My new writing pal Jen, who writes the blog called Reading ‘En Vogue,’ recently wrote a post that got me thinking. She so honestly called it My Writing Journey: Fact or Crap? In it, she asks herself if she is following her passion by writing, talks about struggles with writing and whether this is what she should be doing.
Here’s the thing. As far I can tell, from both my life and the lives of people I know, no one’s life takes a straight path. Every bit of who you are, every chapter in your life, every book you read, every experience you have adds to the quality of what you write. Do you think you could write the same book at 15, 35, 55? How would your words be different before and after kids? Before and after watching a pod of whales or seeing the Great Wall in person? Before and after losing your job or ending your marriage?
While I am not one of those people who always knew what I wanted to be when I “grew up,” my path has taken me through some very interesting chapters that, when I look back, look more logical than when I was going through them. I never kept a journal (too embarrassing). I didn’t write for the school newspaper. I never considered writing as a career. But right now, writing feels good, right. Even if I am the only one who reads it (though, of course, my ego hopes and prays that is not the case).
How many times have you read that an author just sat down and the story wrote itself? It was so easy? I am sure that has happened once or twice (cough), but I seriously doubt that happens very often. Writing is hard work, especially when you have a life. I have had an idea percolating for almost a year. I have had a few opportunities to sit down and really write, but am far from completed. I have a family, a dog, I volunteer and run a business part-time. Does this frustrate me? Sure, a little. Would I do it any other way? Absolutely not. I can’t check out and live in a rustic cabin (with Wi-Fi) by a beautiful lake that fills me with inspiration and tell everyone “Later!” I’d miss too much.
The downside, of course, is I worry a little that the next published book I read will be MY idea. Hasn’t happened yet, but it does make me want to get going so I don’t look like I copied someone else’s idea. Is that silly? Plus, I get into the social media part (a lot), with three Twitter accounts, two blogs and assorted Facebook, etc. etc. etc. that I work on. When I really should be writing. I do write blog posts, but right now, they tend toward writing reviews of all the books I have been reading.
So, what’s the end result for me? I know I need to concentrate more on actual writing. Though I enjoy writing reviews because I love books, I need more original thoughts. Secondly, established writers tend to have a schedule, whether it is writing a certain amount of time per day or a certain number of words/pages per day. As far as whether it is my passion, I have to say that I don’t like that word. I think it is overused and makes it sound like a person has one facet and they never change. Didn’t we learn anything from High School Musical? For heaven’s sake, make realistic choices, but don’t feel like you can’t make changes if you fall out of like with what you’ve picked. And, more importantly, if you don’t feel “passionate” every single day, welcome to the real world. ‘Cause today, I am all out of love for editing.