In February, I decided my novel was dead. In March, my father suddenly died. In July, I gave birth.
Needless to say, I haven’t written much. In fact, given the struggles with my novel, I haven’t written anything in nearly a year.
I tried. In the beginning, I set deadlines. I made pacts. I kept fizzling out. Then, I was pregnant and was too focused on both staying awake and also not vomiting to write. Then dad died and my focus went towards that. Then came the end of pregnancy and most of my attention was swallowed up by how fucking uncomfortable I was.
I’m now in the sleepy land of newborns and toddlers. When I have time–which is to say, during the hours I spend trapped under a baby–I have Netflix.
There’s something good about not writing because you couldn’t possibly be expected to write, rather than not writing even though you have every opportunity to do so but still don’t, even if you weren’t writing when you had the opportunity anyway. It’s freeing to drop the expectation.
I’ve started thinking about my novel again. Sometime around May, in the midst of all the Game of Thrones critiques about exactly why the final season sucked so much, an idea clicked. It was the same idea I had for my unfinished revision, but I was simply thinking about it differently. It all made sense. Everything was going to work.
I still haven’t written. I still think I can’t possibly be expected to write. Not yet.
Right before my dad died, but after I’d given up on my novel, I had a bunch of writing-adjacent opportunities open up. People were getting in touch with me to talk about writing. I had a few paid readings come up. Some work I was particularly proud of came out in print. It felt like a sign. You’re still a writer, even without this novel.
I still want the novel to be a real live novel. I don’t know if when the day comes there is enough space in my tired brain to write it, that I will still want to write this particular novel. Part of me feels that I am now a better writer than this novel warrants, but perhaps not yet a better novelist. Part of me thinks I need to test that theory by like, you know, actually writing.
I still don’t think I can possibly be expected to write.