Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Taking a big step

When I began my blog it was with the intention of focusing on my creativity and all the things that feed my soul. I hope that one day these things can also provide me with enough income that I needn't work for other people any longer. More importantly I hoped to use it to motivate me to make my very important dreams a reality, as cliched as that sounds.

I'm happy to say I identify very strongly as an artist now and painting has become a great joy which fills my days more often than it ever did before I began blogging. I'm also pleased that I have finally had a manuscript edited in full by a fresh pair of eyes. All of these things do so much to lift me up. It's the knowledge that I'm not quite there yet which keeps me going forward. As long as thirty to forty hours of my week is spent filling a job out of necessity rather than out of passion, I will be dissatisfied enough to push forward.

One suggestion given to me for my blog when I first started it was to use it to publish excerpts from the five novels and multiple short stories I have written. These tasters would be similar to the progressive photos I share of my artwork.

I balked at the idea for a few reasons. First of all, I thought the writing in my blog would be writing enough. It's true that people do seem to enjoy what I have to share and the most frequent and flattering comment is that when they read my account of a place I've been they feel like they're actually there too. This doesn't expose my true writing nature, however, as this just shows I'm good at journalling. The thirty plus journals I have kept since I was six are testimony to that.

Another reason I held back is because I'm a bit nervous to share my work. Until that manuscript was edited no one had actually taken any of my fictional pieces and read them all the way through. I'd read bits to different people but not shared an entire body of work. The result was amazing. The editing was impeccable and the comments that went along with it spurred me to start researching publisher again.

Something has slowed me down, though. My primary excuse is a lack of time, which in its way is a legitimate argument. As my mum always said you have as much time as you're willing to make. I don't have a really significant excuse. I'm tired. I'm worn down and find it difficult to motivate myself after putting in a seven or eight hour day that starts at 7:30. This isn't really reason enough not to do the single thing I've had my heart set on since I can remember.

When I was five and six I would take large chunks of paper and fold them over, stapling them along the spine and then filling the pages with illustrations and words. As I became proficient with a computer I began typing my thoughts out, as well as scribbling them on the pages of my journals. I invented new characters every week. I was writing novels by the time I was fifteen and there was never a question in my mind that one day I would hold a book, bound and beautiful, of my own creation. It would be a proper publication, unlike the folded chunks of paper from my childhood. It would sit on shelves next to Terry Pratchett, Judy Blume, Anne McAffrey, Irvine Welsh, Kurt Vonnegut and Beverly Cleary.

Sharing the progress of my paintings did give me a sense of timeline. I didn't feel rushed into completing them, but knowing that they had been seen and that people wanted to see them finished added to my own passion for creating them. I make them as much for the audience as I make them for me.

I think it's about time I took the same approach with my writing. I've not worked out just yet which excerpt I'm going to share but I promise it will be my next blog entry. The only thing I ask of you is your honesty. I want feedback. I want to know if it makes sense, if it flows and most importantly, if you want to read more. There's an option to add comments at the bottom of each post so please do.

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