I thought we should just get that out of the way first. I haven't stopped writing. My characters are still waiting for me to get a move-on and finish the story.
For the first time, I've really been on a streak where I believe I can get where I'm going. Self-confidence is a beautiful - and for me, incredibly rare - gift. And so I'm going to take this post to reflect on some things that helped me achieve this, in hopes that it will aid someone else out there:
1) I got married.
I know it's not for everyone, but let me tell you, there really are benefits. It wasn't just getting to be officially a Mrs. to the Mr. who's been my partner in every way for the last four and a half years. It wasn't about the beautiful ceremony, or the crazy fun party (although those were amazing).
It was the love.
Over 200 people from both his enormous family and mine came out to celebrate our being together. And instead of having a bunch of strangers who kept to themselves and waited for the whole thing to be over, I saw his grandmother dancing with my mother, our friends mixing and mingling with relatives of ours they'd never met. Also, I got to see some people whom I have known forever get inordinately drunk and profess how they love me like another child/grandchild/sister.
Being surrounded by so many people who not only love me, but really enjoyed being with each other was incredible. I highly recommend this to anyone - surround yourself with good people. It makes you feel better about yourself because they think well of you.
2) I am buying a house and getting cats.
Seriously, I know it makes me sound crazy - who wants all those extra bills, pets tearing up the furniture, all the worries of a mortgage - but I love it. I can't wait to have space again, to take a bath in a bathtub, to cook in a full kitchen, and to have meowing, purring buddies who attack my keyboard on a regular basis. Having something to look forward to is just as motivating as having something to look fondly back upon.
3) I wrote 56,000 words in 20 days and will likely have 70,000 by the end of the month. By the end of the year, I will have 3 completed novels which I will then edit, re-edit, edit some more until I want to tear my hair out, and then publish.
Having a goal to drive me forward, and having already completed a great deal of work on that path has been the confidence boost I was waiting for. I kept waiting to feel like I was ready to write again, waiting until some of the 200 books I read on research material for my stories or how to write better would give me some flash of inspiration, like "Here! This is your brilliant novel! Now go forth, publish, and be rich and fruitful!"
You know what it was in the end?
When November 1st rolled around, there was no flash. It's still not there. I still don't know whether or not my novels are any good, and certainly not whether or not they can succeed. But I remembered just how much I love to write. And knowing that fact, that I haven't lost the love for the biggest part of my life, has reawakened my love for myself. I am someone who writes. And that makes me someone I can love.