Wednesday, November 4, 2020

IWSG: Why Do I Write What I Write?


Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It's time to let our insecurities hang out. Yep, it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you're a writer at any stage of career, I highly recommend this blog hop as a way to connect with other writers for support, sympathy, ideas, and networking.

If you're a reader, it's a great way to peek behind the curtain of a writing life.
November 4 question - Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

The awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria! Be sure to check out their posts as well as some of the other fabulous posts in this blog hop after you see what I've got to say: 
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I began my writing career as a poet. Of course, I was six, so "career" meant that I wrote poetry for my friends who paid me in candy and "poet" meant that I understood rhyme better than the other kids in my class. 

Maybe because I started with poetry, which stems from strong emotions, I've always used writing as a coping mechanism, sorting out my feelings in verse and personal journaling.

I stuck with poetry with occasional forays into nonfiction essay and short stories until I was in my thirties. 

It never stopped being an outlet for me for tough emotions and a way for me to sort out for myself what I thought and felt, but I hadn't really moved toward making writing into something more of a vocation than a hobby. 

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Though I read things like horror, science fiction, Gothic romance, and mystery, I had this idea that I was "supposed to" write more literary things. 

It was a kind of snobbery against my own taste, like unrealistic stories were somehow less worthy

Maybe it came from my college education, or maybe it's some weird mind game I played with myself to make sure that being a "real writer" remained something unattainable. 

I don't know. It's funny to think about that now, but it was true. What I liked to read was not what I wrote because I looked down on what I truly loved. 

In my thirties, suffering from postpartum depression, I sought out and joined a writing critique group. 

At the time, I was after companionship, support, and some outside pressure to motivate me: a feeling of having a deadline. The group I found was a novel-writing group. I'm still with a version of that group today, by the way, though the membership has changed over the years. 

I had never written a novel, but thought I might like to, so I did. And four years later, I had abandoned two novels and finished my first one, a women's issues fiction book called His Other Mother (unpublished) and ta-da! I was a novelist. 

I found I loved the longer form, the way of connecting with characters longer term and riding alongside them on their journeys for a longer chunk of the trip. So, I immediately started writing another one. This time, though, I promised myself that it would be fun. 

Don't get me wrong! I wouldn't take back the experience of writing His Other Mother and everything it taught me about writing and about myself, but it was a slog a lot of the time. I wallowed in dark places to write that one and it took a toll on me. I'm proud of having written it, and may yet go back and revise it into publishing shape in the future, but one thing it wasn't was FUN.  

Somewhere along the way, I met another writer: James Maxey. He was teaching writing workshops at my public library and I signed up for a few. Through him, I learned about superhero fiction, a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy that I had no idea existed: superhero stories in prose novel form rather than comic book form. James has a great book (Nobody Gets the Girl) in that genre, and has since written several follow-ups. 

I've always loved superhero stories, starting with Spidey on the Electric Company and Mighty Mouse and Underdog. I got excited about writing one of my own, and a series was born: The Menopausal Superhero series. 


The biggest lesson I learned is the value of writing what you love, not what you think you *should* be writing. 

These days, I write anything I want, my only restrictions coming from time and keeping up with deadlines for commitments I've made. 

I've been published in a rage of genres and subgenres including superhero, horror, romance, science fiction, fairy tale, nonfiction, vampire, and ghost. 


I've dabbled in post-apocalyptic, Gothic, historical, and paranormal. I plan to try a lot more kinds of stories before I'm done because part of the fun is trying something new. That's what makes it feel like playing. 

So, why do I write what I write? Because I love it!

10 comments:

  1. Very cool!! Love the eclectic nature of your works!
    It took me years to find my voice and niche. Nothing is wasted though - every story is a learning experience that has taught me a ton!

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  2. Part of the fun definitely is trying something new.

    I love that you've published in so many genres and subgenres. That's awesome!

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  3. Loving it is the best reason to write in my opinion. =)

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  4. I love that you've written in so many genres. I always feel like I get ideas in many different genres, too.

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  5. I love that your first novel helped you, your novel writing group helped you, and you've written in so many genres.
    Way to go!

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  6. You're not alone. I thought the same, writing literary works, as well. I think what led me to that kind of thinking because most the authors and books I read were class/school requirements. And I grew up devouring young adult fiction like Sweet Valley High, horror fiction like Stephen King and Fear Street.

    Now I'm writing romance and fantasy and have documents of story ideas in various other genres and subgenres.

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  7. I love superheroes too, but I never thought to write about them. I'm glad you do both. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  8. It may have taken you a few years, but you found your niche. Love superhero stories!

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  9. Ooh, write what you love not what you *should* write. I love that!

    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth Mueller¨*•.♥

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  10. "Because I love it!" Says it all. I agree about college messing me up in the head re: genre fiction. Write what you love.

    Anne from annehiga.com

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