I feel like I’ve been on a mental vacation for the last week or so. After not seeing some relatives since before the surgery, I finally stayed with my aunt and cousin for the weekend. I looked forward to it like I was going to Florida or something because I’m not going on any “real” vacations this year (they live in Staten Island, an hour away for me). Then I had a follow-up with my surgeon on Tuesday. All good news and I don’t have to go back for three months, but still no writing Tuesday night.
This is partly because of Scribophile. While grateful for feedback on Define Reality (and a short story I posted), it made me realize how much writing and editing I still have to do. Readers enjoyed the characters and had some encouraging words, but underneath that, they helped me realize the story structure needs a lot of work. I have ideas on how to fix it but I also want to finish the entire anthology first. So my plan right now is to write the rest of the novellas in the anthology, figure out how I want to fix the story line, then edit thoroughly (or possibly rewrite).
Writing and editing the first draft will take months, maybe over a year. And that’s if I don’t get sidetracked. Acknowledging this made me…frustrated, to say the least. I’ve been writing since middle school, and after more than fifteen years of this, I still have a long way to go.
My past lack of – or misguided – ambition is the main cause of this, I think. It goes back to high school when I didn’t take creative writing seriously and signed up for the newspaper because “it’s writing.” I carried that philosophy into college, where I majored in journalism even though I had no intention of being a real reporter. “It’s writing so I’ll like it,” I convinced myself. “You can be an editor while working on your own stories.” After The Intro to Creative Writing Class Incident, I gave up on original work for years and played around with fanfiction. Then after college I wasted a few years thinking I could actually become a TV writer. I even wrote specs and entered contests/fellowships. Does it surprise anyone that I never won anything?
I finally found my stride a few years ago when I finished the first draft of a novel. It all clicked for the first time ever, and I saw why I could never finish past stories. Unfortunately this only happened after wasting years in between on projects that weren’t going to lead anywhere. I guess you could say The Lost Years led to this point, but I would be much further ahead if I just took some helpful creative writing courses in college or even high school. These days I’m too jaded to listen to one random novelist/”professor” who may or may not know how to teach.
So while Scribophile will be beneficial to my writing, I’ve realized once again that publication is much further away than I thought. Maybe I’ll find a job related to editing/media/communications and only write stories for myself.
This tweet I retweeted a while back sums it up nicely: