Writing: Should I Find a Niche?

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

 

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?

 

 

My Own Battle With Mental Illness

Doll Hospital is an art and literature print journal on mental health

Just a little blurb this week about an essay I have published with the current issue of Doll Hospital Journal.

In the essay,  In Search of Hope, I recount my struggles through various losses and disabilities that brought me close to suicide as well as my battle with anxiety and depression.   Mental illness also runs in my family.

What helped me through all these?

Writing, and the love for my family.

For those of you struggling with mental illness, just know that you’re not alone, and to never give up!

*To read this digital issue, click on the Doll Hospital’s image on top and this will take you to the site to download the item.  It will ask for $5.00 but this is only a suggested donation amount. 

Why I Write: Contest Winner Interview

coffee-and-writing

Why I Write

 

(*From late August through end of October, I ran a contest over at WritersCafe.Org called “Why I Write.”  The premise of the contest was to write a 250-word essay (or a poem) on why you write. For the next three Mondays, I will be presenting the winners’ interviews or posting their winning work.  Enjoy!)

 

Our 3rd place winner of the contest is known as WriterGirl247247 for her essay, Saved by Words.  You can check out her profile/other writings here.

 

  1. So, tell us a little bit about the piece you wrote, Saved by Words, for this contest.

My piece, Saved by Words, is the story of how I became a writer. I love nothing more than to create stories. But somewhere along the line my own story slipped through the cracks. So I decided to tell it, because I believe what I express in Saved by Words is felt by many writers.

 

  1. What else do you generally write?

I write mostly young adult adventure, suspense, spy thrillers, and science fiction. And when I can I like to throw in some humor and romance.

 

  1. How long have you been writing? What inspired you to start?

I’ve been writing since I was thirteen. Initially I channeled my creative side through drawing, but never saw myself becoming an artist. I always had stories inside my head since I was I kid and would use them when I drew. Then one day after school, a new idea hit me. Drawing wasn’t working, so I wrote. And I’ve been writing ever since.

 

  1. Tell us a little bit about your hopes and dreams as a creative.

Ideally I’d be a New York Times bestseller, and my books heading to the big screen. But most importantly, I want to create someone’s favorite character. To create someone’s favorite book. I want people to love my worlds as much as I do.

 

  1. Where else can we find you and your work?

I’m currently finishing the first book of a five book series, the idea that drove me to write. Most of my other work can be found under my Writers Cafe profile. I’m also working on the first of another series, Phantoms: The Lost One, which is also under my profile and contemplating publishing it.

 

Two Writing Contests (Deadline is less than three days away!)

coffee-and-writing

Why I Write  

Submit a 250-word essay or a poem on why do you write.

Top three finishers will have a choice of seeing their essay/poem featured on A Writer and Her Adolescent Muse blog , or be interviewed for the same blog (Purpose? More exposure!)

Interested?  Click here.

spooky-halloween-pic  Super Short Halloween  

In honor of the upcoming frightful holiday, write a super short horror story (100 words max).

Story should be no more than PG-13. Think like Hitchcock…be creative and don’t rely on gore to scare the pants off your readers.

Interested in this one?  Click here.

Enjoy!                                                                                                                                   w

The Price of Not Writing

(Essay first appeared in the Why We Write section of 1888 Center web site on July 11, 2016.)

the price of not writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do writers write? Fundamentally it’s pretty much the same. We write because we must; because this is who we are. I could say the same for me, but I prefer to look at this from a slightly different perspective: what would happen if I didn’t write? 

I’ve done it before. This “hiatus” lasted for nearly ten years and I felt the consequences of my writing inaction.

Misery. Pure, pure misery.

There was also hate there. And anger. At what? At myself. At life. At various people.

During this period, I dealt with a lot of losses. My vision and hearing due to a progressive disease. The death of my first husband at the age of 25. A miscarriage. Nearly losing my second husband to Pericarditis. Job loss due to restructuring. My father to an aggressive lung disease.

You know, life.

It’s something we all experience. We get up each morning. We breathe. We eat (except for those who live solely by coffee). We go about our daily duties. And for those of us who can, we sleep.

Day in. Day out.

As humans, we’re survivors. I mean look at the history of mankind. It’s a miracle that we even exist!

So, that’s what I did. I strived to survive. Only it wasn’t enough. Anxiety and depression slipped into my life. I felt I was slowly losing myself. Heck, I wanted to lose myself! I mean why did I keep fighting to live? At some point in our existence, we all die.

Right?

Something was missing. A piece of me was missing. I just couldn’t figure it out.

My second husband, Jay, presented me with a gift for no special occasion. It was out of love he gave me this precious item, and because he knew me better than I did.

A journal.

A beautiful leather-bound book full of white pages.

Blank pages.

I instinctively knew what I had to do. I took a pen and painstakingly filled each page with words. As Hemingway so eloquently said years ago, I bled on those pages.

I’d found the missing piece of myself.

My writing soul.

So, whenever I’m asked, why do I write?

I write because the price is too high NOT to.

Exploring Nonfiction

darkwoods

 

 

I’ve been writing (somewhat) regularly since 2007; so that’s about nine years now.  Most of this time I focused on fiction (of supernatural or apocalyptic nature) while occasionally dabbling in poetry or essays.   While fiction is still my first love, I find that I am being pulled more and more towards writing nonfiction.

