I wrote a lot through my teens- mostly poetry (a good deal of it bad poetry I'm sure) and terrible horrible short stories, with silly illustrations. I'm pretty sure a few of my friends from the neighborhood can attest to that.
It wasn't until my late teens/early twenties that I started thinking more in terms of novels and most of my ideals were for young adult stories that weren't just about budding romances, but with other deeper plot lines- dealing with divorce, peer pressure, etc. Of course, some of what I wrote might work for nowadays, but I think I'd have to take a serious look at how teenagers view the world too- I still like to believe I'm young at heart, but not sure I'm "with the times."
I still have a few, hand-written in Lisa Frank notebooks with pastel blue pages, but most are half-baked ideas that never fully formed. The first novel I started and eventually finished took ten years- not because I was writing all the time, but because I wrote 3/4 of it in a very short matter of time, but then I stalled. I couldn't finish writing it for emotional and personal reasons, the final part of that book became, well, my nemesis. I didn't want to face it, didn't think I had the strength to, sprouted numerous heads of doubt in my mind that told me it wasn't a good story anyway, that there was no point in finishing it and I was just crazy to ever think anything I wrote would ever become anything worthy of print.
So I tucked it away for ten years. My thoughts went back to it, all the time, this nagging sensation that I hadn't finished what I started. It was important to me and I wanted to complete it, but fear and excuses kept me away from it.
I said Life got in the way— I had relationships, work, laundry, etc and well, I'd pull it out and "finish it someday" when I had more time to devote to it.
Someday did eventually come, in 2006 after I'd moved away from my hometown, became a wife, a stepmom and a mother to a child of my own. Balancing the new life I had began to take it's toll and like so many young wives and mothers, I wondered when I would have things that were just for me, as it seemed everything I did was for someone else. There was an emptiness in me, personally. I mean, doing things for others gives you a great sense of pride, but when you don't take time for yourself, it does leave a void that makes you feel less than whole.
I knew what was missing. I didn't write in my journals anymore, I didn't write poetry even, but once in a blue moon and every time I got the opportunity to read a book, I found myself thinking more about my own stories that I once started but hadn't finished. It weighed on my mind, lingered in my thoughts as I lay in bed trying to go to sleep at night.
I honestly don't think my husband knew I wanted to be writer because I hardly ever talked about it to him in those first 5-6 years we were together. I'd doubted myself for so long, I wasn't even sure it was worth it, but the drive within me and the encouragement from a close friend and my mother, as well as other authors I had met online, pushed me forward. The inspiration from others became the driving force to shut down the doubt and lack of confidence that had plagued me for a decade.
This was the place- a crossroads in my life. There was no more "I'll get to it someday." Someday was NOW.
This is something I'm currently working back toward- because I wrote prolifically from 2006 to 2009. It flowed naturally from me like water from a tap. I wrote 9 manuscripts just in that time. I've only written one and a half since then. :( Of course, some of it could have probably used a filter, but it was there.
The well was overflowing. But then I burned out—ran dry—and I felt I was left emotionally drained, not only in my writing, but in my life. I have written a bit here and there, but it hasn't been anywhere near what I now expect from myself as a writer. I slug through any little sliver of progress I make. Since that time though too, there has been an onslaught of social media to pop up that I'm also trying to keep up with along with issues in my personal life so things have gotten overwhelming and sometimes I feel a bit lost from the core of who I am as a woman, a writer, a wife, a mother- all of it. The ebb and flow of Life alters and transforms.
I won't call it writer's block, but I do sometimes feel my neck in on the chopping block as I'm trying to claw my way out of the hole I'm in and get my writing groove back where it belongs so I can pour those stories onto the page and shake a tail-feather, while I'm at it.
Happy WIPlash Wednesday!