You see, the thing is, I can’t point to any one thing and say, “There, that is why I stopped writing.” Which means I can’t fix that one thing and start again. (P.S. If you don’t care to listen to me give a billion excuses – just skip to the last section where I – like the adult I pretend to be – take full responsibility for my own actions, er… inactions).
Life Gets in the Way
This is the easiest thing to blame and it’s true, life does get in the way. I bought a house and was excited about fixing it up and doing yard work and cleaning and everything. I’ve put a lot of energy into my house. I love it to bits. But is it a full-time commitment? Nah. There are plenty of days I do nothing for my house. Granted it takes up more energy than renting did. This fall I am getting a new roof (I had to pick the colors!), getting an arborist to look at my trees and see how healthy they are, and still have to rake and pull plants in preparation for winter. I’ve done very little for my yard this summer (rainy and I was paying attention to the inside) so there’s def. a lot of work to do.
I had a roommate. Roommates make coming home and spending 4 to 5 hours playing, writing, screenshotting, and editing less possible. Oh sure I still had plenty of time to play and write, but it was another drain on my energy. (That, and we had to go grocery shopping weekly. Lol – as if that is a big time commitment.) My roommate has been gone since April and did I start writing? Nope. I actually wrote more while she was living with me than I did once she was gone.
Work these past two years has been exhausting. I actually did a lot of writing at work, I’ll admit it. I would write the post over lunch or during some stolen time and then all I had to do at home was screenshot and post – still plenty of time to play. Until this past month…notice I’m posting again?… that was not an option at work. We were swamped and I was exhausted at the end of the day. It was just me and one other supporting an entire project that was shifting gears every month or two. We were always playing catchup. At the end of the day, all I wanted was a nap.
New Things are the Most Fun
That’s me in a nutshell. I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for new things, new ideas, new challenges. Follow-through? The satisfaction of finishing? Doesn’t drive me the way it might drive others. I wrote often on this blog for two years. That was new for me. I finished my first ever story. I had all these ideas and plans. Lots of energy there. But some of my plans outgrew the “shortness” I know I need to keep things fresh. Ghost wasn’t supposed to be more than 30 chapters – 50 at the max. But I loved where it was going and wanted to follow it. I couldn’t write less. Also, the whole idea of blogging and writing wasn’t “new” anymore. I’d been doing it for two years. The energy for the whole endeavor started to sag and I wasn’t paying attention. I kept thinking if I just rejiggered my schedule or concentrated on something different, I could maintain.
I’m not actually an extrovert. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you – writers are frequently introverts. But I can tell you it surprises the pants off everyone at work. I’m pretty chatty. I get enthusiastic. I’m comfortable talking to strangers. I’m comfortable talking in meetings and classrooms. I’m comfortable presenting in front of groups. But in the end, I’m happy to spend a month in my house never talking to another human being. That includes the talking on the internet.
Online socialness feels different from real-life socialness. IRL, I’m used to the warning signs that I’m getting over my head. That I’m nearing the end of my social bucket and I’m about to freak out and emote badly everywhere. (Always fun to watch, I’m sure). I can usually see it coming and back away. Say no to the next few social events. Find someplace away from my desk to work. Leave before it’s too late. But online? The signs aren’t the same and it took me a while to realize that posting, commenting, chatting, etc used up my social bucket. Not the same way – which is why the signs of weren’t recognized. My reaction to oversocialization proved to be the same. I left. Will I recognize the signs this time? Maybe?
I Want to Play Other Games
Without feeling guilty. New games come out constantly and there’s a lot that I want to try. Sims was my primary game back in 2010 and then from 2015-2016. But there are tons of other games I enjoy. Some for just a day or two, some for a month, some I keep coming back to over and over again (hello, Rimworld). I felt guilty any time I played a different game because I wasn’t writing. But I wanted to play them. When I stopped writing, I could play without the guilt – or at least not as much guilt.
Recently I’ve been playing Elder Scrolls Online (to see if I like it now that it’s improved or if I really just don’t like MMOs); Surviving Mars, Two-Point Hospital, Megaquarium, Gardenscapes & Homescapes on mobile, and of course, Rimworld (outside of Sims, this is my ultimate favorite game and this year has been big for the game as it ramps up to an official release). I also tried out a lot of games I’d bought but never played in the past year like XCom, Stardew Valley (finally), Frostpunk, Torchlight, Dishonored, Little Nightmares…most of them don’t make good story fodder but they do make great time-sucks.
My Computer Sucked
Okay, it didn’t, not really. In almost every aspect it was top of the line and it had no issues playing any game I asked it to – it had decent ram and a newish video card. But the CPU was 8 years old and in computer terms, that’s old. It struggled to play a game AND show any video without skipping or at 480p. Watching videos while I play is something I really enjoy and helps pass the time when doing mundane tasks like screenshotting or building. And it’s not enjoyable to have to pause every 10 minutes to refresh the video so it starts playing again. A paultry excuse, I admit. But other games – or no games at all were sometimes better than dealing with my machine. I have a new computer now, btw. I have named it Toothless.
I know, right? Everyone else has some if not more of those problems, issues, challenges. So the truth is? I didn’t want to write. That hurts me to say it. I love writing. I loved sharing my sims. I loved seeing where they were going. But this year? No. I didn’t want to write. Not really. I didn’t want to put in the effort to write, the time. It had become an obligation (and I hate, hate, hate obligations). My stories were fun exciting things – but now they were also an obligation (post on x,y,z days; advance story a and b) and after two years my inner 2-year-old rebelled, “NOPE. DON’WANNA.”
Which leaves us back at the start. Will I ever write again? Yes? Probably.
I’m not making promises – that will feel like obligations. It’s a positive sign I’m writing this (at work, I’ll admit). It’s a positive sign that I’ve been thinking more and more about writing. I started posting my builds to see how that felt (and to see if I could trick myself into remembering the parts I enjoyed more than the fear and challenges my inner brain was telling me I was faced with.) I’m going to find my favorite simlit stories and binge catch up (tbh binging is my favorite simlit-reading method anyway).
I’m dipping my toe in the waters again. I’m looking to see how much time I want to devote to this blog – and I DO want to devote time to it, just not my life. I’m playing my Drifters. But I’m eschewing schedules and planning for the time being. I’m going to see where my passion takes me. (I’ve learned that passion drives me and if the passion goes away – or becomes “work” – I go away.) My passion might take me back to writing. It might not.