The goal is to keep writing. To keep your fingers on the keyboard, or gripping the pen or pencil and pressing it down onto the page. The longer you stay away from it, the more your skills can deteriorate. It's not like riding a bike. It's more like trying to remember how to use DOS on an old desktop computer after 20 years of being away from it.
I've been blogging and doing some form of writing for a while now, but I've been heavily neglecting creative story craft. That's really the skill I want to get good at. But wanting isn't enough. Desire without action is just empty reaching--daydreaming that results in no great works, or any other types of works at all.
"Perfect is the enemy of published."
That doesn't fit my scenario to a tee, but it does shed light on the issue of self-inflicted creative paralysis. It's something that all writers, professional or otherwise, struggle with. It's the subject of countless "How the story looks in my head vs. how it actually comes out" memes on social media. Many writers can't get past the idea stage, and that's something I've been struggling with as well. For a long time, especially recently. Hell, probably over the past year and a half.
The truth is, I made a conscious choice to focus on my language resource writing over my fiction. The reason behind that was that I already had a built-in audience to write to. So many writers have no audience or struggle to build one up for years. But I have one. At least, more than many writers who are just starting out. And it's great because that community is full of wonderful people as well, and I want to write for them and to create useful works for them. I want to give them practical gifts they can benefit from.
And I've done that and I'm still doing it, and I'll keep doing it still.
But it can no longer be at the full expense of my fiction work.
I want to write dialogues, and poetry, and short stories, and mini essays, and all the things that shake up my brain and engage my creativity. Sure, the struggle will very much be real to get back to even the level I was at a year ago. I recently read over Bless the Light Eternal and Venom Sucker again, and you know what? I like those stories. Hell, I think one of them could probably be published somewhere with a bit more editing work. So I'll go there next.
In terms of brand new stories, I've written two for a couple of creative writing challenges that I've been part of for a few years now. They were super rough and I only wrote one draft per story, but at least I've gotten off the ground. At least I've gotten my fingers back on the keyboard, and my heart back on imagined worlds and grander themes. Or just weird ones.
Even writing this bundle of thoughts is just a way to exercise my fingers and to stretch my writing mind. And it's working. I don't know how this article is going to read to me six months from now, but at this moment, I'm happy that I'm putting it together and that it's allowing me to dust off the cobwebs and get back to the craft I want to put my hands to.
So here we go. I'm back.