Wait a minute.  Hold the phone.

What exactly is nonfiction?

Here’s my favorite word: research.

Nonfiction (according to Dictionary.com): is “the branch of literature comprising works of narrative prose dealing with or offering opinions or conjectures upon facts and reality.”

Some examples are:

academic paper, autobiography, biography, book report, creative nonfiction, diary, dictionary, encyclopedia, essay, handbook, journal and memoir.

I looked at a few of these examples a bit further.

Essay (Dictionary.com) is “a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and generally analytic, speculative, or interpretative.”

This would include: “literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author.” (Wikipedia)

Essay can take on other creative forms:  film essay or photographic essay.

Memoir Versus Autobiography: are very similar to one another in that they give intimate details of one’s life.  What are the differences?

Autobiography focuses more on chronological events, and deals mostly with facts and reality.  Memoir, on the other hand, is less obsessed with facts and more about emotional truth.  It generally has a subject of focus rather than detailing all the chronological events of one’s life.

What if I don’t want to deal completely in the nonfiction and yet don’t want it to be all imaginary either.  What other options would I have?

Semi-fiction is “fiction implementing a great deal of nonfiction such as a fictional description based on a true story.” (Wikipedia)

One example of semi-fiction would be an autobiographical novel which is a form of novel that merges elements of fiction with autobiography.

At the age of forty-five, I am finding it increasingly difficult NOT to write about my life experiences.  Some of them however are still painful to me today, or I am afraid of hurting loved ones, so I tend to stay away from anything truly autobiographical in nature.   Yet I don’t want my work to be based entirely on facts or reality either.  I want to explore the emotional truth of my life experiences so memoir and essay are attractive to me.

The only way to honestly find out is by writing them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Writer’s Routine

writing life

 

How would you describe your writing process?  Is it simple?  Eccentric?  Do you have a particular place where you’d prefer to write?  A place to go to in order to draw out your muse?  As I continue to participate in the Summer Writing Project sponsored by both Juke Pop Serials and 1888 Center, I wrote an essay detailing a little of my own writing process in the section called Routineology.

 

a writer is

Click on this image to read the short essay

 

Please share with us a bit about your own writing process!

The Price of Not Writing

the price of not writing

 

Why do you write?

Ever really thought about all the true reasons why you do what you do?  I had the opportunity to sit down and write an essay for 1888 Center about why I write.  Click on to read…The Price of NOT Writing

An Essayist or Not? (Poll)

Looking Back and Ahead (Happy New Year!)

2015 new

 

As another year draws to a close, this is usually when I look back and see what I’ve accomplished as a writer, and then look ahead to a new year with goals and opportunities.   This year I did get a short fiction (The Pocket Watch) published at a new ‘zine, and I had an opportunity to interview a prominent poet for Motionpoems, but because the film didn’t meet certain criteria (due to the film-maker’s not following them), it was not ran/presented.  Yes, I was a bit disappointed; but I was grateful for the new experience and a chance to meet new people.  Who knows, I may try my hand at another citizen journalist’s assignment at some point.  To end the year, a short story (Jewel) and an essay (The Door) was published with Piker Press, and I submitted a (horror) short story to a (my first) contest.  I should know the result for this by the end of January 2015.

changes

 

 

 

2015 is looking more and more like a year full of life-changing events which I can’t elaborate on now.  And for that reason alone, I’m not going to set too many goals for myself.  What I will do is focus more on writing short fiction and essays, and hopefully read more books than I did in 2014.

 

What about you?  Were you able to accomplish as much as you’d hoped for this year?  What are your plans for the new year?

Cheers!

Three Reasons To Write Short Fiction

writing life

To be an apprentice to the craft of writing is a life-long endeavor.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  I discovered writing at the age of eleven; since then I’ve continued to learn new things about it, and about myself.  Even at my age, I’m still trying to figure out what kind of a writer I am.

There are writers out there who know exactly who they are, and what they’re meant to write.  There are others though that are still searching for their true calling as writers.  I’m one of them.  The only thing I’m certain of is that I want to help others through the written word.

I’m currently struggling to write anything longer than short fiction.  I’ve tried to write novel-length stories for the past several years, and so far, I’ve only managed to complete a draft of one book (thanks to NaNoWriMo).  That was back in 2008.  I find it easier to finish shorter works whether they be fiction, essay, or a poem.  So, does that mean I’m meant to be a short fiction writer (or an essayist, or even a poet) rather than a novelist?

Who knows!

Right now, I’m going to concentrate on writing short fiction (for 2015 especially) and see where it takes me.  Here are my reasons for doing so:

1. My current lifestyle makes it difficult to focus on anything longer

2. I need to further hone my writing skills

3. I’m still figuring out which “niche” I should write in

2015 is looking to be a year full of changes for me.  I will elaborate on them in later posts.  These changes could be what will finally help me as a writer to get to that next level; whatever that may be.

Stay tuned!

Published-The Door (an essay about death)

 

An essay that I wrote, The Door,was recently published in Piker Press.  The ezine has been running a theme for the month of November called-“Mes de los Muertos.”

Death.

I’ve dealt with death and losses since I was a girl, and when I saw its call for submissions, I knew I had to partake.

 
“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague.  Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?” Edgar Allan Poe