Why do well-meaning non-writers think everyone has a New York Times best seller?
My husband is an artist by avocation — he loves to doodle and draw. Several years ago he took a beginning drawing class and his teacher told him, “You have a cartoon style of drawing,” which he took to mean he’d never be able to draw “real” things. That disturbed him for a while and he stopped drawing. He thought he just wasn’t good enough to bother, until one day he considered how much he loved the work of R. Crumb and others. He finally decided that he’d be happy with his own style and keep drawing. So what if his bowl of fruit still life looked funky?
I’m much the same way; I’m a writer. I made my living for a while writing public relations pieces (press releases, annual reports, newsletters, advertising copy, etc.). I’ve tried my hand at fiction, too, from childhood stories written as gifts for people or to entertain my friends to poems and love stories in my angsty youth. I’ve done seven years of NaNoWriMo and written/started 10 other novels. I loved it all but had more success with the PR writing than I’ve ever had with the fiction.
Still, I wanted to write fiction, I desperately wanted to write the next Great American Novel. (Move over F. Scott Fitzgerald!) But, frankly, I suck at fiction. I’ve got a drawer full of completed books that are all crap.
About two years ago I finally decided I just wasn’t a fiction writer — I consider myself seriously plot-deprived (where do people come up with their plots?). My characters are strong in my head but never quite make it to the page as anything but weak, very weak. And, I’m not so hot at description.
So, I started a book about my childhood, humorous stories about growing up in the 50s, as well as this blog. I can write whatever I want, screw the characters and plots. I can post pictures and links and quotes to the blog and, you know what? I love it! Writing is fun again.
Maybe writing is only meant to be my avocation? Maybe I’ll never have an impressive answer to “Have you written anything I’d know?” I’m writing and I’m having fun.