Over the last couple of days, I've been reading through Dean Wesley Smith's essays from his book Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. They've inspired me to find all the stories I've written over the last few years and reread them. Not only have I found quite a few of them, I've found the critique letters and rejection letters that go along with them. My favorite is from a professor who says “I really dug this piece.” I've saved that letter for years and considered having it framed. I don't know why I never submitted the story it went with for publication.
Digging up some of these stories, I came to the realization that I stopped writing. I mean, for years, I stopped writing. I loved writing, it was the only thing I ever wanted to do (except for about 3 weeks when I was 4 and wanted to be a ballerina) and I did it constantly. I was good at it, too. What made me stop?
I'm coming more and more to the realization that I started writing with my critical voice. I've put off writing 2books that I've wanted to write for years because I was afraid of what people would think about them. Not just people, but family. Did I really want to write a book with a sex scene in it that my mother might read? The idea squicked me out and is, ultimately, what's kept me from sitting down and finishing it. In fact, in the original manuscript, I have in big red letters SEX SCENE and then the next chapter.
This is something I have to get over. So, I've set myself a challenge.
I'm writing at least 500 words every day for the next year. And I'm submitting my short stories for publication. And, Mom, you're not allowed to read them. You won't like them anyway.