Wednesday, April 4, 2018

When You Neglect Your Stories

By Maureen L. Bonatch

I’m a fiction writer and a freelance writer. Lately my fiction stories are often waiting for attention while I rush to keep up with freelance deadlines. 

You see, fiction writing is more like a marathon, while freelance writing is comparable to a sprint—complete with editors and tight deadlines shouting from the sidelines. So, I keep thinking I’ll get back to “training for that marathon” after I finish this sprint. But time is a sneaky witch that has a way of distracting me of its passing as the days and months accumulate. Time isn't going to pause for me and my story, only I can try to cram more into each day than I already do. 

This Is Not How My Story Ends

Fiction writing has been my dream since childhood, it’s what I want to do. “My story” ends with me writing fiction full time. The challenge with dreams is keeping them alive through nurturing, love and attention. People will notice if I neglect my freelance stories, because I must do them. Often the only one who notices that I’ve not had time for fiction is my characters. 

Being a panster (writes by the seat of my pants) has other “side effects” for me besides a hot mess of a first draft. It allows me to discover the characters and the story almost as a reader would. It also means that when I pull a story out after neglecting it for a while that often I no longer remember what happened. That’s good, and bad. 

It’s good that I can read my story with fresh eyes, but then I also don’t remember what needs added, corrected or deleted—or where I was going. You'd think I would after spending so much time pouring the story on the page. But, like a child vying for attention, my characters “punish me” by withholding information and pushing some of the storyline from my feeble memory. This delays my writing process process even longer because I need a large chunk of time to immerse myself with my characters. Time that I don’t always have to do what I want to do because there is too much I must do. 

Side Effects of Neglecting Our Dreams

We all have our dreams. Many of us may have let them fade to a distant memory. But I find that I’m not the same person if I don’t make the time to cultivate my dreams. I may look the same on the outside, but on the inside, I’m less. The world seems darker and not as exciting. I’m not always immediately aware of what’s happening. Only feeling as if something just seems off. Then I realize that I haven’t written fiction for a while. I need that indulgence more than a vampire needs blood, or a witch covets her favorite broom. 

Think of one of your dreams and consider how you feel when you’re indulging in that dream. I’m betting you feel good—perhaps more whole, or complete. Because, you see, if we only allow time for dreams when we’re sleeping, we’ll never get to see how beautiful they can look in the light of day and how they are an essential part of our story.

How Do You Nurture Your Story?

Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter


sorchiadubois said...

I definitely feel your pain. When will we all recognize that pursuing a dream and/or doing something you love to do is as necessary to survival as clean water? We should be teaching this in school! Thanks for your post!

Francesca Quarto said...

As always, you seem to have picked my brain and found what nettles me the most! Taking care of our dreams is a good way to nurture our work and ourselves. Thanks Maureen, you rock!

Francesca Q.

Maureen said...

Thanks so much for visiting ladies! Now of chase some of your dreams today :)

Diane Burton said...

Having dreams and chasing them are essential to our well-being. Making time to write fiction in the midst of "life" is difficult. Retirement (from the day job) has given me the freedom to follow my dream. I hope you don't have to wait that long, Maureen!

Maureen said...

Thanks Diane!