Over the past few years my writing habits have been evolving into something approaching workman like in a very pleasing way.
I spend a lot of time studying writing and the habits of other writers and artists. For a long time I thought I had to emulate what I was learning. I thought that to be successful (whatever that actually means, that’s a whole other entry) I had to stick to what the successful writers were doing. Whether it was Natalie Goldberg or Stephen King, or writers who sell well on writing lists. I thought that writing and being a successful writer was in the instructions.
I finally outgrew that in the last couple of years. I have found my own rhythm and in so doing have realized that my ideas about what is and isn’t successful are my own. That has been incredibly freeing and powerful for me.
Subject wise, there were so many things I kept out of my stories and essays. I thought I had to play by some set of arbitrary rules. Never write in the first person, never use jargon or weird syntax and the worst writing advice, write what you know.
After deciding that I was simply unpublishable I stopped trying to write to the market. I stopped trying to force a voice I thought would sell.
I started just writing. Writing a lot. Learning what my strengths are and the things that I feel make my voice as an author.
So at the end of the year all this work what has it all accomplished?
I had my first piece of creative non fiction published. I have gotten some rejections that asked for more writing. One of those turned into an acceptance. A story that started out as just a word sketch was accepted and edited by a dear friend of mine.
I like where I’m going. I like what I’m writing 80% of the time while I’m writing it and a little more often than that once things are done. Overall, I feel like I’m doing good work.
I feel like the work, the hard work of being a writer is paying off. Finally doing this writing thing and getting rejected and all that shit feels worth it. I think that’s a good damn way to end the year.