Something has been nagging me this summer. In between the ups and downs, there was one thought that kept returning to the surface: why am I not writing?
For the same reason that I don’t write as soon as I get home, or when I get up early on the weekend.
Because I don’t want to.
I don’t want to be a writer. Not at this point in my life, and maybe not for a very long time. Maybe never, I don’t know.
I look back to the times in my life when I wrote and the times when I didn’t. Yes, I do enjoy writing. I love telling stories. But I hate everything that surrounds it. I hate the idea of writing query letters. I don’t want to promote myself as a writer on Twitter. Right now, this is not what I want to do.
But for a very long time, it’s what I felt I had to do. It was part of my persona, the story I built for myself. Earlier this week I lay awake almost the entire night, tossing and turning with this thought: what if I don’t want to be a writer?
Is that okay? What about my book? What about my parents who helped me publish Chocolates in the Ocean? Is this letting them down? What about the next one?
When I eventually fell asleep, I woke up not long afterwards and said to myself, ‘Okay. Let’s try and say this out loud. I don’t want to be a writer.’
In that moment I felt so free.
Like the whole world was open to me again. Like I didn’t have to be confined to this one role, the frustrated writer who doesn’t really write anyway. No more hoarding notebooks pretending that one day I would find stories to fill them. No more feeling guilty because I’d rather spend the evening playing board games, watching TV with my son or baking cakes.
There’s another way to go.
It made me think about passion. Everywhere we go, we’re surrounded by people, images, movies telling us to pursue our passion. Which is wonderful, a passionate life is incredible. But we need to stop sometimes, take the temperature of our passion, and just make sure that we are still passionate about what we believe we’re passionate about. Otherwise we’ll be locked in a life that’s all wrong for us, heading down another mistaken path.