Getting Back In The Saddle
Updated: Dec 30, 2019
After Stepping Away From Fiction Writing, It's Now Or Never For A Return To The Keyboard
Writers write. You've probably heard that phrase more than a few times if you've ever stuck your toes in the fiction writing waters. Writers write. No. Matter. What.
That sounds great and I'm sure for some, it's an axiom that works. I tried to make it work, but, as they say, shit happens.
After leaving journalism in 2006, it didn't take long for me to miss writing. So I jumped into fiction writing and when I say jump, I mean I went head-first into the deep end.
I read books about the craft and started following authors who blogged about fiction, publishing and the writer's life. I soaked it up and soon began spitting out a few short stories.
It was so odd at first. As a reporter, I never lacked for things to write about, facts or quotes to fill my stories. Occasionally, when I was writing a feature story, I even had the opportunity to add a dash of creativity. Fiction writers don't have those luxuries.
A blank screen is what you get and everything else depends on you. Scary stuff. But I adjusted and was able to produce on a regular basis. Beyond the short stories, I wrote a novella and even got about 40,000 words into a novel. All the while, I was helping raise three young kids.
I felt a lot of guilt at times, stealing hours here and there to go to the library or coffee shop to write. But with the understanding of my wife, I pressed on, well, at least until 2013. That year, I self-published a novella and while it got a few decent reviews, it didn't sell.
That disappointment, however, was soon overshadowed by my mother's major health problems. Toss in issues at work, a couple of teenage kids with serious problems and my fiction writing came to a dead halt. I could no longer make it work and, honestly, I got sick of feeling bad about it.
So, I stepped away.
Times have changed. Mom died in 2016. One last attempt at a career in journalism ended when I shuttered the Redford Sentinel earlier this year. Thankfully, I found a good job and the rest of my life is relatively stable (yes, my teenagers are still a pain in the ass).
Except I've got the damn fiction itch again. Oh, I never stopped reading and listening to fiction. Stephen King is a genius, Michael Connelly is the man and Harlan Coben has more writing talent than just about anybody.
As for me, I've got unfinished business. I never completed that novel I started. While I don't intend to finish it, I do intend to write something new. It's 100,000 words or bust and my deadline is 10/31/20.
Along the way, I'm hoping to connect with other fiction writers who are on the same journey. Finding friendly faces along the fiction writing path is not only a good thing, but a necessary thing.