It’s been quite the blogging minute hasn’t it? This is actually my fifth attempt to write a post in the last month and for a hot minute I thought I’d just lean into the writer’s block, upload a photo album of cat pictures, and be done with it. But today while walking home from Starbucks, I started writing a post in my head — this post actually — which was my cue that it was time to get out of the dugout and swing.
Life lately has been the calm after a storm. A few weeks ago I got a feature pitch chosen for Psychology Today but with the condition that the first draft be done in a week. 13 interviews, 4,000 words later, I popped out of my apartment on a Tuesday morning in search of a caffeine IV and hoping for nothing else than to spend the rest of the week sleeping more than four hours a night. The feature dives into how YouTube is changing the way we understand and view mental illness, and is an idea I’ve been shopping around for about a year now. Upon turning in the final edits, I immediately started crying from a mixture of relief and pride. Five years ago when I first started freelance writing, I had no idea what I was getting into. It takes real stubbornness and heart to not let the stampede of rejection letters (or worst, never hearing back) damper your determination to continue. Having this opportunity was all built upon years of writing tiny pieces, each a brick laying a solid foundation to pitch to magazines I could only dream about. So should you have an interest in YouTube or mental illness or just want to put a magazine on your coffee table to impress your suitors, my piece will be on news stands in the May edition of Psychology Today. There even is a picture and quote in the front! I mean, what! It’s a pretty long way from the piece on limo lights and buses I published when I was 19.
^^ This is my family and I toasting the piece being officially done! Man, they were champs fielding many a late night phone panics and constantly checking in to make sure I hadn’t just decided to run away. Bless them. ^^
Post- Psych Today feature, it’s like the day after graduation where you go home, hang up your cap and gown, and realize the laundry and dishes still need to be done. Despite the fact that for 30 days I’ll be able to walk past the tiny Chelsea Market news stand to see this May edition, I still have to keep pitching. Keep enjoying those rejection letters and not taking it personally when people don’t call back (It’s them, not me! Right?). It’s taken a while to find my equilibrium again and though my list of ideas continues to grow, my desire to write has gone into hibernation.
In a video by musician Tessa Violet, she cautions viewers against placing their value in the things they produce as some seasons are for creating and some seasons are for enjoying other people’s creativity. One of the scariest things for me as a journalist is the fear I’ll forget everything. I know this is crazy but bear with me. Because writing is something I so deeply enjoy, it can be really hard when it suddenly stops motivating me. I fear I’ll become irrelevant, forgot how to put sentences together and ideas I want to pitch. Yes, this fear can propel me forward in the short term, but long term it can cause extreme stress and burn out.
I’m learning that it’s okay, and needed, to take a step back after long, hard projects; to trust that one day again, I will be walking home from Starbucks and start crafting stories in my head. But I have to enjoy all the moments in-between because when it comes to writing, this love affair isn’t going anywhere. If we can make it through underpaid profiles on fitness gurus and nail art, we can make it through just about anything. So cheers to the summer’s of creativity to come and an ever growing trust and enjoyment of the journey in-between.