I've been worried about my writing for a while.
To be honest, everything I've written in the past two years has been -- crap. On a technical level, it's fine, and quite an improvement from my older works. But none of it had the magic that my writing used to have. None of it seemed inspired, and I don't think it reads as inspired, either. What am I doing here? This, truthfully, is one of the reasons why I'm leaving the creative writing program. It's true, I have found other things that I'm passionate about and things that I can make a career out of. But I'm also having questions about writing.
How can I reclaim that magic? That's what I've been asking myself. But lately I'm asking another question: Do I want the magic back?
To answer those questions, I first have to figure out: What is the magic? Personally, I think that it's my ability to go down the rabbit hole. All the way down. But there's a problem: for me, the rabbit hole is full of oxygenated perfluorocarbons -- you can breathe in it, but on every level it resembles water. And submerging yourself in it feels just like drowning.
The way I used to be, I didn't mind drowning. But now, my survival instinct is too strong and holds me back from going down there. I still drown in some things: becoming obsessed is part of who I am. When that obsession is my fiction, it becomes inspired. But becoming obsessed with a fantasy world is one of those dangerous things.
What does the future hold for me in terms of writing? So far I'm suffering from a lack of practice, and my work has gotten a bit worse, not better like it should be. I got waitlisted for Alpha this year. Can I turn that trend around? With enough work, I think so.
Writing has never been just a hobby for me. It was always a calling -- something that defined who I was, something that I had a special talent for. Beyond that, it was going to be a career. That may still be true, in addition to my other career path -- but as things are now, it won't happen. I am simply not good enough and will never become good enough unless I make a key decision. Will I let myself drown again?
I'm thinking about restarting my novel, and rewriting it from the beginning. Doing so will take time (which I thankfully have enough of, for now), effort, focus, and a bit of chutzpah. True -- I actually enjoy life with both feet grounded in reality, and I enjoy it in ways I wouldn't have thought possible years ago, even without writing as seriously as I was then. That's why it's a gutsy decision. I have to ask myself what writing means to me now. It won't be my primary career, most likely. But is it still something I'm going to dedicate a significant portion of my life to, or is it just something I enjoy on my time off? Am I still serious about it? Am I still truthfully a writer, or am I just someone who writes?
It's been a difficult couple of years and I think it's really affected my abilities as an artist, so it's worth talking about.
(In other news, work is still coming along on my memoir project, as well.)