It is easy to explain why I stopped; in fact I believe I have done so in previous posts. I moved to a new city and a new job. My new job is extremely demanding. At the end of each very long work day, I am emotionally and intellectually worn out. Words have deserted my head. I have turned instead to painting as my creative outlet.
Waiting for me, I have one complete first draft of a novel awaiting revisions. I have a first draft of another novel two-thirds finished. I have scraps of paper with poems on them waiting to be typed up, or refined, or sent off somewhere. For a long time, probably at least four years, I have not touched any of it.
Harder to explain is why I have returned to writing all of a sudden. I am not working on any of the works in progress that I have described above. Rather, I returned to the speculative fiction piece that I first had the idea for 25 years ago when my second child was a baby. At that time, I scratched out 20 pages longhand while the baby slept, when I was supposed to be doing a multivariate analysis of covariance on my thesis data.
I returned to it once again several years ago and rewrote those twenty pages in preparation for a NaNoWriMo that I ended up not participating in. And now I have returned to it once again. I have made a few revisions and added a little more to the modest initial few pages, but mostly I have been writing backstory. In the 25 years that have passed, the futuristic novel has now morphed into an idea for a series. Ha! We'll see if I can get one novel down onto the pages and properly revised and polished.
So what has nudged me into starting again? I give full credit to Margaret Atwood. I have been reading her recent wonderful short story collection, Stone Mattress. Her book begins with three linked stories that feature a Dark Lady, a male poet, and a writer named Constance. Constance has created a fantasy world named Alphinland that exists in parallel with her "real" existence. Alphinland disconcertingly becomes almost more real than reality in the lives of people she knew in her early twenties when she was starting out as a writer and world builder, and whom she reconnects with late in her life.
Beautiful writing, especially about writers writing, sometimes inspires me to write. Also, it was the words "world builder." They brought my own fictional story world flooding back into my head. Fortuitously, I happened to have an empty Sunday afternoon because there is so little snow that the ski hill is closed, followed by a long airplane ride a couple of days later. Instead of reading on the plane, I wrote. I gave myself permission to work on what was dancing through my head, rather than on the revisions to the previous novel that I "should" be doing.
So there it is. Wish me luck.