At this time of year, it is natural to assess one’s progress and goals. I recently felt like throwing in the towel, giving up on writing. So I did some soul-searching. Here’s how it went:
December 16, 2013
I have made so much progress since I began writing again. I have advanced more in the past three years in knowledge and skill than I have my entire life combined. I finished a novel, went through edits and beta reading. The whole process, without quitting. Of course, it will probably sit in a drawer now because it needs some more work and I needed a break from it, to let it “age” for a bit.
My blog has done surprisingly well, for its’ first year. There have been some comments and discussions, and as of today there are 630 followers, so someone is reading it! I do enjoy writing the posts, it keeps me sharp, and maybe someday it will get more traffic. But for now, I do it just to have a presence, and because, well, subjects come into my head and I am compelled to express how I feel. And I want to know how others feel about the topics I write about.
So right now I should be chomping at the bit, cranking out the words on my next project, but I hesitate. Sometimes it is just so hard! It is hard work to get it right. Hell, I may never “get it right”. It seems a waste to do all that work- books and books and books, and possibly end up with nothing to show for it.
Work concerns, the new shop (we launched another business this year), and family issues have been taking my attention away recently, making it difficult to focus on writing. But all of that is getting under control now so I have to decide – do I even want to continue writing? Or have I been wasting my time?
Why do I want to write novels?
Because I thought I might have some talent, it might be a way to get personal recognition. There, I said it, I admit it!
But you know what? That is only a surface reason. The true, deep reason, the push from my soul (and not my ego) is because I enjoy creating. Stories come to me. I have been writing stories and writing down my thoughts and feelings since I learned how to spell. All those years I wasn’t writing fiction, I journaled, I wrote essays, wrote poetry and I read tons of books.
I suppose since I can tell that my writing skills have definitely improved, they cannot get any worse. I may not be “good enough” yet, but I am better than I was before, even if only by a degree. And I can certainly continue to improve.
Maybe I have needed this break from writing; life intervened to force me to focus on other things for a time. It was good to take a step back. I have been pushing so hard to learn and improve, that I had become mentally stressed over it. And that can’t be good for creativity.
I will regroup soon. I feel maybe I should just keep writing the stories and let them all out, then go back later and figure out what the heck to do with them.
December 22, 2013
I asked the Universe on the solstice (yesterday was Yule) to guide me and send me the inspiration, mentors, ideas, and time to write the story I am meant to write. I did the same thing on the summer solstice, and a few days later I came up with the idea for a four-book series.
The intuition/guidance I got back yesterday was, “Write it from the beginning. Just write it.”
So now I have like 200 pages of outlines. It feels as though I am about to begin my own personal quest for the Holy Grail. Why couldn’t it be something simple, like a quick, fluffy romance or an erotic short story? Oh no, it has to be an Epic Saga. Great. Thanks.
So I had to ask, “Whose story is it?”
It is the whole damn family. The parents. The aunts. The sisters, and how they use their elemental powers. The whole society, really, because there is an overarching theme of the dangers of being overly politically-correct, a society that favors conformity above diversity. This project feels like it does not want a conventional structure, but I am leery because everything I read says it won’t sell if you do not adhere to specific genre guidelines. I am not sure exactly what genre it is, either. Romance? Fantasy? Paranormal? It has elements of all those.
So I guess I am not giving up after all, I just needed to recharge my writerly batteries. Bottom line is- I have to do this for me. If I do it for anyone else it will not ring true. Hopefully, it will be something that others will want to read. I have been looking for a story like this, and unable to find it in another book. So I just have to write it and see how it plays out.
December 27, 2013
So I read and organized all my notes and outlines. I re-read what I had written (about 3,000 words), adding a scene here, cutting a line there. Now that I have outlined the series, it made sense to clarify and foreshadow some things that I had not known when I first wrote the beginning chapters.
Today I started writing again, fresh new words. I have a map (my outline) and I have my internal GPS (my intuition), the rest will come as I write.
When you travel to a place you have never been, a physical map and GPS help to guide you to your destination. But the scenery, the weather, the other travelers you encounter, all the components (good and bad) that make a trip memorable, come from the experience of actually making the journey. A map can only hint at the route, a GPS can only direct you in the moment. It is the memories you have of the experience of the journey that has the most impact.
So I vow not to worry too much about the destination (making a “perfect” novel) as long as I can enjoy and feel satisfied with the journey (writing).
December 30, 2013
There is not much more to say, but there is plenty to do. I have been given a gift of time, creativity and support. Since the Universe has blessed me with these, it is my duty to do my best to make good use of it.
In 2014 I am going to focus more on writing actual books, than on social media, critique group, conferences, or anything else. I love those things, and will continue to participate, but this year, writing the books comes first. Just writing. The editing, the promo, all that comes later, once I have material.
This will be the Year of Creativity. I feel it. I give myself permission.
Wish me luck!