I have always enjoyed writing. I also enjoyed creating stories. The problem is, those two things didn’t always coincide quite right. I would write stories in my head and nonfiction for school, work or different organizations, but I always grew frustrated with myself when I tried to actually write those stories out.
One morning in November of 2009 I posted a poetic line about the beautiful, unseasonably warm day. A friend told me that she thought it sounded like a great first line of a short story. So I sat down and over the next few days I wrote a story to fit that line. What came out was the story Indian Summer, which I posted a few days ago.
A week or two later I wrote another story, a “short-short” of about 500 words. A few weeks later, in mid-December of 2010, I wrote another longer story. The new story, Five Long Walks, I planned out in my head before starting.
I was hooked.
In the year from November 2009 to November 2010 I wrote about a half dozen 4,000 and 9,000 word stories and another half dozen of less than 1000 words.
I have used most of the short-shorts on the blog and Indian Summer was the last of the longer ones that hadn’t been used. Yes, the first was the last.
I used three of the stories in my first book of Short stories Seasons of Imagination, namely, The Monsters’ House, Living Memories and The Washer Woman. Quite a few people who have read this collection have told me that The Monsters’ House and Living Memories are two of their favorites, if not their very favorites.
In my up coming collection of short stories, Embers, I am using one from this time period, Midnight’s Flower.
I think one reason why so many of those dozen stories are in my top favorites is because that is all I was doing. I wasn’t under a time limit for the stories – I could take weeks, while most stories I have posted on the blog took hours, some even minutes. Thinking of ” the blog”, I wasn’t keeping up a blog, so I wasn’t doing other writing. There was no competition for my creative output. I wasn’t writing to prompts. Most of the stories, after the first two, were planned out before I wrote one word. Some I had thought about for quite a few days before the first word was written down.
After that year, though, I stopped writing. I became too busy, too much competed for my attention. It was two years later before I really got back into writing. That’s when I started drafting chapters and ideas for The Fireborn. I spent most of the spring and summer of 2013 writing that. But that’s a completely different story, now isn’t it?
(If you didn’t catch it, the half dozen “longer” short stories were Indian Summer, Five Long Walks, Midnight’s Flower, The Monsters’ House, Living Memories and The Washer Woman. I also wrote four essays of over 2,000 words. One did make it to the blog.)
So what? I recently brought up that little piece of history, Indian Summer, and have been thinking about this productive period. It was the first time I really sat down and wrote. It wasn’t just a short fluke and then back to my routine. Despite the short time off between the last story, The Washer Woman, and my book The Fireborn, I consider that year as the beginning of my “writing career”, such as it is.