I got back to writing when I stopped trying to be a famous writer

Crossed the 4000-word mark on my new short story, “One Step Closer” . It is already live and I add a little bit every day. That’s how I like to do it from now on.

I feel this might end up as one of the longer stories yet – maybe 10K words. We’ll see. 

So all that is nice. If only my son wasn’t sick all the time and I never had a moment to myself, except forced writing late in the evening when the whole body would rather be asleep.

Tough. 

So it’s just an observation. Nothing more.

The question, though, is: Why pick up my Shade of the Morning Sun-novellas after years when I barely thought of them? I had written 20-ish stories from about 2011-13 and then I sort of drifted away from that and only did a couple of stories per year.

Well, I just had this feeling – on a day when I was on the verge of exhaustion thinking about how to make money with my webdesign – that it would be good to simply write more novellas about Carrie Sawyer, my protagonist. Just a feeling, really.

Not to earn money per se … Because I am sure I’d earn very, very little.

It is because I want to be seen then? Because I want more people to read these stories? Is it because I want anyone to see these stories?

I don’t think I have many other readers than Russian spam bots right now. I never promoted Shade. It’s been there since 2011 and has precious little real traffic – about 5 visitors per month, probably most by mistake.

Fair enough.

I didn’t do anything to promote. And I thought I had stopped wanting to write those stories. Moved on.

But I find I have a very strong feeling to want to write them again. And to have them seen.

Just a little. I don’t really care how many see. As long as it’s maybe 50-100 people, over a year or so – and who actually read.

No scratch that. Less would be fine, too. As long as they are real readers.

But why? Why really?

Perhaps because of the reason I never really got to write my big fantasy epic 5 years ago (or a number of similar big projects before and since).

Those projects were, honestly, driven more and more by the wrong things:

  • the sense that I needed to use my skills to write something ‘big’
  • the need to make money in the most passionate way I could imagine
  • the feelings of some kind of big scene or image that I saw as part of a good story

None of those motivations were good enough.

I don’t believe we write ourselves into every story, but it is true – or it is for me at least – that we do write a lot into characters, if we write … fiction.

Our memories, lives, feelings, experiences, personal situations, hopes, wishes …

And Carrie was always the lost, stray cat of them all … the one who couldn’t figure out her life, even if she had qualities (like the talent for drawing and had gone to college and all that).

But she squandered it, or felt she did. All she had left then, after years of trying, was a good heart and some good kids and a husband and a marriage that occasionally worked.

That’s an extreme version of how I feel about my life right now. Not entirely right, not entirely wrong either. I feel I lost a lot, squandered more and in many respects I feel adrift.

I also feel I have a lot – a lot – of precious things in my life, especially people. Carrie has, too, but doesn’t appreciate them as much. And so the list goes on.

But the bottom line is that that’s probably why I want to write about her again. Because it is a good way to show myself different mirror versions of my own life. And that’s a strong enough reason!

Not time travel, not fantasy, not all the things I thought I was supposed to write or thought I felt most passionately for.

But people.

It always comes down to people.

I constantly surprise myself. I wanted to have more in common with Tolkien than Hemingway, but I always end up with Hemingway. Or Woolf. Or Dillard, I guess.

I don’t measure up to any of them, but we are talking about subject matter here, perhaps the only subject matter there truly is:

Life.

4 thoughts on “I got back to writing when I stopped trying to be a famous writer

  1. How true! In fiction writing, it’s inevitable that the protagonist (or at least some character in the story) gradually unfolds to reveals traits of the author–proudest moments, long-suppressed fears, the ache of love (lost, found or languishing), the true friends and the subtle hints of emotionally-loaded past experiences. I agree, when in comes down to it, all fiction is simply an exploration and an analysis of life. Good luck moving forward in Carrie’s story! I’m rooting for you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All of the characters actually have some of with my own traits or experiences, I guess. And then add some people I’ve known. And lastly the stuff I can only imagine. But as said, it is what works. Whenever I try to write characters that I think others might like, I lose heart in a few months at most. Only took me about 20 years to figure that one out 😉

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  2. If anything, I’ve learned that I don’t have to have an end point in mind or “all the answers” before I start working on something. I’ve learned to leave room to see how the universe unfolds before me. The only real thing required of me is that I start and then allow. Another thing I know is that writers write. So just keep writing! I know you said you feel lost, but parenting is the most purposeful thing you can do. I know you have precious little time to yourself. You are right. That is tough. But it’s also a season. And seasons change. Perhaps write in the mornings before he wakes?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Malia. I’ve found that to write best I need time, space and energy. None of these things are present in abundance when you live with a toddler in a two-room apartment. So, yeah, I try to be flexible – and patient while I wait for another season change 🙂

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