1. Writing is a lonely business.
3. No one can help you except professionals.
4. The publishing industry is against you.
While going through all my old writing idea folders, I found that the first folder was simply titled "50 Words". Inside, I found four 50-word short stories that I had written that I had never done anything with. Along with taking these little gems, dusting them off a bit, and doing some research on where I could send them, I also got a great idea for a blog entry.
When struggling to figure out where to start with your writing, whether you're new to it or have been doing it for years but you're a little rusty, my advice is to take baby steps. Think of a baby. A baby has a very short attention span. Many readers are the same. This is not a negative or derogatory comment. People are just busy these days. They're longing for an escape, but maybe they only have a few minutes to do so before they have to dive back into their real lives. I happen to be one of those people. A short story every now and then would be perfect for them.
Start with a very short story, a poem, an idea. Nothing says you have to have the next Great American Novel right out of the gate. Something simple yet impactful and meaningful to you will do. Polish that little gem up to the best of your ability. Maybe let some of your writing partners or friends read it to see what they think. Then send that little gem out into the world.
If you're lucky, someone will pick that jewel up and want to share it with the world. Or maybe it stays hidden and no one finds it at all. But you've succeeded in taking that first step of finishing a project and submitting it for publication. That should be enough to pat yourself on the back and say, "Hooray! I did a thing!" As well you should. That in itself is no small feat.
For those who are taking these first steps (or 10th, or 100th), what are you working on? What have you submitted? What gems of yours has someone picked up and published recently? What's out there still waiting to be discovered?
It's been over a year since I've written a blog post. At the beginning of last year, I had high hopes that my writing would continue on a good trajectory, I'd continue to have good news to share, and I would be able to focus more attention on this blog and creative endeavors.
Then the pandemic hit, and, much like everyone else I'm sure, I was plagued with much doubt and uncertainty on a whole variety of things, my writing included. I have been very fortunate in that I have continued to work at my day job (at home instead of on site). Things at home, while very different (some kids at college, others at home doing remote learning), have been mostly fine. But the isolation and lack of contact with others outside the family has been slowly wearing on me. And my writing has all but dried up, due to a lack of energy, interest, and opportunity, among other reasons.
At this moment, however, I feel that the world as a whole is feeling more hopeful, now that there are a number of vaccines developed to handle this virus. I'm also feeling a little more hopeful myself that the end of this craziness is in sight.
The theme of this blog post is "revival". Much like society is slowly reviving, I thought it was time for my writing to do so as well, but how to do that? I've already been down this road a number of times in my life. What makes this time any different? While sifting through my writing files, I realized I have a lot of old stories lying around in various states of completion. Some are nothing but one-sentence ideas. Others are completed stories that just need a little polishing. The majority of them are somewhere in between. This gave me an idea on a goal I can work on for the remainder of this year. I've decided it's time for me to revive my old stories.
Along with that, I've also decided to revive this blog along with my stories. I look around at other writers' blogs and social media accounts, and they all have so much content and other writers have so much to say. I used to think that I had nothing to say that would be of any interest to anyone, writers or otherwise. But I realize that I've been writing long enough now that I do have lots of experiences I can share.
Some of them are lessons I've learned over my years of writing. Some are fun, crazy, and scary anecdotes. Some are just the voices in my head that tell me that I'm a fraud and that I shouldn't be wasting my time doing any of this. Even those experiences are shared experiences of many writers I've spoken to over the years, and just by talking about them, I might be able to relate to those writers, to tell those writers that it's OK to have these feelings, and to tell them that those feelings can be locked in a box and thrown out to sea, because we don't have to listen to them and they only prevent us from being happy with what we do and what we are.
I am hoping that others are also feeling a little more hopeful this year and are also reviving their own writing somehow. If you are, feel free to drop a comment and let me know what your revival plans are. I would love to hear from other writers, because along with reviving my writing and this blog, I'd also love to revive my communication with others (which is a whole other blog topic, maybe for another day).