Another year has arrived. 2021 is finally here and 2020 truly is hindsight, but alas the turmoil and troubles of 2020 haven't magically disappeared with the dawning of 2021. With that said, I still feel a renewed sense of hope and anticipation with each New Year, January 1, 2021 is no exception. While last year seemed to be historically bad, bringing a pandemic, civil unrest, and a world that seemed in even more turmoil than usual, for me personally, while it wasn't my best year, 2020 wasn't my worst year either, but rather a fittingly dour end to a rough decade of my life. My greatest hope for 2021 is that it will be the start of a new decade, a new chapter if you will, of my life, one that will bring at least a little peace and balance to the world, and to my own life.
For anyone who may follow this blog or me on my socials, you may have noticed that for the last couple of years, I've been quieter and a bit more scattered in my "public" presence and communication. I haven't posted near as much on this blog or updated the site in general starting in 2019 and even less in 2020. I've struggled the last two or three years with my "presence" on here and keeping the blog's "content" up while struggling with a chronic illness. I am hoping to change that this year. I've learned quite a bit about myself, my capabilities, and what I want out of this blog, and I hope that I can now move forward with this endeavor with new energy and with a better strategy that will allow me to keep this blog updated regularly while also continuing to work on my writing projects, as well as pursuing other interests, all the while maintaining my health and avoiding burnout.
Over the course of the last three years, I've tried different things with this site. I started out maintaining two blogs, a book blog called Modern Jo March and this one (Writing Just In Case), which is my personal blog. This worked for a time, and I truly enjoyed both blogs, especially getting to cover books and interview authors for Modern Jo March. I learned a great deal from that experience, but ultimately found that I just didn't have the time nor the energy to keep up with both. I found myself burned out by 2019, but still struggled along for a bit, posting here and there on Modern Jo March. After a long step back and some reflection on what I truly want out of this website and my "professional" life, I decided that while I did enjoy my work on Modern Jo March, ultimately it wasn't what I wanted to do professionally nor was it serving me enough creatively to warrant the energy that went into it. In January 2020, I finally decided to retire Modern Jo March and place my focus on Writing Just In Case and my other writing projects (to read more about what led me to this decision, click here).
Little did I know that retiring my book blog in January 2020 in order to narrow down the items on my plate and take a breather while I figured out my next step in life would end up being a year long hiatus, with the exception of a few posts. With the pandemic hitting in March of 2020 and the state (and country) going into quarantine lockdown for months, I had the perfect excuse to lay low and go silent, but the truth of the matter is that I just couldn't get my brain to function enough to write or really do anything but the basics of life. I touched on my struggles with Hypersensitivity & Sensory Overload in an early blog post in 2020 ending the post with a rather dreary outlook, totally unsure if I'd ever be able to function normally, let alone write again.
Fast-forward to a year later, and here I am writing again, for better or for worse. When I wrote the post a year ago, I truly couldn't see past the struggles I was dealing with and couldn't see a way that I could make all of this work with my brain being in the state it was in. I could not see a light at the end of a very dark, painful, sometimes numb and fuzzy tunnel. There were long periods of time when my brain felt like it was maxing out just trying to get through the basics of daily life, and honestly, it had me freaked out, so much so that I started exploring other professional avenues. I truly thought that any hope of continuing with my writing was lost. At times I had trouble putting enough words together to make a sentence, let alone write a full piece and have it sound intelligible.
While it may sound dramatic, I felt like my brain was revolting against me and that my world was crumbling around me. Ultimately, it felt like the straw that would break the camel's back. I'd dealt with chronic illness for eight years, all the ups and downs and the unknowns, and through it all I always told myself, "I can deal with whatever this illness throws at me, all the pain and sickness, as long as I still have my mind and creativity." Then the hypersensitivity/sensory overload started and my last stronghold was broken. My brain just couldn't seem to cope anymore. Suddenly, every day little things that I've never noticed became a problem, from lights being too bright to sounds being far too loud. Whole rooms of my house became far too bright to stay in for any length of time, the kitchen with all of its clanking and scraping was a nightmare, people's voices became too intrusive, and the normal day to day "busyness" of a household became too much to bear. More and more I found myself retreating...
Fast-forward to a little over a year after the symptoms first started and here I am, slowly learning to function in a new way. I still struggle, I still overload at times, but I'm getting better at finding my limits and triggers, and not overtaxing myself. More importantly, I'm writing again, probably not as well as I once did, but I'm doing it and enjoying it. That's what truly counts, right? Every time I think I'm through with writing, that I have to give it up, I always end up going back to it. So here I am, moving forward, with a few promising prospects on the horizon and another fresh start. Here's to a new year and a new chapter, may it be more fruitful than the last!
Born and raised in Upstate NY, Liz is a freelance writer. She has written for websites, blogs, and magazines for the last 10 years. She also acts as a proofreader and beta reader for several authors, all the while working on her first book.