When I was a kid I used to dream of being a writer. My favourite class was English, and my favourite part of English class was creative writing. And spelling. I am a ridiculously good speller.
Anyhow, I remember being able to whip off a story in the space of an hour. In that hour I would think of an idea, write the story, proofread it, and sometimes even read it out loud to the class. It came easily to me and I loved it. In grade eight we were given an assignment to write a real and proper short story, and we had several weeks to do it. Weeks. I dug right into that homework, writing and writing and editing and re-writing, and finally with the help of my Mom (Hi Mom!), it was typed up and looked beautiful. I was proud of that story, and I am still proud of it today. Yes, I still have it. The marking scheme was from 1-5 with 1 being the best, and I got a 1+ with this comment: “Excellent Finola. You have mastered your writing skills very well. A pleasure to read. I especially enjoyed the shifting and intermingling of the plot locations and narrators!”
Now. What the #$%^ happened??
Once I started high school, there were few opportunities to write creatively. During and since high school I would occasionally and half-heartedly start writing a story, but the ideas would never flow, and my writing was, quite frankly, cringe-inducing. Writing always stayed in the back of my mind though, and after I started reading and studying blogs, I thought that maybe just maybe I had something to say in a blog, and that it could lead to sharpening my writing pencil once again. I also thought that blogging could maybe just maybe lead to me doing some real fiction writing. Those writing skills I mastered when I was thirteen must still be in there somewhere, right? On top of all that, blogging allowed the introverted me to express what must be my formerly hidden narcissistic self (but that is another post).
So a little more than a year after I started blogging, my fiction writing is frustrating me to all heck. Through blogging I practiced writing, and I met the three other lovely members of my writing group, and still everything (fiction) that I write makes me cringe. I have three different stories on the go at the moment, and I am thinking of sending all three out to my writing group with the caveat that these are not edited yet, but help – where do I focus my efforts because I am completely scattered and lost. The ideas don’t flow and writing dialogue makes me want to stick needles in my eyes.
Mostly though, I seem to be able to start a story, but then I get completely bogged down with where it should go next. I was talking to one member of my writing group a little while ago, and she suggested that I write something small but complete, with a beginning, middle and end. So I tried that, and that is how I ended up with the third unfinished story.
I’m feeling frustrated and discouraged. My next writing group meeting is Tuesday, and I am hoping to take some time between now and then to move forward just a little. We will see. I will let you know.