I want to get back into writing. Rather, I want to reclaim it.
You might argue that it’s not like I ever stopped writing. Each Unlife update shows up with another blog, a foray into my imagination with a side of internal monologue. However, these days my writing faces a new challenge, one I haven’t dealt with in over four years, but still a familiar foe; balancing writing with the responsibilities of a full time job.
The days of freelance are behind me for the moment. I was recently hired for a position that demands my attention on a full time basis, and I want to give it. I have always thought of my work as a defining extension of myself. Of who I am. It’s where I put so much of my effort, and so I want it to represent me. That goes for my writing – uninspired writing kills me, and to actively bring it into the world would be a waste of my time. And now a full time job, another extension of that effort, demands a similar care.
The spark must be nourished. For a long time, writing was an all-consuming star, and just like staring at the sun, it was beginning to cause irreparable damage to how I saw things. I was hoping that maybe I was made of stronger stuff, but all it took was shifting my gaze away for a moment to realize that there was still an unexplored universe beyond; one with a new health plan that covered protective sunglasses. And, wouldn’t you know it, in that new universe, the spark still remains.
My commute is still spent in the thrall of writing, as are my first few hours home. The tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tapping of my fingers pummeling the keyboard drowns out any other thought, as if to truly encapsulate the sense of purpose I feel as I construct each new sentence atop the last. Finding those golden strings of words that, together, produce a complex idea or emotion, sometimes greater than this format can provide.
And I do feel a twinge of regret, because though the spark still burns, there’s a sense of disappointment in the loss of the imagined heights of my freelance career. I resent the idea that it was merely an interlude. I don’t regret it, and it was an important stage in my life, though one I still wish I could have achieved more validation in. Maybe that validation is Unlife. Maybe it’s something else that has yet to fully surface. But the fact that the journey led me to another journey makes me fear that it’s all endless. That each new stage erases and invalidates what came before it. That it negates it, voiding its meaning to me or others.
And yet, in the face of an eternal sentence, I have found definition in stories again, in ideas for new Unlife chapters and projects beyond. And the enduring strength of my creative spark and need to write is comforting. In fact, my reverence for it, the hunger that builds to work on it, is more potent than ever. It’s no longer my only meal, but rather the one I’m looking forward to most. You hear that less is more, but I never thought to apply that to my own dreams and desires.
Maybe less is more. Maybe I do have more than I started with.
Maybe in an attempt to reclaim something I thought I lost, I found it was still by my side, loyal to the end.