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!