Friday, March 28, 2014

[LIFE] Can You Be A Writer If You Don't Ever Finish Writing Anything?

When people ask me what my hobbies are, I have a pretty straight forward answer. I read, I write, I drink, I cook, I travel (not necessarily in that order). I've done a fairly good job on the reading front, amassing more than 200 books in the past three years. Now, before you go and become super impressed, I have to admit that these aren't necessarily great works of literary fiction. No, my book of choice is Historical Romance, preferably those taking place in Regency England. Of the 70 books I read last year, I'd say 95% were from that period. I say this only so that you can understand just how much I love these stories, and how well I know the genre.

But what's this about a hobby, you ask? Well, I fancy myself a writer. Unfortunately, I haven't actually done much writing these many years. In 2009, I started writing a contemporary paranormal romance novel set in Ireland that I was very keen on. Unfortunately, it seems that I am a better editor than I am a writer and every time I opened the document I'd find myself completely re-writing the first four chapters. I'd never veer from the story in my head, but I'd tighten language, add dialogue, enrich the setting. Right now, I'd say I have four perfect chapters, and about 15 others that I haven't ever gotten around to re-reading. From the beginning I knew how I wanted my book to end, but sometimes what we want, and what our muse gives us are two different things. The sentence I had always pictured as the closing statment for the entire book instead served to close a chapter. A very good chapter, mind you, but not the culmination. So I was left with needing the rest of the book. And I had ideas - some of them good, some of them rubbish - but I never really got around to putting pen to paper (or finger to key) because I'd always start from the beginning just to make sure that I remembered everything properly, and that almost always led to another round of edits. So, here I am five years later and I have an unfinished book and pretty much no idea how to wrap it all up. I suppose I could tweak it a bit such that it was finished, but in my head - and in my heart - it just doesn't feel done. There's more to the story, I just don't know what it is.

Since that time, I've come up with ideas for stories here and there, but I've never given much thought to actually telling them because I remembered how painful the first book I tried to write was. And then I realized that I don't need to write a book. I can write a story, or a novella. It doesn't have to be epic, or massive. It can just be a quick, fun read. So that's where I am.

I've started another story tonight, and I have the plot pretty much figured out. Right now I'm nearly 1000 words in - not bad for a couple of hours - and I generally know where I'm going. I hope I can continue to be excited about this because I really would like to complete at least one work of fiction in the near future so that I can honestly say that yes, I am still a writer.