This is the month when a lot of us spend some time looking back on the previous year and figuring out what we want to set as goals (or plans) for the coming year.
I’ve been doing this, certainly, and when it comes to my writing the year didn’t go as I planned (it never really does). I will admit, I spent some time in the end of 2015 feeling a bit uncertain about myself as a writer.
I did complete a draft of a novel – and one round of revision notes on it — but I know that it’s going to require a fair amount of rewriting and reworking before it’s ready to go anywhere and had to put it aside for a little while while I figure that out.
The Middle-Grade novel that I had drafted out and planned to draft in November is sitting, waiting, while I find my way into the head of the MC, and figure out some details that I want to have a grasp on before I start writing.
These two things have made it hard for me to feel very confident about my fiction writing. At the same time, though, I’ve been feeling pretty good about my blogging… although I don’t like how often I get down-to-the-wire with it.
Taking this all into account has brought me to a conclusion about my fiction writing – for a while I need to “Get Back To Basics.”
What does this mean? Well, it means a few things to me. I feel like part of the problem I encountered this past year and a half was that, for a long time, my fiction writing had been sitting on the sidelines, largely ignored. When I jumped back in it was kind of like… well, like riding a bike after not being on one for many, many, many years. I know how to do it, but the muscles aren’t used to it and a bit (or more than a bit) rusty.
So I’m putting the novel-projects aside for now. At least for the start of the year I’m going to not worry about writing stories that have plots, or even about completing a story. I’ll push myself to write for at least 15-minutes every day, a fiction free-write on whatever comes to my mind. Through the week this is all I’ll worry about when it comes to fiction, opening up my little free time to focus on other things. On the weekends I’ll try doing some of the various writing exercises that are buried in the pages of the many writing-books that I’ve collected through the years – and a few I remember from creative writing classes of the past.
Basically I’m giving myself a year to play and learn, to explore the craft without putting the pressures of “complete a novel” over my head — getting more comfortable with my fiction-writing self, my own voice and style, before I return to the challenge of crafting a novel (or editing one).
This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.
There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection! More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.