May. 15th, 2009 08:17 am
awriternow: (003. enterprise)
I have a poet friend of whom I am pretty regularly jealous. She's had poetry published in numerous journals and magazines. She's going to be in a collection of young contemporary poets soon.

On the other hand, I'm unpublished save for my undergraduate and graduate school publications. But I don't write poetry. I can't write poetry. I have written one poem in my life that I like, that I think is any good at all. I've only recently gathered up the courage to submit it anywhere. Just to one place for now, but I'm on the look out for anywhere else I think it might fit.

I write short stories. The average word count of a short story is around 2,000 words. A poem, on the other hand, probably averages 100 words, usually more. Maybe 500 words. I understand, of course, that poetry is difficult to write. (Like I said, I rarely attempt it.) It's important to perfect every image, each word, the form and phrasing. But at the same time, it's similarly important to solidify all that in a short story.

The process is different. I examine a poem word by word while in my short stories, I examine sentence by sentence. But the time it takes to work through a poem and the time it takes to work through a short story, I think, differ vastly.

I shouldn't be jealous of a published poet. There is no comparison between a poet and a short story author. But I am. Because by the time I finish and get a short story ready for publication, or possible publication, or rejection in my case, I'm sure a poet has done the same with 3-4 poems.

I say all this because I submitted a short story to five journals today and I'm not feeling very positive.


May. 12th, 2009 04:02 pm
awriternow: (Default)
It seems to me that 1 out of every 3 people defines herself as a writer. I fall into that category myself. Everyone has something to say and most want to say it in writing. I don't think everyone who puts on the label of writer deserves the title. Sometimes I don't even feel like I deserve it.

Now I don't want to get into any "I'm better than you" or "I'm more passionate about it" or "I want it more" arguments because I can't possibly pretend to know what's in the hearts and minds of anyone but myself. But what I do want to say is how difficult it is right now to identify yourself as a writer.

It's so easy anymore to be a writer. The accessibility of the internet simplifies everything. Everyone can have a blog. Everyone can spout off their opinion on global warning, on the latest best-selling novel, on what it means to be human. Anyone can use the internet as a forum to tell his or her story.

But that's not really the kind of writing I want to talk about. My kind of writing is the kind that comes out from your core. It's the stuff created out of fairy tales, out of trying to get at what makes a person tick, out of late nights counting sheep and imagining a different life, a life not your own. I want to talk about the art of writing fiction.

I'm a fiction writer. I would wager that 91% of my day (yes, including when I'm asleep) is spent in my head. Most of my stories never leave the limitless cloud of my imagination. Some, the ones that I dream, never make it into my waking consciousness. Some become one-line scribbles in my writing notebook. Some grow into one paragraph, two, a page. Most never become anything more than a fleeting thought.

But some -- some I can put down on paper. Yes, truly, I still prefer to use a notebook (Moleskin is my personal preference) and a pen. I like seeing the words appear a little slanted this go around, bubbly the next, quick and tight and scribbled tomorrow. I like the feeling I get in the motion of my hands as I write.

I hope to use this blog as a way to work through my writing problems. I want to discuss style, form, where I write best, what I'm struggling with, what I wish I could be doing, what I am doing.

I have an MFA in Creative Writing and yet I feel as though no formal education can truly create a writer. Writing, reading, writing, living, writing -- those are the things that mold a writer. But I do believe that studying other writers, both the classics, the greats, and your peers and contemporaries (published and unpublished) teaches you a lot about writing too. For me, I experienced all this in an academic community, but more and more, we see writers emerging because of life experience.

I'm trying to gain life experience. Every day, I live. And every day (more or less), I write.

May 2009

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