When I started writing, I was a stay-at-home mom in need of a hobby. During naptimes and after bed time, I’d run to my laptop and get carried away. It was my escape hatch. Something that was just for me that also provided a creative outlet. But then something miraculous happened–I got published.
For several years, I threw myself into becoming a Real Author. I wrote and wrote and wrote. My vacations were usually spent at conventions. All of my friends were writers. In my free time, I read to keep up with the market. My dream had come true, but there was this nagging sense that I was missing something.
I burned out in 2014. My new series wasn’t “meeting expectations.” I’d gone back to school to get my MFA in writing popular fiction so I could get more teaching gigs. I wrote a novel and two novellas in four months. I was bitter and exhausted. That’s when I realized I needed to take a step back and figure out what was missing.
As it turned out, I had to face the hard truth that I’d become a workaholic. Every facet of my life revolved around books. I love books. I love writing. I love reading. I love book people. But there’s more to life than all that. In order to figure out what was missing, I had to go back to the beginning and see where I went wrong.
Turns out, I started out right. I found a hobby that was rewarding and fun. It was when I became a pro that I got off track. See, what I figured out is that everyone needs a hobby. We each need something that doesn’t have ego or income tied to it. When my hobby became my job, I lost that safe space where I could create without fear.