I know, I know, it's been a long time since I've written, and it seems an odd place to start: why I failed to write. But I think that knowing why I failed and stopped for so long, and understanding it is really the only way I can figure out how to avoid those failure modes and get back to writing in a way that rewards me again.
I know that, for the longest time, the main reason I blogged was because I could remember what good thing happened that day. Most of my blog in the 80's and 90's was in order to fight depression and to keep an on-going record of the adventures and miracles of each day. When I gave birth to Jet, I wanted to remember all that was going on and how my baby was growing. Laurie Santos, the seven step program, Kurzgesagt, AAA, and all kinds of research show the importance of "gratitude" in the quality of everyday life. Not the "be grateful to God" religious gratitude, but the everyday, every person kind of thanks that can be given to the people, circumstances, and sheer luck that brings good things to every life.
This importance is mirrored in the teachings of a great number of religions, but that's a rabbit hole to be followed another day.
I started with just my every day adventures, for my own needs. Then I got a lot of people who liked what I was doing and who mostly convinced me that I could write. That led to me deciding it would be fun to write fiction and so I did fanfiction for a while, and that led me into the sweet sweet allure of writing for an audience and the attention and praise that could get me. Which led me to... well... a sort of catastrophic failure with someone who had a much greater public eye than I did.
AND on top of that I was in the midst of a conflict that could not be exposed to the public eye for moral reasons, for reasons of spiritual health for a community, and because every damned person now can search for themselves on the Internet and when I mention them I now need to meet the moral obligation of checking with them if it's okay if I write about them, family or no, my opinions become part of public record for everyone to search and find and read.
So no writing in public. When that whole conflict was passed onto other plates and I could do very little to direction influence how things went, I forcefully and deliberately dove into the rabbit hole of competitive gaming. It was a clarifying and honing experience that I have never regretted since, but it also blew right through all the physical resources I had with respect to sitting at a computer, to the point of the failure of my disk between C6 and C7 and so much pain I couldn't touch a keyboard without pain for nearly half a year.
So I got out of the habit of writing every night. I'd still do it for some trips, out of some sense of obligation and it showed in my "writing", which became mostly a set of pictures and some words about what was in the pictures, and less about how I was feeling or what wonder I'd stumbled into or onto during the duration of the 'adventure'... so they were less about the adventure and more about "see where I've been now."
Which really wasn't feeding me, and probably wasn't engaging any of you who were reading, either. So I stopped doing even that.
So what is bringing me back?
Oddly enough, it's my painting and my ability to sleep at night. When I was journaling, and actually writing out what I was so glad for each day, I could sleep really well. I've been doing bullet journaling and tried personal journaling for a while and while they helped, it seems that my thinking through something and processing it through typing fires off different things than when I'm handwriting it out and "having to fill in X number of pages" just doesn't do it for me. Typing it, though, seems to "finish" it for my back brain, and I can sleep better and putting a perspective on it that's fit for public consumption seems to make it settle even more than that.
The painting aspect of it is that I've started painting most weeks, due to a class with Mayee Futterman, who has been a fun instructor for me, as she's obviously of the same Chinese American background that I'm from and her methods really work for me. The every week work, though has been making a real difference in my ability with the brush, even when I don't want to do it. *laughs* Progress in a nutshell, just do it and keep doing it even when you don't want to do it.
And I'm realizing, in a very core way, that I really need to write again. It will be different than before, but in some ways I intend to go back to what I did at the start, which is just write about what I am grateful for each day and what adventure I had. And in the midst of these pandemic times, I realized it's something I really needed to explore again to keep my sanity and maybe it'll help some of yours as well. We'll see.
For today, I am grateful that it's John's birthday and that we're going to go out on a sunny walk. I may write again later with what I thought about with that.