The last two years have not been the best for me in terms of writing. The craft became something that I was afraid to continue. That fear fed on my self-doubt. But there was also a point where I lost my passion for writing. Following the completion of my first novel in 2018, I felt a great relief — I had finally did it. The editing process was next on the agenda but life had another plan for me. A mental health crisis crumbled the foundation I built over the years.
Writing has not the same since then. It’s harder for me to focus and get through a few good sentences, or ten minutes of writing. In 2020, I took a leap to start again. That resulted in my short story “The Valley,” which became an honorable mention for Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Contest in 2020.
Then I felt like I was on track. I tried to write. I tried to edit my finished novel. I went as far as buying books and magazine on writing. Even purchased whiteboards to help track my progress, hoping it would help. It didn’t help-it just became a daunting reminder of what I was no longer doing. I think that’s when I realized I lost my drive for writing.
Like everyone else around the beginning of a new year, I reflected on the last two years. What was keeping me back was self-doubt, fear, and, you guessed it, depression.
What happens after you’ve identified yourself as a writer (since 8th grade) can no longer write? The thing you loved to do is no longer a fun thing. It becomes an awful task that you’re obligated to because you’re committed to being a writer. My attempts to Torque became frustrating. I wrote 128,000-word novel and trying continue the writing process is scary. I’ve asked myself several times: “Where is the girl who wrote nearly a 130K novel?”
It hurt my soul to have to step away from writing. I no longer had the mental capacity to go back to my hold writing habits. I no longer had the energy to put into something I love. I don’t like half-assing things, so I resigned into phone scrolling, watching YouTube, and finding everything in the book to take my mind off writing.
During this time period, I remember labelling myself as someone who doesn’t finish things, a quitter.
But deep in my bones, in my gut, I know I am not a quitter. I’ve prayed to God, wondering if this was still the right path for me.
In the last year and half, I help a few people with editing and with figuring out what they want out of writing. It was a great way to stay occupied and flex those editing muscles while trying find the “thing” that will get me back to my old writing self.
In a way, losing my passion for writing, helped me find a way back to my older self. The young teenage Alyssa who would write poems. The introductory craft that eventually led to writing an urban fantasy novel, chip away at a sci-fi/fantasy novel, and reworking old short stories.