Perseverance

I’ve been writing! Not always here, but somewhere. I get stuck in my bubble of boring, researched, dry articles and then I hide far away from that and work on a story for me. I am taking a class at San Diego Writers, Ink, and that’s been really wonderful and nourishing for my jaded writers soul. It’s refreshing to know I’m not the only one out there who gets stuck. That I’m not the only one out there who worries that my writing won’t be good enough, my voice not interesting enough, my stories not exciting enough. It’s been a good step for me to write and to actually let other people read it. I think that I’ve finally grown up enough to take criticism from other folks on my beloved fiction. I actually find myself itching for it, for feedback and ways to make myself better. That’s a big step, right?

We had a short conversation in class that was really disheartening to me, though. I know that stories and writing are formulaic – I mean, everything artistic that ever makes it mainstream is, right? Music, movies, and of course books. I didn’t realize, however, just how formula based some publications are and how business-like some writers approach this whole book writing business. I didn’t even know it was possible for a writer to churn out a half-dozen novels a year and I was naive enough to not realize that authors at times carry different pen names in order to publish more and in different genres. I mean, I have no problem with writers writing in different genres and I guess I do understand the stigma that comes with having a name that people associate with a certain type of writing. I suppose I just didn’t realize what a business this is for many people, rather than an art. I have this romantic notion of an author spilling their heart and soul into a book, not pumping them out according to a certain a+b = income equation. It kind of hurt my heart.

I quit my real job, I am poor (financially, anyway,) and I have a dream of writing books. My teacher reiterated something that I think is really important for me to remember in all of this. In the very first class, he mentioned that the one person you really should be writing for is you. I don’t want to forget this. I quit my job to be happier and to have more time at home and to pursue a dream. I hate that the American dream often revolves around a 60 hour work week and very little family time. I want to revolt against that and I want to live a life for me. I want to enjoy all of it, all of the time and not let it pass me by while I am too busy in the office. I want to write stories for my children to read to their children, and I want to love what I am doing in my heart. I want to inspire people to do things just a little bit differently, and I think I am taking the right steps. I will keep trucking forward and continue to spill my heart and my soul into pages of books or short stories, and maybe they will be read by you one day. Most of all, I will persevere through insecurities, feedback, rejections and criticism because I’m getting the impression that’s really the hardest part of trying to become a published writer. Time to keep on keepin’ on!

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Growing My Writing Muscles

So, here’s the thing about trying to get started with a job in writing since I’ve never had one before. I’ve got no experience. I don’t have a degree in English or lit or journalism, I don’t have anything exciting published. It’s a dream, and that’s it. I’ve got some ideas of what I think I should do to make this dream happen. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1) Write everyday. I’ve heard this over and over again, and it must be true. I’ve noticed even writing the dry how-to articles that I am doing for work is helping me become clearer and faster with my writing. It’s exercising my writing muscles.

2) Write for yourself. Sure, bills have to be paid but my goal is to carve out some time every day to write for myself by either working on my stories, on this blog or another one I’m a contributor to over at Radio Acres Farm. Dry, boring research copy will only get me so far before my sanity is shot and I decide I hate writing, after all.

3) It’s going to be necessary to write for other outlets that I won’t get paid for, in order to get more practice in and to try to break through the publishing wall. Get over it. It’s good to have other prompts and styles to work on.

4) Classes are probably a good idea. I am currently taking a fiction writing class, and I should probably continue to sign up for workshops and classes whenever possible to learn more. Even classes where I feel like I’ll already know everything. Especially those classes.

5) I need to be extraordinarily persistent, and networking doesn’t hurt, either. I’ve already submitted a handful of unsolicited articles and short fiction into the ether and haven’t heard back. I think this will be common. I need to keep my chin up and push forward.

6) A bit of good old-fashioned luck wouldn’t hurt. With everything so web-based, it’s tough to “get in” with the right people. Someone out there just has to like something they read, then we’ll go from there. Fingers are crossed! I have faith.

I’m sure that there are many other things I will come up with as time goes on. If you’ve got any other ideas for ways to keep working my writing muscles, I would love to hear them. Any bits of sage advice, or ways to find luck are also much appreciated.

Trajectories

Life trajectories are a funny thing. You can be on a good, straight one for a long time, and then something happens to push you just a little off of your intended course. At that instant the end you were aiming for shifts.

Trajectories, by their very nature, are passive courses taken by an object that was hurled onto that path at some point. We can choose to stay on the trajectory we were pushed onto, waiting to either hit our goal or have some other force knock us off track. Or, we can choose to stop being passively rolled along our given course and choose our own direction, a different direction. I am shooting for the latter.

I’ve been thinking of starting a personal blog for a long time. I’ve wanted to be a writer of some sort for as long as I can remember. Through life’s forces, I’ve been many things but the one I’ve dreamed of. I recently quit my real job, picked up a side job doing copy writing for a huge article mill (that I won’t mention by name) and am setting my sights on doing everything I can to ultimately write novels. Why not start here? I am 100% positive that other folks out there have my same desire, maybe not to be a novelist but some other deep dark secret goal. Maybe my trajectory-changing journey will be inspiration for you, too.