Friday, January 3, 2014

Never Let Go (of your dreams)

I participate in an online writer's community.  Sometimes I do it for the support.  Other times, as it becomes a means to procrastinate, I wonder why I do it at all.

Still it's mostly a great place for interaction with like minded people, and the distraction that it's become is entirely my own fault.  I suspect I'll have to give it up one day.  In the meantime, it occasionally provides me ideas for this blog.

Very recently, someone asked if anyone there has ever felt like giving up writing.  I responded, and thought it would make for a good post over here.  I've shared part of these thoughts in early posts here.  Hope everyone enjoys.

Q: Do you ever feel like giving up writing?



A:
In middle school, high school and college I wrote poetry.  Lots of it.  I tried my hand at stories a few times and didn't know how to do it.
After college, I continued to write poetry, but only sporadically.
Shortly after that I decided to try fiction.  It's where my heart was.  I spent several weeks writing a dreadful short story.  I sent it to a magazine, got a personal rejection and quit.  Once or twice a year, when inspiration struck, I'd write another poem.
(I did a lot of professional writing, Training and IT material and the sort.  I was very good at it, but it wasn't MY writing.)
I picked up the pen two or three times after that, giving a good try at it, but always looking for shortcuts.  (For instance, I still LOVE micro fiction, but I decided I was a micro fiction writer because I thought it was easier.)  My writing got better each time, but when I hit the wall or experienced what I thought was writer's block, I gave up.
This time around, I'm pouring more energy and effort into it.  Based on several things (critiques, my own enjoyment, the ability to finish a story) I can see dramatic improvement.  There are days, and sometimes several moments within days when I think I'll never be any good.  I write through those moments.
I fear that if I give up, or even take a substantial break of more than a day or two, I will never pick up writing again.
Something interesting.  I've always read.  I've always wanted to write, whether or not I'd admit that to myself.  Since college, I've always felt like I'm supposed to be doing something to fill my free moments.  It's like when you're supposed to finish a paper or study for a test but you feel guilt because you went to Waffle House with the guys instead.
For the first time, that guilty feeling is gone now that I'm writing.
I still think about quitting sometimes, but I can't afford to give in to those thoughts.
(I still write poetry for pleasure, but only when the inspiration strikes.  I write fiction (most) every day because that's what I want to do.  If the inspiration isn't there, then by golly I write until it catches up with me.)