Subjects include my imaginative life and writing a fantasy novel, my school-teaching life and writing a young adult novel, my emotional life and writing poetry, my family life and writing a memoir, a writing life and writing about writing, or my bicycling life and writing travelogues. These mention a few of my paths of written digression.
- fantasy = The Stone Dragon and Three Stories
- teaching school = Love Ya Like a Sister
- poetry = Bare Ruined Choirs
- the writing life = I Write: Being and Writing
- family = A Day Out with Mom
The best advice about succeeding as a writer and especially as a self-published writer is to focus on branding your writing and yourself as an author. He's a fantasy writer. He's a poet. He's a travel writer.
I think this is good advice, yet I find myself continually breaking it to the detriment of my writing career. Although the two are linked, I find that I value my personal evolution more than the evolution of my writing career. I care more about people than books, and since I really enjoy reading and writing, then my regard for people (including my own development) must truly be great. There's nothing wrong with this.
A poet once told me that the limitations of time put too much strain on family for a writer. He told me the success of his career was at the loss of his marriage and family. A teacher once made a similar comment to me. "Teaching colleges don't instruct you on how to be a successful teacher and keep your marriage together." I don't think these perspectives are true, or if there is some truth to time limitations and career success, then I choose to not bind myself solely to career success. I guess I can turn this whole conundrum on its head: in order for my writing to be enlightening, then as a writer, I must be enlightened. I'm just trying to find enough light to write by.
Just for the record, though, I've written 1/50th of my next novel, a fantasy prequel to The Stone Dragon. I'm also intending to write short fiction pieces that are set in that same reality; I've written over a half dozen flash fiction rough drafts of these stories. I do have a writing plan that includes marketing. I consider my writing life important.
All that writing stuff, though, is number 2 on my priority list. Number 1 on my list is to be a person of goodness, a person I'd like to know. I guess I want to know my Self more than sell myself. After all, if I'm in a library and say to someone, "You know, I wrote that book," what if the person responds, "And who are you?" That is the big question, and I'd like to have a better answer than, "Well, I've published Ex and Wye and Zee."
I really think I can achieve a unity of writing and being. I'm just working on the scheduling.