New Beginnings and Old Ends

So, this blog.

This blog.

Three years ago I started it as an outlet for writing — as a mind dump, if you will. My goal wasn’t really to kick start myself, but that’s sort of what happened. The simple act of making Not Quite Literally surged my desire to write. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. Twice a week, sometimes three times a week. It was addictive. It was also an incredible boon: months after I started writing, I received a message on Reddit from someone that had noticed an article I’d posted. They wanted to hire me for their up-and-coming gaming blog. I obliged, taking on my first professional writing gig.

Not too long after I found myself wanting more. More, more, more. More writing. So I started penning my novel, fleshing out a story that had been sitting in my head for five years.

More.

My output was pretty blistering. In my first three months I think I published something like a hundred articles. I had my own column. I had opinion pieces everywhere. It was glorious. The same attitude carried into the beginnings of my novel: I wrote 40,000 words in my first month, following it up immediately after with another 20,000.

More.

I thought I could carry the same pace into grad school.

Oops.

It hit me hard. Your first year of grad school tends to be a lot like standing in quicksand. Fidgeting will make you sink. You know it. Everyone is screaming it at you. But you don’t care. You want to be relentless. You want to do everything. You have to do everything. I wrote every paper with the intent of bringing it to a conference — or hell, even with the idea in the back of my head that maybe I could get something published. I applied to the most distant conference in my field I could find (and managed to get accepted). I decided to write about ludology while in a program that had never heard of it.

Of course, all of this made me a ball of stress.

Did I mention I have Crohn’s disease?

I found myself struggling, battling with anxiety, battling with numerous flare-ups of things I didn’t even knew I had. Chronic pelvic pain syndrome? TMD? Panic attacks? Whatever the hell these skin things are?

All the while my writing was slipping. I was lucky to write 5,000 words a month for my novel. I hadn’t posted a blog update in almost a year. I stepped away from my position at the previously mentioned gaming site.

I was writing, sure. For grad school. For conferences.

But not for me.

While my wonderful fiance was always there by my side, always helping me through things, I still felt like I was missing something. It should’ve been so obvious — and yet it wasn’t.

My writing had become disconnected from me.

It didn’t really spark in my head until she started talking about writing her own blog, beginning her own writing journey, much as I had three years ago. I realized that I missed that. I missed writing for me. And so I started, once again, to plow away at my novel, quickening my pace. Just yesterday I managed to write the final chapter of my first draft. A long way to go — but a relief.

But once again, I wanted more: I wanted the freedom to write again, about whatever. About, er, things.

And so here we are: I’m back, guys.

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