I am a writer

After finishing my degree in 2010 I more or less gave up writing. I wanted to write; every now and then the guilt would take over and I’d try, but I never got very far. Eventually it faded into a nagging at the back of my mind: something I always knew I should be doing but other things always got in the way. I was waiting for inspiration.

Stop Waiting

In April I discovered Script Frenzy. It seemed as good a time as any to pick up a story I’ve been wanting to write for a few years and have struggled through several incarnations of first chapters. I’ve known for a while that it would make an incredible graphic novel, so I decided to write a script for that. Not that I’m overambitious or anything.

It lasted all of six pages, at which point I discovered that the first National Flash Fiction Day was coming up, and started writing for that instead. Next I started CAKE.shortandsweet, then this blog, and the rest is English Literature. I’ve realised you can’t sit around and wait for things to happen.

Do It Yourself

I wanted my short stories published, so I made a public showcase. It was hard work, and still is, but I love it.

I wanted to go to a local writers circle, so I made one. It’s still a very small group, but word is spreading and everyone who’s come along so far has been really friendly and enthusiastic.

I want to publish my novel, so I’m going to self-publish it. Some people are fully behind this, others keep saying I should send it to some agents, just to see. I understand where they’re coming from, and after this I’ll still definitely consider traditional publishers for my next book. But this one, this is going to be all mine. I’m going to do this on my own, and I’m going to make it work.

Taking Breaks

Over and over I keep hearing that taking long breaks can be fatal to your writing. As I’ve mentioned above, for two years I just couldn’t write. When I started again in April it was like getting my voice back. I write all the time now and I cannot imagine losing it again.

This said, I know I’m a vastly stronger writer now than I was two years ago. During my break I read obsessively, across a huge range of genres and styles and types of writing. I also taught myself patience and dedication. The Sarah Grace of two years ago would not have started her own short story showcase. The Sarah Grace of two years ago left her novel sitting on her hard drive for three years, even though she’d already done all the research on agents and publishers. She would never have dreamed of self-publishing, and she didn’t have the self-discipline to sit and entirely re-plot her novel from start to finish, let alone rewrite it in two months (as I’m planning to do).

What I’m trying to say is that it’s okay to take breaks, so long as you force yourself back into it. Don’t mope. Don’t complain that it’s gone. Just get on with it.  You’ll probably find that a break from your own writing has given you better clarity on it, and that the reading and living you’ve done in between has shown you new ways of thinking and writing.

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About sarahgracelogan

Sarah Grace is an itinerant scribbler and general layabout. She runs a writing group called CAKE.shortandsweet, because any form of procrastination from actual writing is always attractive to the serious author of refined taste. When not distracted by laser pens, Sarah Grace writes novels, short stories and flash fiction, poetry, stage scripts and screenplays. She has performed her work at Stirred Poetry, Bad Language and Tongue in Cheek Manchester. Her first publication, Humping the Boonies is a self-published chapbook available directly from the author, or from Travelling Man, Manchester. You can find more details about her ongoing projects, not to mention a selection of free stories up for grabs right here on her blog. https://sarahgracelogan.wordpress.com/about/ She also likes to talk about theatre, film, books, photography, and especially games and other things that involve collaborative storytelling. Sarah Grace likes feedback, in whatever form it comes.

6 comments

  1. Over and over I keep hearing that taking long breaks can be fatal to your writing.

    Yes. I put it to one side when I went to uni as a mature student in 2004. I joined a creative writing group in my fresher’s year but never found the time to write and ended up only reading older stuff. In 2009 when I finished my Master’s, it had been so long since I had written anything that I had lost the knack. It took me almost a year to get back into the rhythm and starting my blog in October 2010 has been a big help. It developed my voice, helped hone my ability to write anything.

    My advice (not to you because you have already taken that step) for anybody who thinks they have lost it is to start a blog and make yourself write about the things that interest you. Book reviews, character studies, advice for writers, news about upcoming books, features on your favourite authors… ANYTHING! Because it will help.

  2. I’ve found that my writing, like my visual art, requires a process. It’s art…that implies that there must be an artist who is on board with the vision and follows the journey to fruition. If you always write A to B without wandering a little in between, I can’t help but feel you are missing out. Working on growing as an artist and writer is something that takes dedication and discipline, but there are many steps in the process, and some of them require time away from manuscripts and indulgence in life. I love being part of a writer’s group! It keeps my eye one the goal. But sometimes I spend our Writer’s Cafe’ time going through photos for my blog or chatting with another writer friend who needs recharging. Then I go home and write, refreshed.
    Are you planning to do NaNoWriMo this year or maybe in the future? It’s such a fun vacation into writing with no pressure of the outcome….just write.

    • Yeah, I quite agree. I came home from work today planning to write, but found that I was totally burned out. And then I realised I’ve been writing every evening, and every lunchtime at work this week – no wonder I am exhausted! So I’ve spent the evening watching a movie, relaxing, and tomorrow I’ll start again refreshed. I can’t wait!

      I’m thinking about Nano, yeah. I’ve started a couple of times and never got anywhere, but now I seem to have the hang of planning novels, and I have a few ideas hanging around so it might be a good time to try.

      On the other hand, I’ve got so many pots on the boil, it might be a bit too much. But who knows? If I can find the time to sit down and write a coherent plan beforehand, I might well give it a shot 🙂 Are you going to be doing it this year?

      • Yes, it has become a highlight of my year, however since I also have too many editing projects and need to get around to pitching novels, I intend to do NaNo as a recharge exercise. I’m going in with no idea, and I’m going to do every crazy NaNo suggestion that they throw at me. Zombies, monkeys and all. I will be there to support my local writers and cheer them on, and I’ll try not to take my writing too seriously that month. I have 3 good manuscripts from prior NaNo’s soon to go to market. Can’t recommend the experience more….fabulous fun and has been worthwhile for many I know. If you decide to try it, I’m Quinnleeeee (5 e’s) in NaNoland. Please look me up, and I’ll support you along the way.

      • That sounds like an excellent plan. I’m really hoping I can take part this year, I will definitely look you up!

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