For many years now I’ve been solely focused on writing fiction. At first it was science fiction, young adult, and occasionally horror. Then I tried my hand at erotica and realized I loved writing about sex. But after a while, I began to notice that writing fiction was getting harder.
I’ve been writing all along. Selling too! Which is fantastic. But the desire to produce fiction specifically has been a struggle. I’ve restarted the same novel three times, and only now that I’m writing it as a nonfictional piece, is it flowing.
My inability to write fiction was seriously driving me batty.
Luckily I’ve had a large bit of fiction to send out. So much that I’m still only half way through the short stories I’ve written. I like sex topics way more than I anticipated!
There’s always been workarounds too. Like my ability to call D and ask that he ‘assign’ me to write ‘xyz’. That way even if it’s fiction, the reason for my writing it isn’t. And that’s helped, but it’s not a permanent solution.
I’ve known all along this feeling will pass. Whatever was getting in the way of my fiction would at some point fade and I’d get back to it.
Today I found an anthology that I really wanted to submit to, and I even had the perfect story. It’s almost finished. I only need another 1k words to wrap it up and begin edits. So I sat down with my laptop, feeling full of eagerness, and began writing.
One sentence, then stop. Half an hour later, another sentence. Then stop. This was the trend.
I felt so disappointed. I really wanted to finish the piece and send it off for review. So what the hell was the issue?
I finally asked myself why I was struggling with fiction. I knew that at times, fiction felt like a lie. Since I was so focused on living in truth, I didn’t want to write a lie. Except fiction is my job. Half my job anyway. And just because it’s fiction, doesn’t make it a lie. So I let that go and dug deeper.
I thought back to when I began writing, and remembered that fiction WAS NOT where I’d started. I used to write nonfiction, but when I felt like the things I said were too bold to claim, I decided to hide those truths in fiction instead.
The longer I went doing this, the more I realized I enjoyed fiction. Not just because I could hide my past (and my struggles), inside my stories, but I could also fix the areas that I lacked. I could take that bad breakup and make the guy come crawling back instead. Or the failed art attempt could be a success story, where the main character becomes a professional sculptor. No matter the issue, with my fiction, I could make sense of anything. I could make my life ‘all better’.
My life, that often felt so miserable and depressing, could suddenly be perfect if I lived it through my fiction.
This is not to say I wasn’t happy with my husband, or my children. These bits of hating my life came from trauma I’d not dealt with. From having horribly unhealthy connections with people who had no interest in dealing with their trauma either, and therefore took it out on me. The unhappiness came from many sources, and I buried myself in fiction in order to cope.
Once I realized this today, I began to see that my struggle isn’t that fiction is a lie. Nor is it that I don’t enjoy making up wonderful stories. The issue is that I need to change my reason for writing it.
I need a new fiction muse!
My big ‘ah ha!’ moment came when I realized my life is better than anything I could produce in fiction. It’s why I’ve had such an easy time writing for websites, and ‘how to’ guides, and my personal blog, because I’m writing about my life. Because I’m happy.
I never thought I’d see this day.
Sure, there is always more work to do. Because if we are good people, then that means we are always growing and learning to be better people. But now that I’m aware that my life fucking rocks, I need to find a new source of inspiration for my fiction.
I don’t know exactly what that will be yet, but my awareness has already enabled me to get another 500 words written on this short story. And I plan to finish it tomorrow.
This is the most amazing post I’ve been able to write. Connecting myself with happiness never seemed possible. I never thought I’d see this day.
Yet here I am.
I have a wonderful life, full of love and joy, and people that bring out the best in me. People that love me unconditionally, and encourage me, and let me support, love, and encourage them as well.
So here’s to new muses and hopefully a different level of fiction to come!
~ For those of you who are part of my extraordinary tribe, I love you. Thank you for helping me on this journey. ~