Putting Down the Pen?

I’ve wanted, for a while now, to be able to take a memory, something from my past, and write a deep, meaningful, reflective post about it.  Problem is, I can’t seem to come up with a memory that would allow me to write anything of significance.  I could talk about choices I made that, in retrospect, were probably wrong or I could talk about moments when I thought my heart was breaking, but again, in retrospect, it probably wasn’t, but I don’t think I’d get the reflective piece I was hoping for.  I should probably be thankful I’ve lived a fairly even-keeled life.  There have been no times of great tragedy, only disappointment and regret, but there have also been no times of tremendous joy, only fleeting happiness.  In the grand scheme of things, I should consider myself lucky.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble writing for a long time now- pretty much since I finished the second big edit of Twenty-Five.  Poetry, short stories, attempts at novels- nothing is working.  I have begun to wonder if I should put the pen down and forget about this whole writing thing.  Not that I want to, necessarily.

I’ve never been successful at anything I’ve attempted to do.  At least, I don’t feel like I have been.  Always good, never great.  Which makes me think I’m not choosing the right things.  Honestly, when I think about it, the only thing I ever really excelled at was school.  So, I’ve been thinking about going back to school.  I’ve wanted to get a graduate degree pretty much since I received my undergraduate one, but the timing has never been right or the money’s never been available.  I still don’t know if the timing is right and I know there isn’t money available, but if I keep waiting, I could be waiting forever, right?

I don’t know for sure yet what I’m going to do with the rest of my life, or even the next couple of years.  I wish I did.  I wish I knew if I had it in me to write another book.  I keep trying and failing.  And I hate failing.  I keep thinking one day I’ll have the time to devote to another story.  One day I’ll develop characters that really speak to me.  One day I’ll come up with a plot that is so freaking fantastic that it will basically write itself.  But how long can I wait for one day?

I feel lost and confused and really guilty that I haven’t had anything of quality to post on this blog in a very long time.

4 thoughts on “Putting Down the Pen?

  1. I see that you seek a story or plot. What if the plot is directly in front of you? What I mean to say is, the very idea that you cannot conjure a plot at the moment is an innovative venture into writing about the same.
    When I used to (rarely) write fiction or poetry(for classwork), I found that writing came to me; I didn’t make a good effort to go to it. Both ways, it works – it essentially depends on how you write. Do ideas come to you at good times? Or do you actively seek out ideas? The former applied to me.

    As far as education runs, I think more is always better.

  2. I am now about to impart a piece of advice that I myself have had a terrible time with:

    Write through it.

    I have had MONTHS where I couldn’t find the oomph to write at all. And what I did write sucked. Sucked in ways I shudder to go back and read again. But, the one thing about those posts or stories or novel starts that sucked, was that they got out of the system.

    Every writer has a million tragically bad words built up in them, spread out over the course of their writing lives. Sometimes they come in great gushes, sometimes they get damed up but the good work that is flowing out, but eventually the suck returns.

    The only thing that will make them worse, is to let them keep you from writing at all.

    I’ve never had a good idea that didn’t start out in the pile of crap that slurped and glopped out of me the day or week or month before.

    I don’t claim to be a good writer, but what I know about writing is this, “you have to slog though the bad writing to get to the good writing behind it.”

    You have very good writing in you, I’ve already read wonderful stuff from your pen. Do NOT let the bad stuff you’re struggling with trick you into putting down the pen completely. Happiness will never exist in surrendering to the crap.

  3. If you haven’t, you need to read Rilke’s Letters To a Young Poet. It’s short, and worth it. Every writer must read it.

    Yay on grad school!!

  4. Okay, I am going to be mean! Are you really that spoiled to not see the success you have already had in life. I know you haven’t found the man of your dreams and that “Ben” should have already showed up. I also know that your book wasn’t picked up by some publisher and you weren’t offered $250K just for the rights to it. Etc….
    SO WHAT! YOU took the time to WRITE the book. YOU did a wonderful job except that it needed a few more twists to lure the publishers. You had tons of fans on TNBW and I am sure you have quite a few here. I guess they all are fans because you are such a terrible writer.
    I follow you because I saw a tremendous talent. I am sure the rest have some equivalent reason too.
    So quit feeling gloomy, depressed, failuristic(I just made that up) and write, write, write….
    I found that writing for the Yahoo Contributor Network satisfies my needs for immediate gratification as I get paid and put my stuff out for potentially millions to read…..
    If you decide to do that, please don’t write a blog that says you’ve only had a million hits…
    Bob

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