One of the things I love most about writing is it keeps you on your toes. There is always something to learn. For my flash fiction, I am always inventing new characters to write about. So the chances of (a) being bored or (b) running out of things to write about are zilch. I like that!
And for non-fiction work, such as my posts here, there are always topics of interest to look into, research, and write about. It is also a joy to share local author news (and a nice bonus when I can include myself!).
Being stretched mentally, whether you’re writing or what have you, is good for you. It makes you think. You develop much more as a person and I am sure that is one of the unspoken roles of any of the creative arts.
Taking part in any of the creative arts will make you assess where you are, where you might like to head with your chosen form, and so on.
Changing direction is part of this. Sometimes it is down to opportunities that come your way which you would not have anticipated on starting out.
Sometimes it is a case of, say, realizing writing XXX type of fiction isn’t working for you, but YYY storytelling is something you excel at, so you focus understandably on the latter.
Also there is no such thing as the perfect piece of writing. I can look back at my earlier non-published works and can see what the problems are with these works in a way I could not do at the time I wrote them.
That is because, of course, I’ve developed experience, been to excellent writing conferences (Swanwick and Winchester) where I’ve learned from courses, and receiving rejections forces you to re-evaluate your piece. It is often only then you spot what was wrong (and I highly recommend looking at stories that have won competitions and the judge’s remarks where you can. You can learn a lot from this. I know I have).
MY Changes of Direction To Date!
I’ve changed direction during the course of my writing career and expect to keep doing so. I discovered flash fiction thanks to a 100-word challenge issued by Cafelit, the online magazine. I had been writing standard length short stories for them (and still do so).
My first response on seeing that challenge was “you have got to be kidding me!”. How on earth can you write a complete story in so few words? My second response was “they wouldn’t have issued such a challenge if it was really impossible.”. So I gave it a go and, of course, from there I ended up having From Light to Dark and Back Again published by Chapeltown Books, with my second flash fiction collection, Tripping the Flash Fantastic, due out later this year.
So that was one turn of direction I had not expected. It’s not one I regret either!
The other major turn of direction is in writing non-fiction for Chandler’s Ford Today of course and in blogging for the Association of Christian Writers. Again, I hadn’t anticipated this when starting out. Mind you, blogging wasn’t a thing when I was starting out!
Coming To Terms with Marketing
One thing all writers have to come to terms with is the need to do their own marketing and here it is a question of picking a route that suits you. I focus on Facebook and Twitter and post there most days. Why? It keeps my name out there for one thing and it backs up the writing I do as a result.
People won’t look at my writing at all if they don’t know I write at all! I haven’t got into Pinterest or Instagram. I wouldn’t necessarily rule these out for the future but I have found it best to focus on the social media which I know I can keep going.
I’ve also learned to schedule blog posts in advance and you can do this for Facebook, It’s something I need to do more of as it is a great time saver – and time saved means more creative writing done by yours truly elsewhere.
This has been a year of new experiences for everyone. I didn’t see a pandemic coming at the start of the year for one thing! Due to events having to go online, I’ve had to get on and do things new to me including being on the radio and Wendy H Jones’ podcast as I discussed last week. I’ve also had to learn to make a video for the Waterloo Arts Festival. Now I hope learning to do these things will stand me in good stead for the future as I would very much like to do more of both.
Another change of direction is in editing. I am now carrying out editing work, for an indie publisher, and as a freelancer outside of that. This is a new step for me and an exciting one. I’m enjoying the work very much and it does help me re-evaluate my own writing too.
Getting the balance right in what you do as a writer is not easy. And I could always do with more time to write but every writer feels that way.
The Writing Journey – You Write Your Own Route
What is guaranteed for every writer is you have to strive to get anywhere and that the writing journey is not in a straight line. But that’s okay. There are some lovely routes to explore as you figure out what it is you most want to write and you may discover, as I did, a form of writing you hadn’t expected but which you get to love doing.
The lovely thing with experimenting with writing is if it doesn’t work out, why worry? Plan A may not work out but there’s 25 other letters in the alphabet for you to work your way through (except, of course, at Christmas when there’s only another 24 as there’s No L then! Sorry couldn’t resist the old gag!).
So don’t be afraid of changing direction with your writing. The writing journey isn’t a cul-de-sac either. If one avenue is not working, try another and another and another until you do find what suits you.
Good luck and have fun with your writing journey. It is important you enjoy it most of all. Why? Because nobody can guarantee results (and I’d always be very wary of anyone who said they could). I also believe you are more likely to get any kind of results if readers sense the writer is enjoying what they are doing. Something of that enjoyment comes through.
And given writing has to be seen as a long term thing, it is vital you love what you are doing.
So if you need to change direction because the love for a particular format of writing has gone, or for whatever reason it simply isn’t working out for you, then do so and again good luck. When it comes to writing, there isn’t a one size fits all category. It simply doesn’t apply!
Writers come into writing via so many different routes, which is why I always find talking to other writers fascinating. Each writer’s journey is unique though we will share some things in common (such as the frustration in trying to get published initially!).
Wherever you are on your writing journey, enjoy the trip!
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
Never miss out on another blog post. Subscribe here:
Subscribe to Blog via Email