My Writing Journey: Fact or Crap?

Published June 23, 2012 by Jennifer Elizabeth

Today was one of those days…you know, the kind where you question your purpose in life?  I found myself thinking, “Fact or crap? I am doing exactly what I am meant to do.”

In other words, am I pursuing my passion?  What exactly is my passion?  Do I really want to be a writer or am I romanticizing the idea of being a writer?

If only it were as simple as shaking the Magic 8 Ball to discover the right answer.

I am often told that when you find something you absolutely love, you will do nothing but eat, sleep, and breathe it.

For example, the other night I watched the Fox hit TV show, So You Think You Can Dance.  Adam Shankman, a judge on the show, began to cry when one of the contestants  performed his audition dance.  The combination of Shankman’s passion and enjoyment of dance and this young contestant’s dance audition moved Shankman to tears. One can’t help envy both Shankman and male contestant. Both clearly express genuine emotion in knowing that they are doing exactly what they love to do.

Fact or crap: I am doing what I love to do?

Fact: I love young adult fiction.  I devour YA books. Many books move me to “near tears” if not a good cry.

Fact: Writing a book is not easy. It is something am struggling with, daily.

Crap: I know that writing a YA novel is exactly what I am meant to do.

Crap: I eat, sleep, and breathe writing.
I won’t lie. I am not constantly thinking about writing.  Most of my day is spent thinking about my two little boys and their needs.  However, when my boys are finally asleep and the house is quiet, I often think about my novel and the endless possibilities.  But I do not do this every night.

Fact: Whenever I see someone doing what they love, I am moved to tears. (Although something I often conceal, I always shed a few tears at the start of a musical, concert, or dance performance when I see it in person.  I am truly passionate about the arts. I love theater, dance, and music and often wish I had pursued a career in the performing arts.

Fact: Every single day I think about whether or not I am doing something I am passionate about, and if not, what am I passionate about?  What makes me tick?  How do I figure it out?  When will I figure it out?

Fact or Crap: You are doing what you are passionate about in life. 

If you answered Fact, I would love to hear how you discovered what you love and how you are living it today.

If you answered Crap, what are you doing to change your life and discover what makes you tick?

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12 comments on “My Writing Journey: Fact or Crap?

  • I think all creative people wrestle with this question!
    Honestly, you have met me on the other side of my journey, where I am being true to myself now and not living for others. Writing has always been a part of me, even when I hid it. I devoured novels and movies and anything related to storytelling.
    I question myself every day. Do I have to share my work? Do I risk failure? The comparison t others always hurts. Growth hurts!!!
    There are going to always be questions and bruises….that is part of the creative life I think….no other ‘job’ bares a person’s soul like a creative person does every day.

    • So true. I am finding it more and more difficult to share my story writing with family than with online friends…I can see the faces of my family ;). However, general blog posting about my writing journey seems to be more of a relaxed release for me. It’s starting to roll…and this may actually be a step I need to take before diving into the novel writing process.

      In all honesty, I love your writing, Maryellen. I am so grateful that you are willing to share it with me. When I read the words you write, I can feel the mysticailty of it. (I know that is not a word, but it’s how I feel…there is a definite sense of mysticality in your writing and I love it..it’s new to me, but I love it! Thank you for sharing with me.

  • I can totally relate, I’ve had this conversation with my writing group many times when I’ve lamented that I am clearly ‘just a reader’. I love to read and I love a good story, but writing is hard work. On the very odd occasion the muse will strike it is magical. But more often life intervenes. I have two gorgeous kids, but it is practically impossible to write when they are home and awake. I’d love to give it my full attention, but life intervenes.

    But I’m finding the whole blog process useful to remember why I’m at it in the first place. The children will need me less and less, and I hope that I will have at least started plowing the ground for what I hope will be a lifetime love of writing.

    But enjoy your years as a Mum, and take your ‘you’ time whenever you can. I found once I took the pressure off myself to be published next week, and looked for like-minded friends to share the journey, I enjoy the writing time I have so much more.

    Be encouraged!

    • Thank you so much, Raewyn! 🙂 I too have found the blog process useful, and often find myself writing about writing instead of working on my novel. It seems to help maintain my focus and keep me going. Finding friends who share the same journey has been an incredible boost in the self-assurance department for me. It is always helpful to know there are others facing the same circumstances, so thank you for sharing yours with me. 🙂

  • You’ve asked the true artist question. 🙂
    Like Maryellen said, all creative people have to deal with this. Because there are few of us that can actually eat, sleep, and breath their art. The question is: when you’re not working at it as you feel you should, how do you feel about that afterward? If you feel guilty for, say, watching a dumb TV show for a couple hours (So You Think You Can Dance is SO not included in that category) instead of writing, you’re on the right track.
    Really, truly, the best way to be a writer is to write every day. It is so hard sometimes, especially with little ones, but it’s possible. You don’t have to write much–give yourself a reasonable goal of a page or even half a page and then make sure you squeeze it in. It adds up–and even the bad days when you have to throw out everything you’ve written are good practice.
    Also, a good critique group, whether in person or online, is definitely worth finding and joining. Besides just getting an extra set of eyes on your work, you’re able to encourage each other through the rough days and hold each other accountable on the days when it’s hard to write.
    Lastly, you should find a writing conference to attend! They’re amazing opportunities to meet like-minded people in person, to learn from professionals, and just to have fun. Is there an SCBWI conference in your area? (Maybe Pittsburgh?)
    Sorry for the long-winded comment! It all amounts to: Don’t worry–just write. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for commenting, Faith. 🙂 More often than not I find myself writing every day and watching TV less and less (minus a few of my fav. shows on their scheduled days, lol ;)) I have yet to even search out a critique group, but I agree that it would definitely be worth finding and joining. I will have to investigate writing conferences in the area! I honestly never even thought to do so….And your comment was not long winded at all…it got me thinking–and that is a GOOD thing :). I cherish your input, honestly.

  • This is a really good point and something I sometimes dwell on.
    I did Interior design at uni and now doing a masters in Digital Art and Design but what I really want to do it be a writer and as I get closer to achieving my writing goals the more I think I don’t want to be a designer! I just know realistically I might not earn enough as a writer so support myself. I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket which is why I pursued a design education. But it’s not my passion. All I want to do it write every day! So I’m trying to do both and seeing how things pan out.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story, Ruth! So many struggle with ‘finding’ what they are passionate about. Honestly, if I’m not constantly searching for happiness and what makes me ‘tick’, I feel like I’m just giving up. It’s awesome that you have discovered your passion–even if it isn’t what your degree is in! (I have a sec. ed. teaching degree in English and it is definitely NOT my passion to teach high school kids…but I have it as ‘back up’.) It’s always a struggle to determine how you can turn your passion into something profitable! I truly believe that we are not meant to have one career in life. As we grow, things change and our interests change. Although it isn’t exactly convenient and is often times frustrating, it does keep us going. Keep writing and perusing your dreams. 🙂 You never know, good things could result from it one day. 😉

      • Thanks Jennifer! That was a great post and a really nice reply 🙂 I think you’re about about having more than one career. Good luck with your passions! 🙂

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