Writing: Should I Find a Niche?

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For this month’s IWSG Blog Hop, my question is this: As a writer, should I settle with a “niche”?

I discovered writing by “accident” at the age of eleven, and been writing on and off ever since.  In 2007, my first (short) story was published.  Now that I’m a full-time homemaker, I write almost every day.

Yet, I haven’t decided which form or genre or niche to settle on.

I’ve dabbled in poetry,  screenwriting, essays, journaling/memoir, serial fiction, flash and short stories and have written in almost every genre (except for historical fiction).

What’s my problem?

I enjoy writing all of them.

I’ve been told that I should write whatever my heart and soul desire.

So, why am I so conflicted?

Although I have published many forms of writing but they’ve all been “short” (meaning under 10,000 words), I still have hope to publish a novel one day and that’s my dilemma.

If I write and publish a book in a particular genre, does that mean I’m stuck with that genre in the foreseeable future?  Or, can I jump around from one genre to another? My main concern is confusing my readers especially if they enjoy reading only that particular genre and not the others.

Or, perhaps I’m making a huge mountain out of a molehill?

 

 

What Does Writer’s Block Mean For Me?

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It’s that time of month again 🙂  The question for April is: what does writer’s block mean for me? 

First of all, let’s define this term.  Dictionary.com defines writer’s block as “a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work.”

Writer’s block means different things to writers.   Some writers know exactly what’s causing their condition; others have no clue.  Either way, it’s a distressing feeling NOT being able to create.  In many cases the more frustrated one feels, the worse this condition becomes.  And If you have no idea what is causing this creative blockage, it can last for months or even years.

Yeah, distressing.

It took me a long while to put names to what cause the writer’s block in me.  There are three that come to pester me from time to time:

  1. Procrastination: This is by far the most common one for me.  They should probably create a professional procrastinator field because I would easily excel at it.  I just love putting things off.  You can call me laid-back, or just plain lazy—it means the same to me.  Things eventually get done, but it’s usually at the last possible moment.  Nothing like a little stress to keep the blood pumping hard, eh?
  2. Distractions: Most of my distractions come via the internet like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest as well as YouTube, Pandora, Hulu and Netflix.  The others are the mundane house chores, paying bills and balancing the check book…you know, life in general.  I call these my distractions because they are just that since they keep me from writing.
  3. Mental Disturbances: aka depression and anxiety.  There are so many layers to these so I don’t even know where to begin.  Depression is like having darkness filling your inner most being and thoughts ’till you don’t care or have any energy to muster up anything creative.  Anxiety for me fills my mind with negative thoughts that I am inferior and can NOT produce anything of value so I don’t even try.

Well, that’s writer’s block for me in a nutshell.

What about you?

 

The Journey of Rediscovering a Lost Story

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March IWSG Day Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Over the years, I’ve written several stories (both short and book-length), and for various reasons, I set them to one side never to go back to them.

Time passes…

Voices of one of those abandoned projects begin to cry out to me…

Please tell my story.

Complete me so I can rest in peace.

Finish what you’ve started so that the world may know what happened.

Someone somewhere need to hear this.

Come back to me.

Eventually, I give in.

I have to.

These voices give me no choice; just an ultimatum.

Write, or completely lose my mind.

Or, my soul.

Both are bad in my opinion.

The challenges?

Choosing which one to pick up and continue.

And…

How should this particular story end?

Especially since I may not have set eyes on it for a number of years.  I find that I have to get to know the character(s) all over again (which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing).  I enjoy rediscoveries.  Sometimes I look at a story and ask myself-what was I thinking of when I wrote this?  Was I possibly possessed????

Nah, someone else wrote this one.  Couldn’t be me.

Then slowly, the memories return as well as the excitement.

I pick up the pen, and begin once more.

*To answer the question above…I am currently working on an old story with the hope of one day finding a “home” for it.

Sometimes Having Too Many Creative Ideas Hurt

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“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

For the past few years (longer perhaps), I’ve struggled with NOT the writer’s block (blank mind) but with having my brain so crammed with ideas and stories that need to be told, I have nearly stopped writing altogether.

How do I separate these ideas and stories out, and prioritized them?   I mean, they are all screaming as loud as they can…

Me!  Pick me!  No, pick me! 

*Slap!*

You idiot, I’m the one she need to pick and not you! 

And so on.

All day and all night.  Every. Single. Day.

No wonder some writers go completely bonkers.

