My primal desire since the fourth grade was to be a writer. While doing a whole lot of other things along the way, I fooled around with writing on and off from that time until after I was 50. At that point I decided that I was either going to have to actually write something or give up the Dream. Giving up a life-long Dream seemed harder than sitting down at the computer and typing a bunch of words. Since then I have self-published sixteen novels as e-books on Smashwords. I have several others completed but they still need work, and I have two new first-draft manuscripts that are presently hanging out in my writing folder while I decide whether or not they are salvageable. (I use Mark Twain’s “tank method” -- I work on them until I think they’re done or I get stuck, then I put them away for months, or sometimes years. That gives me enough distance to edit them again and determine if they’re ready to launch.)
My stories are not masterpieces, and I don't think they would ever be great works of art, no matter how much professional editing might be applied to them. They are, however, my stories, written with love and passion. I share them at a very modest price in the hope that they will find their way into the hands of a few people who will enjoy them and/or need something that the story offers. Writing a novel is lot of work, and I’m very proud that I finally followed my Dream and wrote these stories.
I struggled with the last couple of novels. I felt as though I was repeating myself. Writing became a chore. I didn’t want to do it any more, at least not at the pace I had been working.
After spending a few months sort of at loose ends, I realized that the biggest question before me is “what next?” I am sure that writing of one sort or another will always be a part of my life, but I feel myself drawn to do something other than writing novels, at least for a while. I find myself wanting to do something new. Something I haven't tried before. That made me feel like something of a quitter, just when I'm getting the hang of novel-writing, I'm bored with it and I want to do something else.
In preparing to write this, I went back to reread the post on finding and following your “primal longing” when I happened upon [serendipity!] Debra Eve’s post “All Those Who Wander Are Not Lost” about the difference between the medieval mind and Renaissance mind: specialization versus diversification. That was an "ah ha" moment for me.
I have always loved the idea of the Renaissance person, someone with a wide variety of interests and breadth of knowledge. Intellectually I need to learn something new every day. I don’t like to spend enough time with any one particular subject or task to become an expert. I’m satisfied with knowing a little about a lot of things. I guess the truth is: I’m kind of a “dabbler.” In our neo-medieval world that’s a very bad thing. In our culture my intellectual dabbling is interpreted as meaning that I am either not serious about my career or that I can't stay focused on any one thing. The fact is: both of those things are totally true, but it doesn't seem like such a bad thing inside my head. Spending too much time on one thing takes up too much time that could be devoted to learning something else.
Now, that I feel finished (at least temporarily) with writing long fiction, my Renaissance soul is looking for something new to learn.
I don’t know what it will be, yet. But I’m pretty sure I will throw myself into it (at least for a while) with the same fervor I approached writing novels. I'll no doubt share the adventure here. I hope you'll wander along with me!