Start Small

You and I know that I’ve been thinking over (dwelling on?) the implications of giving up my dream to be a Writer, and I came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be so bad, that it might in fact be freeing…

BUT I am not about to give up. Not anytime soon.

I am nothing if not persistent.

When you’ve had a dream since you were in the fifth grade, and every choice you’ve made in life, some I will admit faulty, had to do with this dream, it probably makes sense that you’d become attached to it. I mean, just because I’m taking a little break to get my head—and my heart—together doesn’t mean I’m done for good. (This is what I keep telling myself. It sounds better on weekends.) I liked what the novelist John Baker said in his comment—it makes me feel hopeful. I like that the amazing and inspiring visual artist Sharon told me not to give up. I like W‘s idea of “reshaping the escape route.” I like all the advice everyone has given me: thank you for listening, and thank you for not telling me to shut up!

There is a good chance that I will keep trying for this until I die. No harm in that, right?

All I need to do now is find my way back toward being a writer. A real writer, the kind who writes what she loves and doesn’t let yesterday’s rejections kill her.

I would like to start small. If you have a thought for a way to get back into it, let me know. For now, I am carrying around my notebook again. I am reading books again (as of last night I’ve been swallowed up by The Mistress’s Daughter). I’m taking lunch breaks (a walk to the library yesterday, then the chocolate factory). I’m observing my neighbors, collecting ideas for characters and stories. I’m letting myself feel a teensy bit excited about what I might write next…

Mainly, I am telling myself it’s not over yet. Because, you never know, maybe it’s not?


10 responses to “Start Small”

  1. I believe in you!

    btw, I gave you a Thinking Blogger award. 🙂 I think your Thinking Blogger awards are stacking up–that means you’re inspiring your readership!

  2. There is a mansion that we walk past sometimes. It has a child-sized garage near the regular garage, and for that I love it. (The tennis court, however, would have to go.) Above the garage (the big one) is a little apartment, or room, or something. When we live there we will use it as an office. But maybe – I think maybe we will loan it out as a miniature writer’s colony. A Nova retreat.

  3. I feel terrible–internet usage has been sporadic this last week and I’ve missed so many of your blog posts!! I am SO relieved to hear that you are not about to give up. I have lots of faith in your journey, Nova! I think it’s going to take you good places. As for starting out small again, blogging’s always good but I think you’ve got that down. 🙂 One thing I always liked to do when I was on hiatus from writing or trying to get into it was try stories in 10/20/30/40/50 words or less. You never know what they could turn out to be later and it’s sort of freeing & fun, no pressure, but it def. gets the wheels turning.

  4. Stick with it–just take breaks to take care of yourself as needed. I believe that good input (reading great work, seeing inspiring art or whatever feeds your energy) will ultimately lead to output. It’s harder NOT to write than it is to stick it out, I think.

  5. I have been grappling with this exact dilemma — the question of giving up — and I believe it is imperative to break out of the false dichotomy of success and failure that is so stifling to the creative impulse. Your idea of starting again and starting small is exactly right. Nourish the seemingly small joys that made you an artist in the first place, like notebook-keeping and the habit of observation. “Giving up” is only the beginning of your next great adventure.

  6. I have been feeling like that lately — but more alarmingly, for the first time in my life, I am not caring too much about whether I write or not. I am hoping that will pass! I can’t imagine life without it. This post gives me more of something to go on. Starting small. Sticking with it. Just do it.

  7. Try free association writing. You just sit down and writer whatever comes to mind. You can ever start with writing over and over

    I have no clue what to write today.

    Give yourself permission to write nonsense and in time you will open up your creative pathways again. you may be blocked because the tast seems to large and overwhelming. You might think you don’t know the trick to being good at writing. I think it is that you first have to be terrible. Write as much horrible crud as you can, and one day you will start to see it turn into better prose right before your eyes.

    Best of luck to you. Fight for that dream!

  8. Hi from a stranger who loves your blog. I, too, have thought about giving up recently — which is terrifying, because just like you, I’ve been committed to this word gig since elementary school. Even as I sit around thinking, “I’ll never get anywhere, I’m not good enough, I don’t work hard enough, I should quit” I start to feel kind of queasy because I know I can never entirely stop. It just can’t happen.

    Here’s what I do now: I wake up early every weekday and write or revise for an hour and a half before work. I never, ever thought I’d be one of those insane early riser writers, but I’m so glad I tried it. Now, for the rest of the day, I feel happy that I accomplished something. As a reward for all those early mornings, I give myself evenings and weekends off. This is just for now…I plan to increase the writing time and maybe add some evenings, too. But for now, it works.

    Another reason for you to keep at it: When I first found your site and read the excerpt from the story you published in Orchid, I was jealous. So think about that the next time you want to quit. 🙂 Actually, thinking of talented peers I’ve had over the years urges me to write. I might not be them, but I’ll never know how good I can become unless I keep writing.

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