“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou
Yes, the agony of not writing! I’ve tried it. I played that game for thirty years. Don’t do it unless you enjoy feeling like a worthless and envious slug. Pick up your pen. Tap away on the computer. Do something with those half-baked stories in your head. It won’t hurt anybody.
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
― Toni Morrison
Done. There is nothing like a life transformed by allowing the voice God gave you to speak out on paper. No need to look left or right to see how others are doing it. Your voice is just fine, in fact your voice is exactly what YOU need.
Once an agent dismissively told me U.S. historical fiction was dead. Well, I’m not dead, I still wrote the stories I wanted to read, and, as a bonus, a bunch of other people continue to read and enjoy them. Did I mention THE LATEST ONE is out today and you might enjoy it??
Stop listening to decrees for the moment. Stop searching for how-to rules online. After you have a first draft you can go back and beat yourself up for not following some semi-famous author’s guidebook – but you probably won’t want to beat yourself up by then because you will have finally realized that this is YOUR UNIQUE LIFE and IT HAS UNIQUE VALUE. You will be so in love with the discoveries you’ve made, the new people you’ve created, the very pens you’ve used that there will be no turning back.
When you finally seek advice it will be from a place of self-love and not self-protective fear.
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath
Even if it’s awful. Even if it’s insane. Even if you find that you have creepier thoughts than you like to admit to the ever-present failure police in your head. One of my characters develops an obsession with eating pie – I thought it a bit gross for her because she’s usually so prim and proper, but realized finally that we all deal with grief and despair differently.
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
― Henry David Thoreau
In first grade I wrote about a kitten who liked to drink tea and take showers. Since I was six I hadn’t lived much. Don’t take Thoreau too seriously here. Don’t wait for permission like I did. Don’t listen to parents or teachers or agents who say you’re vain to think your story about kittens needs to be written.
Writing what you know is bullshit advice. Write what you want to discover:
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
Don’t wait! Jump. Right now! Your first hundred pages will feel like weights keeping you from flying but it’s an illusion.
About The Tenafly Road Series:
“Characters so deep you follow them into the abyss, hoping to come out unscathed, but never returning the same. They will haunt me forever.”