My life is better in all ways when I create art every day.
For me, most days that means I write. I have two published novels, Dark Moon Wolf and Waxing Moon. I’m working on the third book in that trilogy, as well as a new novel-length project and a handful of short stories.
Writing every day isn’t easy for me. I work full-time. I have three kids, ages 14, 13, and 11. My husband has Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease, a major disability which requires quite a bit of managing (and means he can’t help much around the house). His disability and prognosis cause me a great deal of stress and anxiety, though I tell myself to stay in the moment, think about today, think about this hour. We have another major stressor in our family that I’m not discussing publicly–but it’s been brutally worrisome and consuming since last May.
And yet, I write. At least five days a week, I carve out time for myself and I write.
When I first committed to daily writing, it was hard.
Wait. Who am I kidding? It’s still hard! Really hard! There are many days I don’t start writing until 9 pm, when I’m already exhausted. There are days I wonder why I bother.
But the more I create, the more I want to create. And it does get easier, just like all habits, even though there are days I force myself, days I only write because I’ve promised I will. Even when it’s hard to make myself start writing, I know that I’ll come out the other side feeling much happier and proud.
My writing reflects the deep emotional truths of my life. When I’m struggling with sadness or grief or fear, those feelings end up transmogrified in the depths of my creativity and emerge onto the page in a new, crystallized form. I learn while I write and I surface from the page a better human being. I work through lots of positive emotions, too. I write about identity and motherhood. I write about the centrality of friendship in our lives. I write about the need for human connection.
You see, I write speculative fiction, both fantasy and science fiction. I find that taking real human experience and shaping it into something Completely Other provides the strongest insights and the most interesting resonance. I write what I like to read, and I have always, always, always been a lover of the fantastic.
For years, I denied the importance of my writing. For years, I demeaned my own creativity by describing my art as “not serious,” “just fantasy,” or “not literary fiction.” For years, I worried more about not being good enough than trying to get better. For years, I felt guilty for spending my time writing when the house was a mess or when I “should” be doing something else. (To all my shoulds, I say, “Says who?”) For years, I didn’t write enough.
But you know what? Writing is central to who I am. And writing speculative fiction is every bit as important as writing any more “literary” fiction.
I make no more apologies.
Art matters. Without art, what would we hold on to in times of sorrow or joy?
I am a writer. I write fantasy and science fiction. I write to reinterpret the world. I write to change the world. I write for myself. I write for you.
© Sarah E. Stevens, 2017