Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm a Writer

I've always been a writer
One month ago I announced that I was giving up on my dream to become a published writer.

I've done a lot of thinking since then. I received a bunch of pep talks and encouragement from my writing family. I explored alternatives to editing my full length novels, primarily shifting to short stories to submit to magazines and anthologies. I've made attempts towards that in fits and starts and haven't gotten very far. I continue to write about writing for the Confabulator Cafe. I finally started reading the memoir I wrote two years ago and never looked at again. I've reconsidered the idea of self-publishing.

The conclusion I've reached, in the one month after giving up on myself?

I will always be a writer. Even if I'm in a fight with writing, even if I'm taking a break from it, even if I never publish anything or make a dime, I will always be a writer. It's who I am. They say your job doesn't define who you are, and that's true. I'm not an administrative associate. I am a writer.

It doesn't have to be my job to be who I am.

I don't know where that leaves me on the quest I set for myself, though. What is the next step? I don't know. I just know I was a bit over-ambitious when making my writing goals for this year. I got overwhelmed by all of the work I suddenly made for myself, and I wasn't entirely prepared.

So I took a step back. And now, hopefully, I will start taking baby steps forward again.

My very first step? Find a literary magazine or anthology for a horror short story I wrote several years ago. Once that is submitted, I will work on another short story. And then I'll submit it. And then I'll write another one, and submit it. And then, maybe I will have heard back about the first or second one. And then, if they were rejected, I will submit them elsewhere. Rinse and repeat.

And hopefully I will start writing every day again. I found a book at Half Price Books on Sunday, and I think it is exactly what I need to get started again: The Writer's Book of Matches - 1001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction. If I can use a prompt every day, whether I write a paragraph or a page or a short story or a novel, I will write for at least 1001 days in a row.

I know. I'm being overly ambitious again. But if this can help get me past my slump, it'll be $8 well spent.

I'm now picking up the pieces leftover from my breakdown. I'm getting it together and I'm getting back in the saddle, as it were. It's only February. I still have time to salvage some of my 2012 writing goals.

And I'm only a little worse for wear.