Currently, I’m working through assignment #9 of 10. The end of the course is within my reach. But I’m beginning to burn out on the drudgery of to-do lists, required reading, assignments, and deadlines.
So just for fun this weekend (or perhaps as a procrastination tactic), I opened the last draft of my novel, the one I closed for the final time thirteen months ago.
In a word, it’s awful. Some scenes are nothing short of cringe-worthy. The red pen mentality took over, compelling me to note everything that needed work. Yet at the same time, it was rewarding to see how far I’ve come.
This story, although badly written and incomplete, was my foray into the writing world. Rereading the manuscript took me back to that magical place that exists deep in a writer’s mind. The place we go to dream and create. Where our stories come alive, and our imaginary friends become real people.
And I realized how much I’ve missed this. How much I’ve missed writing, just for the simple pleasure of it.
Maybe freelancing or a serious writing career isn’t for me. I’m tired of thinking about publication, market research, building a platform, and what class to take next. I’m ready to leave all that behind, at least for a while.
I miss dreaming and creating without a goal or deadline hanging over my head. I miss reveling in the sunless hours spent with my imagination and a fresh pot of coffee. I miss writing on my own terms.
I’m ready to recapture the joy of writing.