I’m about there myself.

voices-in-my-head

What makes it all worse is feeling a growing sense of urgency that time is running out.

With so many various life experiences, I desire to use them to help others (through essays and poetry) as well as sharing certain messages that I feel people need to hear/read (through stories and films)…

I–I just don’t know even where to begin.

Which idea…which message should I start with?

What if that one is the last thing I ever do…will it be enough?

Oh, why do I torture myself so?

Writers have told me to just write about the first thing that comes to mind.

Get one word down.

And then another…and another…

But these voices in my head just won’t allow me to do that..one..thing..

Just one.

One!

That’s all I’m asking for!

exploding-head-too-many-ideas

Desperate, I began looking around online for answers.

It seems there is a name for what I have, and that I am not the only one.

Too Many Ideas Syndrome

(TMIS)

I’ve also found some suggestions that I will view as “treatment options.”   Namely from these two articles that I will highlight and visit often:

  1. Dealing With Too Many Ideas Syndrome?
  2. 9 Ways To Overcome Too Many Ideas Syndrome

Some of the treatment options mentioned were making a list of all your creative ideas (including a short summary of what they are about), then prioritize which one to work on (working on only one at a time); review the list either monthly or quarterly to see if any need to be added or deleted as well as if anything need to be re-prioritized.

I finally feel like I have a game-plan that I can live with; and hopefully, will help calm down the voices.

What about you?  Do you have TMIS?

If so, how do you deal with it?

 

What Will I Write (in 2017)?

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*This post is written for this month’s BlogHop for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

what-year-is-this

For many I’m sure that the New Year is to be celebrated.

For me?

It’s a time when I tend to freak out.

I’m getting ready to start the second half of my forties, and with each New Year that passes, the ticking clock grows louder.

Throughout my life, I have experienced variety of losses.  And because I am acutely aware just how short life really is, I can’t help but to feel that I’m somehow missing my calling.

A calling to what???

That question has haunted me for many years; and, I’m no closer to the answer now than I was a year ago.

There are clues though.

I’m certain it has something to do with writing, and with helping people.

But, that’s all I know.

I keep writing stuff, but I’m hopping from one form and genre to the next with no idea of which area should be my specialty or niche.

I’ve opened my blog to try and help struggling and/or new writers gain more exposure but feel I should be doing more.

But, what?

clock-animated-gif-18

Now, I’m looking at yet another New Year.

And I’m really freaking out.

What should be my writing goals?

What should I be focusing on that will bring me closer to whatever my calling is?

Is there any point in trying?

which-direction

Writing: Looking Way Ahead

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Click on the image to access this group’s official page

The question for December: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

Wow, my first month with the group and they just had to ask this question.  What is a writing career?  I have always considered a career as something you get paid for while you pursue a passion or an occupational path which leads to promotions and higher pay grades.

I have hung up that “hat” in January 2015.  You see, I have a progressive disability called Usher Syndrome (where I’m slowly losing my vision coupled with moderate hearing loss); and because of this, I “retired” and went on Social Security.  And because I receive the SS disability benefits, I’m not to earn an income.

I’m only 45.

And believe me, I still have lots to live for!

So, back to the question.

In order to clear my conscience and help me figure out my answer, I consulted a dictionary and here what it had to say about the word, career:

“An occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework.”

Hmm, still having trouble with applying this word to my situation.  Let’s see what else I can find.

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.”-Maya Angelou

That’s it!  A writing career to me isn’t about “making a living” but “making a life.”

Now that I’m feeling better about things, let’s move on.

For the first part of the question: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now?

Though I’ve been regularly writing and publishing (short stuff) since 2007, I still haven’t found that niche. I desire to have a book of some sort traditionally published in five years, but whether it’ll be the fiction or nonfiction sort, I haven’t a clue.  I have dabbled in all forms and nearly all genres, and I’m still in the dark.

Does this mean I should try to be one of those multi-genre/format kind of writer?

Or, should I continue to try and narrow down the area or areas of “expertise” for myself?

I’m starting to wonder if maybe I need to find a mentor to help guide me on this journey.

Sheesh, I’m all over the place.  See what you did, IWSG?  😉

On to the second part of the question: what’s your plan to get there?

At this juncture, I plan to continue what I’m currently doing: craft the kind of fictional stories that I’d want to read, and then find a home for them; plus write micropoems and essays about my various life experiences (have been dealt with a lot of losses that I’m still trying to work through).

Whew.

Survived this one.

What about you?  Where do you see yourself, as a writer, in five years?