Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Greyhaus Guest Blogger - Finding Your Writing Voice Again

I think our guest blogger today really speaks to a lot of authors out there and how the real world simply keeps pushing its way into our life. To this writer, it may have taken a while to get back into the habit of writing, but she made it. Remember, that if you ever find yourself drifting away, don't panic. You can find your way back. It might not be easy, but it is possible.

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As a child, I knew I was a writer – a born writer. I just didn’t know what I should write.

I began with poems. By third grade, I was a “published” poet – courtesy of the local newspaper’s column for child writers. In fifth grade, I wrote a 200-page novel, one two-page chapter at a time, as a present for my teacher. She read at least part of it aloud to the class, revealing its many flaws to audience and author alike. I tried and abandoned another novel four years later. I retreated to poetry, but wearied of my own style by my freshman year in college.

What to try next? Short stories. As a sophomore, I enrolled in a seminar and wrote stories – until the instructor cheerfully commented one day, during class, that I had done thus-and-so rather well for someone who “wasn’t a born writer.” My one lifelong certainty undermined, the last straw added to the load, I stopped writing anything but required papers. The papers came hard: I would write a single sentence, go out into the common hallway and complain or bang my head on the wall, then return to my room and squeeze out another. I wrote an occasional scrap of poetry, but never tried to finish a poem.

Lacking any substitute ambition and terrified of the working world, I hid from it in law school. There, and even more as a practicing attorney, I somehow learned to write with relative ease. After a few years, I could churn out pages of effective advocacy without trauma or fuss.

I became a mother. Lines for picture books floated up from the depths. As my children grew, I wrote and filed away manuscripts, all reassuringly short. Of course I wasn’t writing novels. I knew I couldn’t do that. I called myself a wordsmith rather than a writer.

Once again, my children led me. My elder daughter entered National Novel Writing Month and completed a charming short novel. As November approached and she declared her attention to participate again, I let myself contemplate joining her. My younger daughter urged me on. I told myself I would start, just start, just dip in my toes, see how the water felt.

I emerged dripping and triumphant, 60,000 word rough draft in hand. Many revisions and another 26,000 words later, and after uncounted hours of reading blogs like this one, I may be close to beginning the submission process for my science fiction novel.

Whether born so or made so, I am a writer.


  1. Great post!! Thank you for this encouragement:)

  2. This is an inspirational post it is always really interesting to read about other people’s writing journey!

  3. There's a huge gap in this narrative. How was it that science fiction became what gripped your imagination enough to pursue that kind of world building?

    Also, it is amazing how a discouraging word will furrow deep into a developing psyche. I'd like to think a positive word would have the same kind of power.

  4. Enjoyed your story and congratulations with finally doing what you always were meant to do!

  5. This is a great post, very inspirational, specially to those out there that are getting up in years. It's never too late to pursue a dream.

  6. I hope it's OK to address the question Suze asked. I say "address" and not "answer," because I don't know the answer! I've always read and loved science fiction, but for some reason it didn't occur to me to try writing it until very recently. I can only guess at this distance from my younger self, but I may have thought it too demanding a genre.