Pressing Pause: A Kinda, Sorta Hiatus

Monday, August 23, 2021

I've been thinking a lot lately.

You already know what this is about based solely on the title of this post, but I'm going to say it straight up: I'm pressing pause on writing and publishing for the time being.

There are a number of reasons why I've decided to do this, which is the purpose of this post. I want to explain what's going on and what has led me to this conclusion.

First of all, I'm dealing with some medical issues. As you may remember me mentioning before, I had surgery in December to remove an ovarian cyst. Unfortunately for me, that wasn't the end of it. The surgeon discovered some potential issues from the lab work done on the cyst and recommended me getting ultrasounds twice a year to monitor my ovary. I went in June to have the ultrasound done and a new cyst was found. The doctor recommended surgery to remove the cyst and ovary.

When I went for my surgical consult (over a month after the ultrasound, my doctor has been booked this summer), she felt for the cyst but was unable to find it. She had me get a second ultrasound at the end of the week to verify if the cyst had gone away. And guess what? Turns out the cyst did either shrink or disappear! Talk about breathing a sigh of relief!

While I'm not going to need surgery, the stress and anxiety of needing a second surgery less than a year out from the first one really threw me. I spent the last two months anticipating it, had already told friends and family, preparing mentally and figuring out financially how we're going to pay for another procedure while we're still paying off the first... Let's just say it hasn't been fun. Plus, even though I'm not having surgery in the near future, my doctor will likely need me to come in again for ultrasounds periodically to make sure everything is okay. Also, this (unfortunately) isn't my only medical issue, but it's the one that is of main concern at the moment.

As I mentioned in the last paragraph, we're still currently paying off the first surgery (and the ER visit that led to surgery). I've been trying to work extra hard with the online businesses I run (an author services business as well as the eBay business I co-own with my husband) so that we can get those bills paid down. Most of my time has been consumed with that along with other daily responsibilities and chores.

When it comes to actual writing, ever since my last new release (last year in September), I've struggled to settle on which story I want to write next. I bounced from story idea to story idea, getting a few hundred or thousand words in before I hit a roadblock or lacked the motivation to continue it due to plot holes or not feeling the storyline. I continued to push through it and try again (and again and again), but kept reaching a dead end. The inspiration was there briefly, but then it would go away.

I thought I knew what I wanted to write and publish next, but it kept changing every couple of weeks or every month. The latest one (a Christmas novella) was the tipping point. I loved the idea and I honestly feel that I could write and publish it this year. However, now that I'm dealing with these medical issues, I already know that setting a deadline this year isn't going to be feasible. Given how little I tend to write anymore, there's just no way I could write, revise, edit, and publish a book before the end of the year.

I'm not exactly sure why I've had so much difficulty with writing this last year, but I will say that I haven't been in the best headspace. Between medical issues and dealing with other pressures and stresses, focusing hasn't been my strong suit. Every day I would sit at the computer and tell myself that once I finish my work for the day, I'll write. Unless I had a goal that I announced online (like during Camp NaNo in April), I wouldn't put forth the effort to write on a regular basis.

There's a false expectation that to be a writer you must be writing all the time. While I don't believe writers should have to write every day or every other day, I do believe that getting out of the habit makes it hard to get back into the habit again. I tend to push myself or take on more than I can handle (that's in general, not just writing), which can lead me to potential burnout. I don't think I've reached burnout, but I've reached something that isn't allowing me to progress with my writing, be it writer's block or something else.

What I know I have reached is a point where I simply need to take a step back and reevaluate. Like, reevaluate everything. I need to ask myself the tough questions: about what I want to do with my time, about what I want to write, where I want to see myself in a year, in two years, in five years, in ten years. Just basically give myself breathing room to consider all of my options and to narrow down the path I would like to take, not only in my author career but with my life.

It's time to press pause, to contemplate everything, and then unpause when I'm ready.

I have no idea how much time this will take, but it's my hope to return to some sort of normalcy in the new year. Giving myself this reprieve will allow me to regroup mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I can self-reflect without the stress of needing to do a thousand and one things to get caught up again.

One thing is for sure: I'll never stop writing. I may have to take a break from it, but I can't not write. The stories are always swirling in my head and I'm always coming up with new ideas. That'll never change.

I don't like pressing pause, especially on things that I love, but sometimes you have to do what's best for you even if it's frustrating or upsetting. And it genuinely is both of those things to me. There have been multiple points where I have been unable to write or publish, especially consistently. It took me three years (between 2016 and 2019) to publish something new. And it feels like I'm in that same moment, where everything is at a standstill and I can't be where I want to be right now.

But that's okay, and I need to learn to be okay with it, to be okay with me being in this place and needing a moment to figure it out.

So, that's what's going on with me at this point and time. In the meantime, I hope that I will continue to see you because I don't plan on disappearing entirely. I'll be around on social media and likely occasionally on this blog. You'll also see me at the end of this year discussing how 2021 has gone and at the beginning of next year making plans for 2022. And once I figure everything out, I'll be here, telling you all about it.

Until then... xoxo,

1 comment

  1. Take care. I had a very similar experience with an ovarian cyst and more. I was so upset I crashed my car. Get in a good mental space. Sending positive vibes.