It’s hard to return to your passion when you’ve been out of the game for years, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth picking up again.
I’ve been writing since I was seven years old, and I can remember the first story I wrote as a child, about wanting to be an astronaut and travel to Jupiter, having just learned about the planets in elementary school. The development of my writing skill has grown from writing short haiku poems that were published in the local newspaper in the ’90’s (something my mother is still enthused about showing people if brought up), to writing bad “poetry” and sloppy short stories in a journal as a goth middle school girl in the very early 2000’s, to eventually moving on and joining online RP writing communities in my high school days. I had developed a nightly ritual of writing anywhere from 500-1,500 word posts and then I would wait in anticipation for someone to respond with their character, so on and so forth (these forums were basically fanfiction’s roleplaying cousin, where a popular anime’s/movie/book’s setting would be the backdrop as users would create their own characters, writing in limited third person, and god moding — controlling the actions and words of another person’s character in your post — was forbidden).
Then graduation came, and I lost all interest in creative writing while pursuing college degrees, being forced to churn out paper after paper for classes. Working full-time while attending college full-time simultaneously proved to be too difficult to bare, and I chose to pause on my higher education while working mandatory overtime at a call center. During my time in this call center I got the idea for a book with such a large concept I felt overwhelmed by it, so I chose to sit on that for half a decade while I pondered the kinks that I felt.
What I learned while working my ass off at a dead end job that I absolutely despised with every fiber of my being was that letting my passion dry up and wither away, living without pursuing the creative avenues I had been blessed with only reaped sadness, bitterness, and regret. Only when I finally began to pursue writing again did I gain back a sense of who I was and what I truly wanted to do with my life.
So what do we do when we realize we’ve been running the wrong direction for the past ten years, and we feel like we’re so behind of where we could be if only we had been advantageous enough to continue on the path we had been before. Well, first step is to stop comparing what you had before to what you have now, to start being grateful for seeing the error in your ways at all, and we pick ourselves back up and begin the journey again.
Is it going to suck being shitty at something that you were great at a decade ago? Of course it is, but the point is to enjoy the hobby of making the art even if it is shitty, because one day you’ll create something magnificent and awe-inspiring, but that can only happen if you try first.
Many people continue on in their lives, shedding their passions and drives as the world weighs down on them with responsibilities and expectations. Not to say that responsibilities and expectations aren’t a necessary stress that we need to experience and learn to handle as we age from children to adults, but don’t let them keep you from doing the things you love and enjoy, even if you only get to do it for ten or fifteen minutes a day. Even if it’s a painting, dance, or manuscript that you won’t ever show anyone, it’s the time and practice you’ve put into something to better not only yourself, but the world around you.
So artists, do not let your creativity wither away in the face of exhaustion, expectations, and demands. Use your art as an escape, and pursue your passion projects, even into adulthood.