With 2022 taking over my future plans, it’s occurred to me that now I have zero time to write a book. It started my thinking about how I had so many years before that could have been used to write productively by which I mean to write a book.
Scratch that. I’ve written bad books. What I mean is, that I could have written a decent book.
In my teens and even twenties, I had all the arrogance and high expectations for my writing career. I wrote a lot but it was always personal things and never any kind of proof that this was my calling in life. Angst in these years gave way to worrying about what people thought of me and what kind of woman I wanted to become. I fussed over my weight, friends, boys, lack of boys, and anything that normal girls at that age focused on. I wasn’t interested in my education until later on and I certainly didn’t take the time to plot out and seriously work on a book.
I dabbed, but I never believed in myself enough, I don’t think, to take anything I wanted to write seriously.
I completely an MFA in Creative Writing in my 30s and I honestly couldn’t tell you what short stories I used for my thesis. I remember focusing on the writing style of Per Petterson and J.M. Coetzee, but completing decent work? Doubtful.
I was and always have been a procrastinator. I’ve also always been lazy about anything regarding my professional career. At least that’s the case until something really grabs my attention and I dig in and get the work done. This is why the MFA program helped me so much – I had someone to give me deadlines and feedback. It was a distance learning course that gave my time in my beloved little bachelorette pad of an apartment a more productive workspace.
But that was short lived, of course, and once I moved to England, I wrote my middle grade book that never became exactly what I had envisioned. What I do remember was the feeling of happiness and motivation I had once the book came together. My husband did the illustrations and that encouraged me greatly. I had the time and the motivation and I got it done. I even self published it just because I could.
I have never gotten that far with any other book I’ve worked on since then.
So this brings me back to my old days of writing: was I wasting my time or was there really not a book inside of me then? Is the book I think that’s inside of me just something I’ve forced for the sake of writing something? Is this why, when I’m completely drained of mental energy and creativity that I realize that there is no book that I have to write?
Okay, that’s not really true. There’s a book I have mentally plotted and written scenes for years. So maybe that is the book that is waiting to come out and is just patiently waiting for me to get back around to it.
The funny thing is, is that as I’m writing this I remember that I submitted to a short story contest (rejected, of course) and the subject was a quick and dirty version of yet another book I had mentally plotted out years ago.
So maybe that’s it. Maybe the books are there and they’ve just been lingering while I put them together bit by bit. Maybe I have numerous books inside of me and one day they’ll be actual, finished manuscripts.