A couple of weeks ago I was going through my old blog posts, and I saw a pattern that jolted me.
I saw that I had written a lot about writing. Though I knew I had written frequently about writing, I never realized just how much. It seemed that the majority of my blog posts were about it. It was a revealing moment, and I had the thought, “I have said all I want to say about writing.”
It was true. I had written in my blog several times, and in several different ways, the story of how I moved beyond being creatively blocked during a long depression and finished a novel. Not to mention that I had already written an entire e-book on the topic, A Trail of Crumbs to Creative Freedom.
How many times could I write about it without sounding like a broken record? Besides, I remembered a conversation I had once with a paranormal romance writer, in which she told me, “I see no point in blogging about writing. Other writers aren’t my audience.”
Although I could understand her point of view, at the time I disagreed. Writers were readers too. Besides, when I had first started writing in my blog, I took what I still consider to be good advice: Write what you are passionate about.
Writing was something I was passionate about. To me it was more than a skill or a job. It was a way of seeing, a way to live. Writing promoted certain traits that were good for anyone to have: empathy, a willingness to listen, honesty, and careful observation.
Plus, I was not just a writer when I wrote. I was a writer at every moment of every day, no matter what I was doing or where I went. Any kind of journal post I wrote about my daily experiences was likely to touch on writing in some way.
There was another perk: writing about writing during my swooning days of Reddit popularity yielded a reward I hadn’t expected. Many people on Reddit told me my posts about writing had inspired them or helped them get “unstuck.” I was thrilled. I could inspire people? I hadn’t known. “Keep it up,” many of them said. And so I did.
Even after getting expelled from Reddit and my audience shrank to a nub, I continued to write about writing. I had so much I wanted to say about it. During the lowest points of my depression and block, the advice of Present Me might have saved me. There were many things I now know that, if I had known them before, they would have ended my creative dry spell.
I mourn the years I lost due to insecurity. All that time I could have been writing and improving my skills rather than being miserable.
Back then, I had read a number of books and articles on the process of writing, but so many of them had confused me. At first I believed most anything any professional writer said. Then I realized how often writers contradicted each other and themselves.
As a result, I started to think for myself and learn from my own experiences. Writing became my best mentor, and I saw so much other writers never said. I wanted to say what I thought was missing.
I had no system, but a keen awareness of all the obstacles that on a daily basis strip the fun from writing and pull writers away from finding their own point of view, and how fears of criticism thwart progress, like closely spaced speed bumps on a highway.
But, as I looked through my old blog posts over a month ago, I felt like my days of writing about writing truly were over. I had written about rough drafts and creative problem solving and misconceptions.
What more could I possibly say?
I suppose that I could say more about writing. After all, I am doing now. Because I am a writer, it affects how I see the world. But, rather than continuing to repeat myself, maybe it is time to move on.
The timing seems right. A couple of days after looking over my old blog posts, I received an acceptance letter from a publisher for the manuscript of my latest novel. As you can imagine, this was giddy news that swept me into the stratosphere, and I promise to go into more detail about it in a future post. But it reinforced my sense that “It is time to stop writing so much about writing and write.”
Since that day, I have added fiction pieces to my blog in addition to my regular posts, and my fiction has gotten responses just as strong, if not stronger than, reactions to my nonfiction.
I have a lot of ideas for fiction. I want to tell stories. That doesn’t mean I will never write about writing again. I love the craft. I love the process. I love how it brings meaning to the scattered flotsam of daily life.
But I believe the time for change has come and, rather than fight it, I am going to go with it. For too long after my 15 minutes of Reddit fame had ended, I tried to think of a way to get back to that point. I am bad about that, wanting to go back to something known rather than tunneling into an uncertain future.
But change is going to happen no matter what I do. It is better for me to direct it rather than to sit back and wait for it to happen. I am not quitting nonfiction posts entirely, but I want to move toward being a mostly fiction blog.
Though I resist change, change means more than endings. It means beginnings too. Beginnings are nice sometimes, and I think this one will be too.