Although I have always considered myself a writer, I have also spent many years not writing. In fact, for most of high school, college, and my 20s, I didn’t write at all. Not one story, not one poem. During that period, I was mostly entangled in living the life of a depressed alcoholic, while trying to keep my shit somewhat together in the meantime. So, you could say I didn’t have time to write, but the truth was that I was really in no place to write.
I didn’t start writing seriously—and by seriously I mean that I committed to sitting down and doing it at least once a week—until 2006, one year after I got sober. Two things happened when I committed to the practice of writing. Number one, I found that it was hard. It challenged me on nearly every level and forced me to look honestly at my addictions, my demons, my self-loathing, and my depression. Number two, it felt better than anything I had ever done before. It felt like a huge relief to open doors within myself that had been closed for years and let all those long-buried thoughts and feelings pour out of me onto the page.
I spent 2006 until 2008 writing a huge sprawling mess of a memoir about my drinking days. I wasn’t thinking about revisions. I wasn’t thinking about publishing. I wasn’t even thinking about showing it to anyone, ever. It was just for me. My manuscript was this totally private place that I went to record the things I had seen and felt and lived through. It was a special, intimate refuge where I could be completely myself, drop out of daily life for a little while, and slow down enough to sift through my feelings and make sense of my past.
Then, I finished it. And then, I started another manuscript. Then I started a writing group. I got more and more dedicated to writing until I decided I wanted to try writing fiction, and I loved it. Then I started a blog and then I started coaching other writers. Things just sort of snowballed until I was at this point where I was…