This morning I opened my computer to six half-started (or half-finished depending if you’re a glass empty or full person) articles. Some have been there days; others more like weeks heading into months.
I’ve been telling myself I just need a day to work on them. That if I could just grab some hours without interruption I’d be able to get them finished. But today, I had that. So I opened the articles. And then I closed them again.
Because here’s the honest to God truth I’ve known for a while now:
I don’t want to write articles anymore.
The first article I ever published was with Huffington Post in 2016. From there I was lucky enough to be taken under the wing of an editor who later moved to Network Ten and took me with him. In the last five years, as well as writing for Huffington Post and Network Ten, I’ve written for Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, news.com.au, Mamamia, Kidspot, Essential Kids, SA Life Magazine and numerous platforms overseas, including being one of the top writers for both Elephant Journal and Medium.
It’s work I’m proud of — work I built from the ground up, work I accomplished in the midst of raising four children, work I have poured myself into, and work that has formed much of my reputation as a writer. But it’s also work I needed to do to generate an income. Work that I know now, without any doubt, no longer brings me the joy it once did.
And it’s difficult to admit that. It’s difficult to step away from something that has formed my identity as a writer in so many ways. It’s difficult to look at the number of readers and followers I have, and to think of the amazing community I’ve built, and wonder if stepping away from that is the right call, or not.
But I’ve always believed life to be seasonal — that things come into our life and serve us for a season before we move onto the next thing. Being able to freelance for the last five years has been a wonderful blessing for me, but has also left me with little time and energy to work on the more creative/artistic projects I’ve been wanting to explore that have patiently remained in my peripheral for the right time to be pursued.
My new role with Writers SA has provided me with two (among many other) invaluable things. Firstly, a regular income. Secondly, it has reminded me how passionate I am about being a creative artist and keeping the creative arts alive and flourishing in our society — now, more than ever.
What I want is to write poetry that speaks of the human condition and its response to our society. I want to write spoken word poems again; to explore the richness and beauty and heartache of what it means to be alive and have the opportunity to perform them across the country (when the world allows for that to happen again) and meet and share words with other wonderful creative humans. I want to tell stories, to lose myself in the glorious world of fiction. To write the book(s) that have been on my heart forever that have begged to find their home on the page.
None of these things will pay the bills, which is precisely why they have been pushed aside for so long. But now I have a job I absolutely love which also provides me with an income, so nothing I write anymore HAS to make money. It only has to bring me joy and fulfillment, and that’s something I haven’t felt in my writing for a long time.
And it’s not that I’ll never write an article again in my life. But saying out loud that freelancing will no longer be my main focus as a writer gives me a feeling of much peace; a deep knowing in my spirit that this is right for me at this time. Because, we know. We know when we’re not living authentically. When we’re not aligned with the calling of our soul. We know when our current season has come to a close and trying to hold onto something that no longer serves us will only ever be detrimental to not just who we are now, but also who we are yet to become, if we but have the courage to walk the untrodden path before us.
Thank you to everyone who has read my articles over the last five years and responded and encouraged me, I can’t tell you how thankful I am. I’m not going anywhere and will still be here but just in a somewhat different capacity — still sharing words but less articles and more wherever the creative breeze blows me on any given day. No doubt I’ll still throw in a good rant here and there because, you know, it’s me.
But for now, I’m going to take all the pressure and expectation of the last five years off myself. I’m going to remember that I do not need to be seen to be producing to call myself a writer. I’m going to remember that I do not need to be paid for my work to call myself a writer. I’m going to remember I do not need to show up on social media to justify myself as a writer.
The only person I need to show up for is myself.
It’s a little scary. But mostly, I am so excited to be stepping into this new unknown.
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