Monday, April 18, 2016

Giving Up Writing—Open Book Blog Hop

I don't know that I ever truly thought about giving up writing, but there was a time frame when writing gave up on me.

As many of you know, my first love in writing was poetry. Although I never considered myself great, I did feel some of what I wrote was pretty darn good. Good enough that I've been published in literary magazines in both the U.S. and Canada, and won a few small awards.

For a long time, I couldn't imagine ever not writing poetry. Snatches of poems came to me easily, and although they all didn't get developed into a full-fledged poems, it was enough for me to develop the habit of always keeping a notepad and pen handy so I wouldn't lose the bits and pieces. One of the first things I did when we bought a new truck was put a clipboard and tablet under the front seat so paper would always be handy. I have binders and boxes filled with my poems.

But somewhere along the way, and I can't pinpoint the exact time, my muse left me. My scratchpads remained empty and the words disappeared. I believe it was partly tied to changes in my career, which demanded very logical thinking. The more time I spent focusing on my job and training to move to the job I wanted, the less time and energy I had for creative thinking. I might have written one poem every six months or so and I felt as if I'd never recapture the writing spark.

I'd lost an important part of who I was.

Three things happened in close proximity that changed that.

First, I was passed by when an opening came up for the job I wanted. Twice. I had a choice to make. Either stay with my current employer and pursue a different segment of the field or go elsewhere. I chose to stay, which ultimately turned out to be a good decision. It also opened up some spare time for me.

Second, I heard about NaNo. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's National Novel Writing Month. That's right, it's a challenge to write 50,000 words or more during the month of November, basically an entire novel. The concept intrigued me.

Third, I ran across some fan fiction in an old forum that drew my interest. I tracked down an entire story from old posts that spanned several years. It sparked the desire to try writing a book myself. So November rolled around and I did. Try, that is. I wrote 49,000 words and ran out of story and time. But I didn't give up. I rewrote that book and expanded it so it was over 50,000 words. And by the time I was done with it, another story waited for me. (Which was good, because the first one wasn't very good.) And I haven't stopped writing since.

You can find links to my books HERE  (Oh come on, you didn't think I wouldn't sneak in a promo?)

So my muse really wasn't gone. It was just transforming. I've now published four books and am working on the fifth. And a sixth is rolling around in my head. Now I have more story than I have time.

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"April 18, 2016 - Write about the time you almost gave up writing for good
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  1. My own experience writing poetry is that you really do need a muse much more so than narrative writing. I can fake narrative writing ... just babble for a few pages about almost anything and the story will start to flow, but poetry -- to be good poetry -- I needed to feel the musicality of it. Thus, I never wrote a lot of poetry. The talent to take bits of phrases and transform them into a poem is I always admire in others.

  2. I wish I'd known about NaNo when I was having trouble writing! I would have been able to get out of my funk a lot sooner, but like you, fanfiction played a part in it. We have a lot of things in common here!

  3. I've never tried NaNo. But, I will one of these days. Glad you tried it and found your writing muse again.