Saturday, July 17, 2010

What I Should Be Writing


We rounded a set of stacks, looking for books on the Victorian Age. "You should write fiction," said my older daughter. "You'd be good at it."

I'm not sure what I have done over time to give her this impression. I explained that fiction is something I don't feel I can do right now, maybe ever.

This week, when I sat down to do Julia's writing Initiation Tool, I felt equally unsure about what it said to me. If I put all the pieces together (my favorite movies, books, fairy tale, top things I think about), it appears I should be writing something along the lines of romantic business management books or dramatic treatises on education. It is possible I should also be writing these in broken French.

We'll see. For today I am writing this, about what I should be writing. And I am saying goodbye to Julia's book The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life. Which leaves me back at the beginning. What should I be writing?

Once upon a time, there was a romantic writer who spoke very little French...

Peony photo, by L.L. Barkat.

HighCallingBlogs Follow Your Bliss
Erin's A Contract for a Life of Writing Bliss
Cassandra's High Stakes
Nancy's Choices and Voices
Glynn's Looking for that Toy Radio
Lyla's Inside Out

Charity's Writing in Vein

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Blogger Anna M Blanch said...

Out of the mouths of babes..

9:13 AM  
Blogger Sandra Heska King said...

You write. I'll read.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I do not read much fiction...but if you wrote it, I would read it.

Would a trip to France be needed? For research purposes, of course.

Happy Saturday...

10:03 AM  
Blogger n. davis rosback said...

forget writing...let's just go swimming in those soft folds pink peony

10:28 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

I am going to come clean: I love fiction. I feel such guilt when I read the reading lists of everyone else. Such deep spiritual tomes.
If you write a fiction book, I will read it. I love getting lost in the story. If they are well written, I am happy to read novels, mysteries, even a bit of suspense. I know anything you write will be well written. So...perhaps your daughter is on to something.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Kelly Langner Sauer said...

fiction isn't hard, if you write it true...

I love that photo...

12:50 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Did you know the French word for peony is "pivoine"? And that the "antique varieties" - August Dessert, Mme de Verneville, Mme Emile Lemoine -- are prized for their color and fragrance?

So, you wrote just the right thing, because I learned two new somethings today.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

And I should be writing romantic epic sagas of good verses evil, all with happy endings.

I'm with Nancy, only, let's go swimming for real.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

write what you are given. it will be the right thing.

5:02 PM  
Blogger A Simple Country Girl said...

Please keep writing what your heart bleeds through ink...


5:03 PM  
Blogger Graceful said...

It's been such a great journey with Julia...

I'm with you...I don't feel ready for fiction. Will I ever?

5:39 PM  
OpenID said...

Romantic business management? In broken French? I would think that niche is even more narrow than "Faith in the workplace"

But good luck with it.


(you are too funny)

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl Smith said...

...and every word she wrote, and even those she spoke, captivated all who heard/read.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Lorrie said...

She like me just knows you're good :-) I can see you writing fiction.. uh hu..

11:10 PM  
Blogger emily wierenga said...

i'm so glad to have found you through Talk at the Table... writer-sister... this journey, into words... it intrigues, no? and befuddles. may you be guided, and blessed... e.

12:05 AM  
Blogger Red Letter Believers said...

Writing fiction to me seems unreal. But that's the point, is to write reality into the made up.

I've tried it and frankly, i stink:)

8:27 AM  
Blogger Ann H. Waldo said...

I specialized in creative nonfiction in college, and played occasionally in some very unusual forms of poetry, but never really wrote fiction myself. It's easier taking things I know and putting them into words than trying to create whole worlds and relationships.

Then God set several things in my path, including a favorite fiction author stepping away from her pen and a recurring daydream of a single encounter between two people. When NaNoWriMo (look it up--it's a fabulous writing organization!) 2009 rolled around, I was hardly interested. Me, write at least 50,000 words in one month in FICTION? I was working two jobs and creatively exhausted after a whirlwind eight years of college. I did have that scene, though...and something (God) told me to go for it. After all, what was the worst that could happen?

I started with the one scene in my head and built the characters out from there, essentially ending up writing the book from the middle-out. At the end of the 30 days, I had 57,000 words written. In three more months, I completed the first coherent rough draft. I'm nearly finished with the final editing stages after a month hiatus. In September, I'm going to my first fiction writer's conference to try to sell the book.

I didn't plan on being a fiction author, and there is honestly a lot I have yet to learn--some of these rookie mistakes are a little embarrassing for someone with a Master's degree in English. What I do know is that God gave me the desire and inspiration to tell a story...and I have a trilogy in the works already. You may be surprised what can happen if you push past your comfort zones. Start with a short story if you like, or go ahead and plunge in with a novel. What's the worst that can happen? You write something no one will ever read? Isn't that the case with most first drafts of poems, anyway?

Just some thoughts...don't want to preach at you. :) Good luck in whatever you decide.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Ann H. Waldo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Ann H. Waldo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

The big thing for you, L.L. is simply this: Keep on writing whatever kind it is!

I've had so many things I've had to do, and I still am looking forward to getting and reading and blogging on your now not so new book. Too many irons in the fire in recent weeks and months. One of our pastors, Sharon, wrote a new book as well, her first one, and I need to get that, etc.

Who knows, maybe a novel will form in your mind, which you'll start working out "on paper."

5:27 AM  
OpenID jodeeluna said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I have enjoyed reading your posts. Your words and messages resonate within me.

I also appreciate Julia Cameron. Her books propelled my writing forward and encouraged my passion for the craft.

I chuckled over the interaction with your daughter because my daughter once insisted, "Mom, you should write novels!" I replied, "No one would ever believe my life story could possibly be true so why do I have to write fiction?"

I look forward to visiting often.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Jim Martin said...

You are a wordsmith and you represent both the art and craft of writing, very well.

That being said, I will read whatever you write. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry.


10:59 AM  

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