I am a writer who hasn’t written in years. I am an author who has been working on the fourth book in my series since 2016. While I have journaled plenty and written articles and papers in that time, the story that I had already dedicated 4 years of my life to has been placed on indefinite hiatus for reasons even I cannot ascertain. The fourth book in my series, titled ‘Reunited,’ has been sitting in a word document all by itself, untouched, about 4 chapters in, for an unacceptable amount of time for any proclaimed ‘author.’
I did not plan on this. I did not know that this would happen. I didn’t know that my life would change it’s course so suddenly, and then so many times after that. For a while, I even considered removing the title of ‘author’ from my name. Was I really an author if I hadn’t put out a book in years? Was I really an author if I wasn’t sure that I would ever put out a book again?
My series, and my main character, was very much aligned with where I was at within myself when I wrote them. As authors, we pour ourselves into our works, into our characters, and into every page we type. I wrote my first book when I was 20 years old, and the second and third books shortly after. I didn’t know, at that time, that who I was when I was 24 years old was going to be so different than who I was when I was 22. I didn’t understand the metamorphosis that I was going to go through, and even now, at 26, I don’t even know how to properly quantify the changes that have occurred in my life. The question I have been asking myself in the past year or so, in regards to the fourth book in my series, is, “How do I pick up this series right where I left it, even though I am completely different than I was?”
I have two options, two options that would be fair to my characters, but they would be incredible obstacles that I don’t know that I could achieve. The first option would be to try to write Hailey as she was, as I was, back then. My character is young, so it would make sense that developmentally she would be who she was for a while. The thing about this that scares me is that I was not in a good place when I wrote her. I used her as an outlet for my own trauma, trauma that I was living in every moment of every day. I have been running so fast and so far for so many years to get away from that, and I don’t know if I have it in me to go back there, and try to see things through those eyes once more.
The second option is to try to illustrate the journey that I went through to become the person I am today in this book. This option makes sense in the storyline, but at the same time, it is equally daunting, if not more so, than option one. For one, the journey I went through for four years would have to be condensed into the span of a few months, which seems unrealistic at best. And, my path was carved from very specific, outside sources, and I would have to replicate those kinds of moments in the story, to give a rhyme and reason to Hailey’s growth and change. My greatest fear with this path is that I will not do Hailey or myself justice, and that I will tarnish her character or my own story as I try to write this.
The story has never left my heart or my mind. I think about writing every day, and when I do sit down to write, the words never cease to flow. My own personal brand of writer’s block, that has kept me away from the keys for years now, takes the form of one small character development issue. In hindsight, I’ve spent so much time worrying about if or how I can write Hailey, that I could have written the book ten times over, and written Hailey in ten different ways.
I’ve decided a few things in recent days, especially after taking an Adolescent Development class. One of the most important lessons I need to learn right now is that the person who wrote Reincarnation, Revolution, and Redemption, is not a ‘different’ person at all. She is me, a version of myself from the past, but a version of myself that shaped who I am today. Without her, I would not be who I am right now. And, without her traumas and her tears, I would not have even written the books, and the books changed my life forever. I keep thinking of myself, and of Hailey, as completely linear characters, but that is not how the real world works. A person is made up of thousands of moments, thousands of good ones and thousands of bad ones, countless decisions and actions and emotions, all of them equally important and worthy of love.
Writer’s block can tie up your heart for months, years, and even cause people to give up on their dreams. Whether it comes from self-doubt, confusion, fear, or the lack of inspiration, it is a real thing that holds so many beautiful people back. I am deciding today, that I will love all aspects of myself, and all aspects of Hailey, and allow myself to write her freely, regardless of who I was or who I am now. And also, to love the me that didn’t write for such a long time, and love myself as an author, which I will be for the rest of my life even if I don’t write another word. There is a balance between what I have done and what I am doing right now, and both are equally valid and important.
So, I am a writer who hasn’t written in years. I am an author who hasn’t released a book in years. I am who I was and I am who I am going to become. And I am removing all barriers, and maybe, someday, I will write again. And if I don’t, I will forgive myself, and love that version of myself, too. 🙂