Looking Back on 2017 & Why I May Stop Writing in 2018

2017 had a lot to live up to due to the fact that 2016 was a pretty awesome year for me. What happened in 2016 you ask? Well, I was hard at work writing Rise of the Ripper (book number 3 in Abyssal Sanctuary), I was invited to speak on a panel in New York about my writing experience on Wattpad - and I became a Wattpad Star. All great things and more and I went into 2017 hoping it would be better than 2016. And you know what, in most ways, it was. But you know what else, it also wasn't, and now I wonder what I should do in 2018 to change the direction I'm heading in and if it will be for the better.

I'm trying to pinpoint where I went wrong in 2017. I'm not even sure anything did go wrong. I mean, I had so many wonderful opportunities that I'm so grateful for. For starters, one of the best things to happen to me last year was Tap. I got the chance to write stories for the launch and I continued to write for them long after, ending with 32 stories by the end of the year and over 100 million taps. That's not something to cry about. I mean, my last story was commissioned by Universal Studios!! Incredible, right? Yet even though that has to be my biggest opportunity yet, I decided not to renew my contract with Tap, even though I was offered a renewal. Why? I feel like I've lost something. Creativity? Inspiration? Passion? Yes. All of the above.

But that's not because of Tap. If anything, Tap helped revive my creativity because I was writing in a format I wasn't used to, and the stories resonated well with readers due to their successes on the platform. But as time went on, and I was churning out story after story, I was starting to feel drained. As a writer, that can happen a lot. As soon as writing feels like a job, I lack the drive to continue.

But that still isn't why I want to take a break from writing in 2018. Maybe it's because I did NaNoWriMo? I thought I would give that a go because I had this wonderful LGBT romance idea that I was so excited to write. All throughout November, I managed to write it all and I achieved the target of 50,000 words in a month. That's so many words and I'm sure any sane person would feel drained after writing all of that in 30 days.

But I regret doing NaNoWriMo so much. I really, really wish I hadn't done it. I do not like the end result of what I wrote - it's rushed, it's all over the place... it's not me. I've been trying to fix it this past month by starting from scratch and really taking my time, but I find myself struggling to even find the inspiration to write at all. I admit, the little I have done of the new version, I like it so much more than the first draft, but still, I can't seem to focus.

I ask myself every morning, as soon as I wake up, do I still want to be a writer? I don't know anymore. It's hard. It's soul-crushing. There's so much pressure. I've had more downs than ups these past couple of years. I wonder if it's because I have opened up and allowed others to read my work via Wattpad. It's great that people can read my stories and leave comments, but it also means people are waiting for the next chapter. That pressure means I have to write something asap or risk losing an audience. Many times in the past I have taken months (even a whole year) before I was able to write (though this was before people even really knew me and I was doing my first year of uni). I don't want that to happen again, but I feel like I have to.

I don't want the pressure - it makes me want to resist writing. I don't want to resist writing - it means I'm starting to fall out of love with something I've loved since I was a child. I need to fall in love with writing again and if that means I disappear in 2018, then so be it. I've had many breakdowns this year because I have kept my true feelings to myself, and bottling it all up is not healthy. People only ever see the happy side of me and believe me, I work so hard to make sure that's all they see. If people saw the weaker, emotional side of me, they wouldn't want to know me or read my work.

I'm upset with myself because I'm losing it and I want to get it back. I think my New Year's Resolution is to put my mental health first. I need to evaluate what helps and doesn't help my situation. I need to make sure I write for myself so that I can feel truly happy about the work I produce. I don't want to write something and then feel disappointed by it at the end. I put myself down a lot and it doesn't matter how many times my friends tell me otherwise. No amount of comfort from anyone else can remedy how I feel. I feel sad and it's my job to make myself happy again, no one else's. So I need to do what's right for me. It's a lonely journey, even if I am surrounded by some of the best people on the planet.

I've been feeling this way for some time now. I mask it up with a smile and I've just gotten on with it so far. I wonder if I've reached my limit because I'm sick of feeling sad. I really, really want to feel happy again.

I need to be by myself for a while. Writing this blog post seems to be helping as I'm working through my thoughts - which are so confusing. I don't know what to think, what to do. I do know how I feel and I do know it needs to change.

I don't want to diagnose myself with depression but my god, feeling sad sucks.