So many tales to tell. Where do you start?
I started long ago, writing pieces-parts of the things that occur to me, inspired by the events that take place around me. I needed to write them down somewhere so I could get on to other things. There are at least thirty-five notebooks on my shelf filled with notes for various stories I want to write...someday. But will I get back to them when new events inspire new characters and new stories every day?
As I shared yesterday, my thesis novel was turned in early last week. It is in the hands of my project director, my reader, and my thesis committee. I will orally defend it on April 7. In the meantime, I have begun working on the sequel. I think I might title it Sounds of Silence. It sorta picks up where Ramblings leaves off. Sorta. Because I've never run away from home. While I have experienced some of the things my character, Amaris, experienced, as have millions of women, she experienced more, and had the courage to do what she needed to do: "Physician, heal thyself."
What about all of the other stories I have waiting for my return? I will work on the stories I included in my writing portfolio and the partial of one of my novels. My reader asked if my thesis novel would be the one she read in my writing portfolio, and seemed disappointed when I said no.
"I like the way you get into her head. I want to read more," she said. And that was all the encouragement I needed to decide I'm going to complete that novel as soon as I can get to it. I'm thinking after graduation on May 15.
I have elected to postpone starting my master's in fine arts-creative writing for a year. During that period my plan is to proceed with the WIPs that are waiting for me. No, I can't work on all thirty-five or more. But I can work on the thesis novel and the writing portfolio novel and have them completed and submitted. You have to submit to get published, ya know.
You are the only one who can decide what you are going to do with your writing, where you want to go with it. Then you have to commit to your goals. It's easy to get distracted, to begin to tell yourself you were crazy to ever think you could do something like write a story or a novel. Don't. Don't go there. When that happens--and it will--shake it off. Sit down and begin to write to prove that negative self-talk is wrong. You can do it. You can. Honestly. That's what I did with Ramblings. There's something to be said for accountability to someone.
I would email Patti, "I don't know where I'm going with this. I think I should start something new." But I knew that was not an option. I had only so much time to write a novel for the thesis.
"Just write," she'd answer. "Don't stop to think about it. Just write. You'll get there."
So I would continue to write. I decided on the format I wanted to use so I would be able to complete the manuscript, things like the period of time I wanted to write about and how to best present it. That simplified things for me. When you read Ramblings you will better understand what I mean. I do anticipate that it will be published. My director has urged me to submit it. And I will.
Remember that there will be naysayers, people who criticize what you are doing, asking why anyone would want to read something like that. Ignore them. They don't know what they are talking about. Move forward. And another thing to remember is that anyone who is not a writer can't understand the writer. Writers are a different breed understood only by their own kind. Find yourself a good writer group--in realtime and online. MomWriters.com is a great one for writerly information. If you are looking for encouragement from some friendly writers, I recommend Jay'sWritersWorld (JWW for short). Both are yahoo groups.
What are you writing today?