journal entries

So, Hi. I’m Back.

January is over, so my official hiatus is through. I had a very particular writing schedule for myself in January (that if I was being really honest I’d tell you I rarely adhered to) and some specific goals, very few of which were met. But it was a start, and I do feel like I have a better idea of how to grow this manuscript that I’m working on and what I need to do. Which is, mostly, work my ass off.

So I wrote some, I went to the writer’s space that I rent out, I worked at home, I focused, I cut out all sorts of unnecessary distractions except for Sideshow and the sacred sex coordinating and the weekly column and the porn party. Which I know sound like a lot but were actually relatively easy to coordinate and still write. Amazing how many of the things I do that fill my days are actually superfluous, extraneous, unnecessary. It’s a good thing to remind myself.

For the last week of January I was on a DIY writing retreat up at a nearby retreat center, which was an interesting experience too. I’ve never done that before, never taken myself somewhere else to just focus on writing. The internet was out for two of the four days I was up there so it was really just me and my words. I would’ve liked to have gotten farther than I did, but I do like what I did do, so that’s good. It wasn’t completely successful but I think it’ll be easier to do next time, and it is something I’d like to do more regularly than I do.

January was not without challenges, though. I wrote about the snowstorm at the very beginning of this writing leave of absence, and the weather has been a factor, since feet (feet!) of snow, ice, and rain are often a good enough reason to stay at my lovely little home office and not trek to the writer’s space. But aside from the weather, Kristen and I have had some kind of awful fights. It seems like January hit and everything changed, though of course it’s not everything, it’s just a couple key things, things to which I’m still adjusting. That was part of the point, and part of the reason I started this month-of-writing leave-of-absence in the first place, that I was getting itchy and dissatisfied and she was going through her own stuff, so we both decided that separately and together we needed to shake things up, make some significant changes in what we do daily and, to a certain extent, our emotional landscapes too.

I don’t want to get too much into that. Partly because some of that belongs to Kristen and partly because I don’t have a good grasp of it in my head yet, so I’m not ready to write through it publicly. But we’ve been fighting. And it has at times completely thrown off my writing.

And then, on top of the weather and the fighting, I’ve been sick. It’s actually kind of rare for me to get sick, I generally take good care of my own health, but somehow this cold has gotten away from me. I’m still sick, actually, and this is the third wave of the sickness, I’ve gotten better twice before and then had some sort of relapse where it seems like it started all over again. I went to the doctor when it started up the second time, which I rarely do, and of course they just told me it was a cold, but I guess it’s good that it wasn’t bronchitis or something. But I thought I was getting better! I even went to the gym! And I went on that retreat! I was okay! But now: sore throat, congested sinuses, which is how it started the other times. This time I’m so congested that I can’t taste anything, or smell anything. Isn’t that weird? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything and had absolutely no taste of it before, it is kind of freaky. I’m sure it’s just temporary, and I really should remember that, both about the taste thing and about the sickness, since I can be a kind of lousy patient and just sit around moaning about how sick I am. That’s not very attractive or fun or Daddy-like. Not that I’m saying I should “take it like a man” or anything, just that I could probably have a bit more self-control and that would be fine. It’s just so annoying to be sick, it’s hard not to express that annoyance.

And it really is getting in the way of writing!

I guess this is something I need to learn: how to keep my writing steady even if other shit is going on. How to let writing be my refuge from all the other shit, instead of needing the other shit to be calm and fine and in place in order to do the writing. Problem is, my brain really has not worked for the last four weeks! So of course the writing I’m producing has been pretty, well, thoughtless. And extremely frustrating.

Even if these distractions weren’t going on, this writing project would still be hard. I’m kicking up some memories and trying to wade through them, organize them, and write about them eloquently. I’m not sure if this will end up where I think it’s going, but for now I’m just trying to generate content, and have something to edit and improve.

So, my point is that my hiatus may continue in February—I’m going to keep focusing on this manuscript. But I also hope that I’m going to write here, too, and use this place as my morning pages. And of course I still have some events I’m hosting, and I need to get the manuscript together for the lesbian BDSM erotica anthology, so there is much to work on. Oh yeah, and I have some events too, so I’ll be doing some traveling to Boston and Philadelphia and upstate New York to Syracuse. (More about those soon, I’ll post a full event schedule.) And you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been posting some reviews lately; I still have a few in my back-log but I’m not taking on nearly as many as I used to. It’s great to have access to new products, and I’m enjoying building up my porn collection, but I don’t have the time to review all that I used to, and I have a very specific wishlist of products I’m picking from these days.

It’s a new year, and things are changing. Time to pick up the pace and jump over the hurdles and accomplish some shit. Which for me, first and foremost, means writing a book.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

4 thoughts on “So, Hi. I’m Back.”

  1. Sounds like relief-itis. Lots of people experience the same thing – some relief of pressure “causes” them to fall sick. Caring for a dying loved one, working extra hours toward a project, etc. Seems like we force ourselves to “be well” while we feel we can’t afford to be sick. But when the pressure is relieved, bam! One of those dragging illnesses strike us down.

    I hope things go well for you from here!

    1. Sinclair says:

      You could be right, I hadn’t thought of it that way. It definitely was a more inward month than usual, and I’ve been a bit more relaxed. That could have something to do with it.

  2. I’m so sorry things are tough. I am trying to learn the same lesson: to get important tasks done even when everything else is going to shit. For me, those important tasks are homework and finding a job. Pretty big! But then life happens and I think, “well after this week (month, project, visit, death in the family, poverty, illness, etc.) is over, then I can get back to what really matters.” That doesn’t really work, of course, as I think we’re both struggling to learn. My support is with you, as always.

  3. Kyle says:

    I agree with Dena.. I always worry about getting sick when I go on vacation. Vacation is about disconnecting and letting down your guard, and sometimes your guard has been holding off illness.

    I feel the same need with regard to writing, that I need to work on writing regularly no matter what (well, within reason). We’re writers, that means we should be writing, right? ;-) Best of luck in your continued efforts to make space for writing. You’re inspiring me.

Leave a Reply