making moves.

Hello. It’s been a while, but I’m back. I’ll try to keep this short-ish because there’s so much that’s happened in the past few months that has taken my time and energy away; writing something long and drawn-out will only deplete that energy further. Plus, this space is meant for reflections on writing–not long-winded apologies for not writing (though, I suppose, the not-writing is part of every writer’s relationship with writing). Here it goes:

We moved. Across the country. Again.

When we moved there in June 2020, we had hoped to buy a house and establish our lives in Austin, but nine days after my last blog post in mid-May, we discovered two things: first, the good news, that we were finally financially ready to buy a home once our lease ended in September. The second thing we discovered, during a stomach-dropping conversation with our realtor, was that the skyrocketing Austin real estate market did not want these things for us. We were priced out.

So we had to make an important call, very quickly–we were leaving Texas and moving back north. This time, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An up-and-coming city with historic heritage, affordable homes with lots of character, great schools, short commutes downtown, overflowing with hiking trails and mature wooded areas, located almost exactly halfway between each of our parents’ homes. We visited the city briefly after a family wedding in June, and we made the official decision to move there on July 1st. From there, we had to find a realtor and a mortgage lender, obsessively track real estate listings, secure money for our down payment, and, of course, go out there to look at houses and make an offer. All in between friends visiting and another family wedding. Thus, writing took a deep, deep plunge to the very bottom of my priority list.

We made an offer in early August, got it accepted the next day, and from then on, we had less than 40 days to pack our entire apartment and arrange for what would be our second cross-country move in the last fifteen months.

Thankfully the move itself went smoothly, and the four days we spent driving the U-Haul across America with the dog were a memorable and (mostly) fun adventure.

Then, of course, once we got to the house, we had to unpack and deal with several (albeit relatively minor) issues with our upstairs sink, our washer and dryer hookups and ventilation, and window cranks. I thought by the time we had finished unpacking, fixed the few maintenance issues we had, and taken that weeklong Portland vacation we’d planned in mid-October, I’d be able to get back into writing again. I arrived home from our vacation refreshed and ready. It was then that our own personal Series of Unfortunate Events began.

First came the major plumbing issues with our upstairs bathroom, which we discovered early one morning when water began pouring from four places in our living room ceiling (these remain unresolved–we’re working on it). Then, issues at my job–major changes to insurance plans, and disappointing personal career setbacks (these are now mostly resolved). And then, most recently, a major car accident in which we hit a deer and totaled our car (this is totally resolved). The emotional and financial stress this has put us under in the last few weeks has meant I’ve had no energy for any creative work.

But here I am. I now have the mental and emotional capacity to write. How I finally got back to that place will be detailed in another post, but the point is: I’m writing.

However, after the absolute chaos of the last few months, I’ve arrived at this point with new understandings of my creative energy capacity, my time boundaries, and my intentions around this blog.

The purpose of this site is to be a companion to me as a writer, a place where I reflect on my life and the writing process in general through poetry, essays, and other media as I write my main works: my novels and short stories. But in the past, I’ve allowed my blog posts to become the main outlet for my creative energy instead of the fiction work that is more important to me in the long run. Sometimes it’s because I really do have something valuable to say, and of course it’s nice to finish a piece and put it out into the world so quickly. But also sometimes it’s because of some weird guilt-trippy feeling that I owe lots of updates to the people who read this blog, or because of slight feelings of desperation to “market myself” (whatever that means) as a writer here if I ever want to succeed.

In other words, I have let this blog, on many occasions, become more of a writer’s distraction than a writer’s companion.

These past few months have shown me that I have extremely limited time and energy to write, and only so much creative discipline to regularly attend to certain projects. They’ve also shown me that my list of obligations, both personal and professional, is only going to grow in the year(s) to come. And that means I need to make hard choices about prioritizing what matters most. Certainly this doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on blogging entirely (though I briefly considered it)–in the end, I do believe this space is important for me to express myself freely, to share about my life, and to process, well, the writing process.

But how can this blog be a writer’s companion if, outside of it, I’m not really writing?

So, something needs to change.

And here it is: I will no longer make promises about how often I’ll be posting here in the future. I am freeing myself from any obligation to my readers to post at a certain frequency. And I am letting go of any desire to use this space to “market myself.”

Instead, I want to spend the bulk of my creative energy and discipline on my fiction work–without being held back by guilt that I’m not fulfilling an obligation here, or fear that I’ll somehow lose readers or be “behind the times” somehow.

That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll only post once every six months (oops), but it also means I probably won’t post every two weeks, like I tried to do before. But who knows? I’m in a revision stage with my short story now, so maybe I’ll post more frequently in these next few weeks of 2021, but maybe once I finish that and restart the heavy lifting of world-building with my novel in January, I won’t be posting as much. I don’t know how it will look. And that’s okay.

I think this move will give me the freedom to focus on the writing that really excites me–moreover, who I want to be as a writer.

I’m looking forward to it.

Current Novel Word Count: 16,690  
What I'm Writing: I'm currently revising a short story I wrote back in college. Nearly there!
Weird Writerly Topics I've Googled This Week: education system in Ireland, junior cert.
Writing Exercises I've Done: I wrote down a list of my favorite words, just to get back into language again. 
What I'm Reading: Since my last blog, I've read Normal People by Sally Rooney, Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, A Tip for the Hangman by Allison Epstein, Tenth of December by George Saunders, and Wildwood by Colin Meloy. I'm currently reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
What I'm Listening To: "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" by Taylor Swift, "Little Love" by Adele, "Alone at Last" by Rachael & Vilray, "Isaiah (O Come)" by The Porter's Gate, the Lore podcast by Aaron Mahnke, the On Being podcast by Krista Tippett

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