It's like a time machine, but simultaneously worse AND better

It was about 10 years ago that I got a complicated new job and the first of my four kids entered the teenage years. The demands of family and work meant I had to cut way back on my writing. And more or less abandon any effort to talk about my writing or engage with other writers, at any level, in any forum.

I still wrote, mostly lousy, half-baked first drafts of lousy, half-baked novels. There was the corporate thriller, the sci-fi conspiracy action book, the touching redemption story of estranged brothers, the alternate history where the Nazi scientists fled the reich early and Operation Paperclip made Argentina a third superpower....

All crap, of course, but it kept the flame alive.

Now, in 2024, career changes have put me more or less back where I was in 2013. Family-wise, we all made it through the teenage years with what feels like no more than the usual score of bruises, grudges, tears, revelations, insights, and new vistas opened before us. At least, I hope so.

The question is, what does this mean for my fiction writing? Will I pick up the pen again? I could revise and extend the drafts I wrote while wandering in the wilderness, try to make something of them. Or I could re-read them all, shudder in horrified revulsion, thank each of them for their service, and bury them all face down in an unmarked mass grave at some forgotten crossroads.

Or I could try to write something new. Ideas and snippets and stories are always floating in me. For a long time, I haven't bothered with any serious effot to capture them, since I didn't have the bandwidth to do anything with them. But now, perhaps, I do. Once again, I do. Or I might.

Or have I outgrown this? Should I redirect my energies into something else? The world doesn't need any of my writing, but in truth, the world NEVER needed my writing. I needed to write. Do I still?

Do I?

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Help keep the words flowing.

1 comment:

  1. “Do I?”


    Even if the half-formed stories aren’t “worthy” in and of themselves, they can inform something new and better. I wrote my first novel during the summer of 1980, and it was a hot mess—but it and some other ideas fused together to create something much better, over 30 years later.

    You might remember me expressing surprise that you weren’t already on the B&N shelves, back when. That hasn’t changed. Keep writing, even it it’s just for yourself and your online community. It will be appreciated.


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