Back in kindergarten, I was a writing fiend! My teacher told my parents at every parent-teacher night that I had a wild imagination. I was constantly drawing with crayons and putting together short stories (with female protagonists :)) to share in class. I am not sure what happened between then and now but that fire seemed to be lost. Almost 25 years later, I wonder why I did not pursue creative writing?
As ‘adulting’ has become ever present in my life, I have had to pick and choose where my free time is spent: volleyball, running, reading, blogging, guitar, learning Italian, etc. Excuses, I know. Writing has always been a point of vulnerability for me as the older I’ve gotten, the more I feel that the author puts their life experiences into their work – intentionally or not. You could say that fear is part of why I am so hesitant but also, what message am I trying to share? What do I have to say that I think others can learn from? That is probably the problem right there, thinking that I have to please potential readers.
As I dove into the Write Stuff: Publishing Resources series, I got an itch to contribute my own writing and wrote a short story. I struggled writing that since I knew I was mixing in some of my own faults and experiences and couldn’t tell the difference between real and imagined. It is funny that I have always thought being an author and writing for a living would be inspiring and I could be like Jane the Virgin or other fictional characters portrayed in television and film. Inspiration just strikes and off they go! I recently read The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett and learned that there is much more work that goes into those aha moments than a flash of genius.
I imagined retreating to a cabin in the woods, a beach house, a hotel room, anything to escape the real world and go off the grid. I think that can help, BUT I think that reflecting on your own life, journaling, and studying authors you admire can also help. I’ve attended a couple of writing workshops and I leave energized every time. When I sit down though, with a blank googledoc, post-its, and a new journal, I’m stuck. I have all the required “tools” but it’s not all about that.
It’s funny, I look back on my studies in higher education and wonder if I had chosen creative writing or literature as a program of study, would things have been different? It’s like with your strengths, it’s on the tip of your nose, staring you in the face, but you just can’t see it until someone tells you! However, I don’t think those studies are mandatory to produce good writing, it may even be a blinder. Life experiences are what are transferable and what I can imagine goes into sharing good stories.
I also don’t want to ignore the fact that I do blog consistently and my heart and soul go into each original post I write. It counts! To me it does! Now if this type of writing makes me an author, sign me up for making a living this way!
What do you imagine an author’s life is like?