In November 2007, a month after changing Blogging direction by retiring 1 Blog, and starting this one, I wrote a post that began this way:
I like to write.
Always have, I guess, ever since I was in Elementary School (early 70's), then Junior High and High School (mid/late 70's), writng book reports, then letters to the editor of the local paper.
For various reasons none of that ever translated into a career path.
Joining the online discussion through message boards in 1998, then becoming a blogger, rekindled the urge to write.
You have the power to write...So take up your pen, open your heart, your mind, and your soul, and just let the words start flowing -- Caroline Joy Adams
I also wrote:
I read somewhere that we are always afraid to start something that we want to make very good, true and serious.
Rita Mae Brown once wrote: "Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts."
And after mentioning some story ideas I'd had rolling around in my pretty little head, and plans to continue writing poetry, I discussed how I felt I needed to find ways to explore my talent, develope a voice, or two and get feedback, whether here, or sharing my work with others through Reading Events.
Part of that meant trying to get into the routine of writing EVERY day, or every other day, here.
Even if it's just a couple of entries a day.
I felt that this could spark any number of creative ideas, as can just reading, taking the bus to work, or my job itself.
So how have I done?
Not as well as I'd envisioned.
In nearly 2 years I've written more poetry, and some fiction, continued developing the "Voice" that is my Cat, and Co-Blogger, Nikita, and even become, a few times, a Concert Reviewer at the invitation of the local Symphony.
On my Bike Blog I continue to be a Travel Writer of sorts, but it's been a while since my last adventure.
I've not shared any of the poetry, or fiction, in venues other than this blog which gets, at the best of times, maybe 30 to as many as 70 hits a day (The Bike Blog gets over 100 or more a day, sometime twice that.), and those don't always read the Cat Stuff, or the creative writing.
I keep telling myself that the reason is my work schedule, the cost involved in attending events, or submitting something, and the fact that I don't know how to use YouTube, or Podcasting.
I tell myself there have to be venues I can go to on my days off, and publications I can submit to, that won't cost me an arm and a leg, and I DID successfully post one short clip to YouTube, once, downloaded Audacity, and got a Stereo PC Headset, last year, right?
I need to take the next step, and tackle YouTube again, and learn how to do a Podcast, and consider what I would create on both.
What am I afraid of?
(UPDATE 7/23: I found my 3 yr. old YouTube pages, but no video, which I must have deleted, and so closed them down. Then I opened up a new account, and subscribed to the Genealogy Gems page, to get myself started on YouTube, and I am going to make the 4 hour journey to an Open Mic Poetry Reading, at a Barnes & Noble, in Encino, Ca., on Saturday evening, and read 1 or 2 of my poems to an audience that will apparently be full of local poets of some note, due to the guest poet of the event.)
I have just finished reading a very thought-provoking book by Ralph Keyes, THE COURAGE TO WRITE: How Writers Transcend Fear.
That book had me nodding in agreement, and recognition, quite alot.
He says that "Not writing at all constitutes the ultimate triumph of fear."
I don't consider myself a non-writer, but maybe I have stopped trying to do, or try, certain things, and thus allowed fear to edge closer to the triumph it eagerly wants.
Some of the activities the author talks about as "False Fear-Busters" are ones I've indulged in, but I look at them, and find myself asking how could I not have done them?
I even let the loss of most of the original chapters of one of my proudest creations stop me from continuing, and starting over, for nearly a decade.
I am not afraid to write for public consumption, hell, I've been a blogger for 7 years after all, it's just that my audience is miniscule, and I don't know how to harness my time, and the resources available to me, online, and off, to take the next steps in my journey as a writer, and that lack of knowlege troubles me, and holds me back somehow.
Pen on Fire?
Sometimes it feels so damned hard to find the time to light the little darling, even when I have a match, or a lighter, to do it with!
Something occurred to me that, when I pause to think about it, I feel like an idiot for not seeing it for all these years:
I live the writers life!
Oh, maybe not in the same way that Barbara Demarco-Barrett, writer of the book "Pen on Fire", or the author of the Harry Potter books, or a Journalist, does, but I do so none the less.
I am a Blogger, and what, if not writing, is Blogging, anyway?
The question of whether what I am writing, and/or writing about, is what I should be, was something I believe I answered, in many ways by ending my 1st blog, and starting this one, while also continuing my Bike Blogging.
In so many ways, though, I recognize that maybe I'm still not getting the most out of my talent, and gifts, as a writer.
Before starting this blog I spent my Blogging Time writing on, and linking to, issues, and subjects, that interested me, of course, but issues, and subjects, and events, on which others were more qualified than me to pontificate on.
Here I was writing some of my best work in the realm of daily life, and my personal hobbies, and interests, and in fiction, humor, and poetry, and I was persisting in being pre-occupied with the "Other".
I was, as Brenda Ueland was quoted in Pen on Fire, "Afraid to start something that we want to make very good, true, and serious."
This blog, and the things I write here, by joining my Bike Blog, as my creative space, helped me take the the next step in overcoming that fear, but I can't help feeling like I still have a long way to go.
This week, and next, I am going to share some fiction ideas I started, but let sit, untouched, for years, share the only creative writing effort I seem to have saved from my High School and College days, as the 1st step to considering where I can take it next, and I will begin to consider revisiting the idea of recreating, and even continuing, the concepts hinted at when I wrote about how I let "the loss of most of the original chapters of one of my proudest creations stop me from continuing, and starting over."
Getting these things out in the open will, I hope, be the 1st tentative steps toward overcoming my fears as a writer.