Born to Write?

“The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I continue to write hoping to complete a 75,000-word story this year. Is this my true talent or an unrelenting drive? I write a monthly blog, short stories, and memoirs, but I want to do more. Do I keep the possibly unattainable goal of becoming a published novelist? Or should I admit this may be too much to hope for? Do you feel the same way and does this prevent you from achieving your goals?

I’ve tried to let go of the dream, but stories continue to invade my consciousness. Plot ideas come to me from tidbits of overheard conversations, intriguing quotes I’ve read, and scenes from books and movies. Of course, real life is rich with possible scenarios for novels.

For example, a family member told me the convoluted story of an estranged couple and their narrative resonated with me. That couple allowed memories of past relationships and current intruders to prevent them from consummating their romance. I plotted their romance, added a little spice and intrigue, and gave them a satisfactory outcome. The word count fell far short of what is expected of romance novels.

I put the manuscript aside knowing my work didn’t meet the criteria. But I can’t let the story go because it has many elements of stories that I like to read. I call them delicious romances with a little meat in them. More intrigue must be added, but it’s not easy without putting in too much fluff. I struggle writing longer manuscripts because I fear failure.

Discouraged from continuing my “hobby” of writing, I continued in secret. Shorter stories and memories were easy for me to complete without unwarranted attention. I knew if I failed at publishing a full-length story, then I would have to hear, “I told you so.”

I heard the following statement from the movie “Sing.” “Don’t let fear stop you from doing the thing you love.” Because writing gives me pleasure, I’ll repeat the quote to myself for encouragement as I continue to pursue my creative goal.

My commitments for 2017 are as follows:

  1. Continue blogging.
  2. Read a minimum of one book per month.
  3. Enter a writing contest.
  4. Finish writing this romance.

What are you committed to do this year?




Skip to comment form

    • Kelly Bixby on January 10, 2017 at 11:48 am
    • Reply

    Barbara, “I’m still working on it” isn’t a negative statement in our writerly world. It’s part of our creative process. Good luck on this year’s goals. I’m looking forward to reading your book, whenever you finish it.

      • Barbara Pattee on January 10, 2017 at 8:59 pm
      • Reply

      Thank you, Kelly, for your encouragement. “I’ll continue working on it.”

    • Barbara Pattee on January 6, 2017 at 7:23 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you, Francine. I’m reading books now that should help me complete my story. Good luck in editing your writing.

  1. You captured a writer’s fear of failure and opportunity cost. It’s a blind leap of faith to make the investment and sacrifice while hoping, and never really knowing, if it will it will pay off in the world’s eyes. If you can afford to write and enjoy doing it, then you are a successful writer.

      • Barbara Pattee on January 6, 2017 at 7:17 pm
      • Reply

      Thank you, Karen. My 2017 goal is to complete my 75,000 word story. I’ll need some of that blind faith to help me overcome my fear of failure.

    • Francine Allen on January 6, 2017 at 8:24 am
    • Reply

    Hi, Barbara – If you have the true inspiration which it sounds like you have then I for one think you should pursue your dream of writing novels or anything else you want to write. I wish I could advise about making your work long enough to meet the requisite length the publishing industry seems to expect, but i have the opposite problem – editing my writing down. I’m sure you can add some imagery about the surroundings, etc. if that helps. Good luck, and I’m hoping to be back to our writer’s group soon.

    Your friend, Francine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.