Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grows shoots & leaves

Sometimes, when I'm wondering why I don't have more to show for all the time I spend in front of the computer, I have to remind myself that as a beginning writer goes, I've only just begun. Yeah, I started writing novels (actually writing them, and not just starting them and forgetting them) 6 years ago, but I didn't go hardcore until about two years ago. That was when I was walking home from the grocery store and realized that I was willing to stick with my sometimes underwhelming day job if it meant becoming a real writer.

And so in the middle of editing book number two, I started writing flash fiction and then expanded it to short fiction and now I try to balance my time pretty evenly between short stories and noveling. I'm very glad I did, because I think I've learned more writing short stories than I learned writing novels, and the lessons I learned didn't hurt quite so much. I've also learned more about the business end of writing in the last 8 months--since I found Twitter--than I did in all the book and blog reading that I did in the previous 30 years of my life.

I feel pretty good about the last year of production. I feel like I'm working hard, learning a lot, and getting faster and better every day. Part of what's helping things is the great group of people I've stumbled across. From my supportive friends and family to my writing buddy, Sue, to the Seshat Tribe of Awesome (a virtual writing group of great spec fictionists), I feel like I'm soaking up rays of genius and love every day. It sounds mushy, but it's true. All the great vibes are rolling off of these folks and going straight to my brain.

So I guess you could say I'm a lot like a plant. The seed was pushed into the ground long ago, and tender care helped me sprout. Now, by absorbing radiant energy, I'm finally sending up shoots.


Jennifer Willis said...

I think you'll find that many of us still have that same feeling of being new-comers to the craft of writing, no matter how many years or projects we have under our belts... Especially when it comes to beginning new projects, or sometimes every time we sit down to write, even if we've been at it every day for years. At least, that's been my experience.

I don't know if that's any consolation, but I like the fact that writing continues to challenge me each and every day. There's always something new. :)

Sandra Wickham said...

What a great post!

I feel the same warm, squishy feelings about our Sheshat Tribe. (I guess we have a name now, hunh?!! Cool) Whenever I feel a bit blechy, or unfocused, I call on the Tribe's energy to get back on track. It is EXCELLENT and I feel very lucky.

I know you know this already, but I CANNOT wait for the WHC when I get to hang out with you again!!

JRC said...

My experiences, and approach, are broadly similar. I've been attempting to be a writer for many years. About two years ago I had an idea for a novel that I was really excited about, starting writing it, and then trailed off largely due to lack of time. I still plan to complete it, but got to a point where I'd simply lost focus.
Towards the end of last year I decided to recommit to my writing by penning some short stories. As a taster I published (via smashwords) a story I'd already written. I then started a new short story, which I published at the start of this year. I've now got three stories on the go and am still going strong.
I'm already itching to get back into the novel, but writing the stories has also helped encourage a bit of discipline that was previously missing.
Also short stories are quick enough to write that I don't risk losing focus, while at the same time allowing me to play around with some different writing methods. Consequently, by taking my writing a step at a time (or a story at a time) I've managed to reinvigorate myself to the point where I really think I'm getting somewhere with the writing.
However, I must say, I think one of the biggest advantages I have right now is that I can publish a story almost as soon as it's written (on smashwords), tell people where to download it (via twitter and my blog), and get almost instant feedback (again via Twitter). The fact that I know people are reading my stories and that I can feedback almost straight away is probably the biggest encouragement I could ever hope to receive.

Christie said...


So glad we found you. Or you found us. (Actually, yeah that's how it went--PIE BROUGHT US TOGETHER.)