I’ve had lots of experience teaching and like you I was a TA in grad school. I also worked as a reader for an academic journal and copy-edited a major book for one of my professors because he needed a reader who understood equations and his economic models. I finished my PhD, and taught as a professor of city planning for 25 years.
Your question prompts me to consider what I will do differently as an independent writer. Looking back, I didn’t find my spot in academe. I made an accommodation to fit where I had a good job. I supported my family and could do many things I enjoy but I didn’t have an expansive experience where I explored, and I missed many opportunities out of fear of not fitting in or not making it. I didn’t find a milieu that encouraged creativity, and I didn’t drive myself to create it.
I think a month of not worrying about mistakes and thinking about my dreams is so helpful.