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  • Eloise Unerman

Are We There Yet?

So, there was something I really wanted - needed, actually - to talk about.

I might've mentioned before that I spent a not-insignificant time away from writing because of my mental health. And I'm still recovering from that. I'm trying to open myself up again, to find where writing belongs now that everything inside my brain's been rearranged. I just wanted to share a little of what's happening.

I got a new phone shortly before lockdown kicked in in March, and I downloaded a bunch of new apps. What that mostly meant was discovering the sleep soundscapes from Headspace and being converted into a fitness zombie by 'Zombies, Run!'.

I was redownloading old apps too and Werdsmith was one of them. I was never one for writing every day, just because I didn't want to. I didn't enjoy it. But, after spending months not wanting to put pen to paper, I decided to put finger to keyboard instead. And I wrote a poem every day.

That only lasted about a week, but it set something in motion.

Getting a new phone helped me recover in lots of little ways. I'm proud of how far I've walked, how I've taken to meditation, the fact that I'm learning Hebrew and Mandarin. These weren't things the old me needed, but they're what I need now.

When I started writing professionally, things moved very fast. I knew exactly what I needed to do next. I knew that, no matter what, I could rely on myself to write. In comparison, finding that momentum again is incredibly slow. But getting frustrated, feeling disappointed, doesn't encourage it to come out of hiding. So baby steps it is.

It started with writing once a day. In fact, no, it started with writing script for the first time in my life so I could apply for a games writing apprenticeship. And then learning how to write narratives for games.

But, as I was saying before I rudely interrupted, it started with once a day. And then not at all.

Then I made writing resources (and totally sucked at sticking to a proper update schedule - sorry to anyone who follows me on Twitter).

I tossed around some ideas for my website too. I liked the idea of trying to engage more with people online, trying to find that momentum there. But, now that I've had a few months to stew on that, I don't think that's what I need anymore. I'll still be posting as I have been, but with more of a focus on my website being a showcase or portfolio rather than a point of activity.

On July 30th, I made my first magazine submission of 2020. For reference, I used to submit to two magazines every month.

I started looking at old Mslexia magazines dating as far back as December 2018, reading articles I'd never touched because I was too busy with other things. Gently soaking it in, enjoying the feel of the pages. (Also I can't be the only out there who thinks they smell nice, right?) It makes me feel a little more connected to the parts of my writing personality that I still want to carry with me.

My point, with all these loosely related things, is that I'm starting to heal. The plot's thickening, very slowly. And I'm not there yet.

I don't know what comes next. Hell, I don't even completely know how my poetry might've changed now that I've got a mental breakdown under my belt.

And I think it's better that I don't know, easier if I just trust that I'll get there somehow. Sometimes I'll feel like I've veered off-course. I was drawn back into writing by something new (writing for games), and even that new avenue can get lost.

I'm not in any rush. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be right now. And so are you, wherever you are, wherever you're going.

We'll get there eventually.

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