Well, today has been the last day of my rather long absence from my day job. Almost four months in all.
In a bizarre way, I think it's actually been one of the best things that's happened to me in a while. 2011's been a funny year; on the surface, things looked pretty good, and they should have been. I have good friends, I finally got a second novel commissioned... on the surface, stuff seemed good. But wasn't. I've been unhappy for some time, I think. The time off has given me a breathing space, a time to take stock, reflect and think about what I really want to do.
Writing, of course, remains a big part of it. I've written elsewhere about how I'm changing my approach to writing to make it less of a bloody ordeal and more of something fun, enjoyable, exciting, exhilarating... the way it used to be. In many ways, it's less of a new approach than an old one- going back to my roots.
Tomorrow, I start back. It's a phased return to work, so I won't be flung back in at the deep end. My employers have been pretty damn decent about it all, I have to say.
In a way, it's almost welcome, even though one of the conclusions I came to was that I'm going to have to change careers. (Me and the rat race are not made for each other. We never have been, but the bills have to be paid. I just lacked the gumption and self-confidence to believe I could do more.) Writing The Faceless gave me structure and a routine while I was off work. With that finished, it got harder to maintain that routine, and that's not a good thing. That way lies not going to bed till 4am and staying in bed till 1 in the afternoon. For me, that tends to mean nothing gets done, and I hate that.
I'll be going back for now, and I'll do my job to the best of my ability. But I'll also be studying part time for a counselling qualification. Oh, and writing. I think I finally know how to rewrite The Song Of The Sibyl into publishable form. And after that, there's a new novel or two to write.
And I'm going to have some fun as well. Another thing I realised this year: I've been putting my life on hold, letting work and writing consume my whole life. And that is not the way things are supposed to be.
So 2011 has been a funny year, a mixed bag- but one, I hope, that finally started to make things right again. I'm hoping that 2012- as long as that Mayan calendar bullshit is just that- will be a year where I'll build on what I learned here, and go on to new and better things.
Thanks to everyone who's listened to me moan and bitch, or given support or advice. It's been greatly appreciated.
So- tomorrow, back to work. Wish me luck!