None of us suddenly becomes something overnight. The preparations have been in the making for a lifetime.Gail Godwin
My office file cabinet has been on my must-do list to declutter for the last couple of years. When it became harder to close the drawers, I started tackling it in bits and pieces over the last few months. This week, I uncovered file folders of finished and unfinished pieces of prose and poetry, writing feedback, and assignments from long-defunct writing groups and classes that go back at least twenty years. It was enlightening to read what was important to me in my 20’s and 30’s as I pursued a creative writing life.
My first love was short stories, my goal was to be published in Glimmer Train (which published its last issue in 2019) and I kept many years of back issues looking for the “formula” for my work to be accepted. I wrote some really uninteresting drafts that never quite made it to the ready for submission pile before I moved on to writing for children. A paid course and many attempts later, I gave up that idea.
I then tried screenwriting, wrote chick lit and young adult drafts, attended many writing conferences, and participated in local writing groups. Unfortunately, nothing really seemed to fit for very long, I would start very motivated and fizzle before reaching the finish line. Even after graduating with a Creative Writing degree, I convinced myself that if I wasn’t making money from writing, I wasn’t a “real writer,” which led to years of content writing, ghost blogging, and writing articles and advertorials for a local community paper.
My writing has definitely evolved from the first short story and poem I wrote. I’m thankful that I have been open to constructive criticism over the years and willing to try different genres and paths. I don’t know what’s next for me, but I’m happy I hold a place for creative writing in my life.
How did your creative writing life advance over the years? What lessons have you learned? Can you resurrect a piece of writing from your past and rewrite it?
Now get back to work!
The Writing Nag