My writing career started out small, when I was about 12-years-old. One day, I decided to write a mystery story so I sat down at our 80s-state-of-the-art computer and began composing my chapters. I created characters that all gathered in a house, where one of them is murdered. I don’t remember if I had a detective or if they all just tried to solve it themselves, but clues were presented and there was a solution in the last chapter.
We moved to Colorado this summer, and my old folder with the story and its hand-drawn cover showed up in one of the boxes. It got me thinking about beginnings and inspiration. When I began writing intentionally, as a hobby at first, a lot of my work was inspired and modeled after the writing of others. “The Mysterious House” was probably inspired a bit by the game Clue, Encyclopedia Brown, and the weekly mystery show on PBS. I loved mysteries, so that was part of my choice of genre. It’s still my favorite early work and began my private pursuit of creative writing.
Fast forward 30 years, and I’m finally a writer. I’ve freelanced in the past and am working to rebuild that. I’ve done public relations, run a writing center, and now write for news for media company’s radio wire service. But in the back of my mind, I still have a mystery novel in me. I’ve outlined it and written a few chapters, but something holds me back. I tell myself that it’s lack of time, but really it’s fear. I’ve held on to this dream for a long time and I want it to come out perfectly. I want to feel the same pride I felt when I presented “The Mysterious House” to my family and some friends. The story certainly wasn’t spectacular, but it was mine.
The more serious about writing you get, the more fear can sometimes rear its ugly head. Writing, even online, creates something permanent. Comparisons abound and it’s easy to opt out of your most prized projects to avoid possible failure. But all that overlooks the central point of writing: the joy of creating and sharing something that you’ve created. Something that came from your imagination and some research that you can be proud of simply because you’ve finished it.
Finding that story that’s been saved all these years has made me look at my creative writing in a different way. I wasn’t proud of that story because it was some masterpiece; I was proud of seeing a creation through from start to finish. So, I’m dusting off “Murder Vows” (working title), and I’m going to start making progress on it again; not because my first draft will be perfect (it won’t), but to see that dream through to the end. I hope to get it published, but that’s down the road. First, just getting it all on paper will be a victory– over fear, lack of motivation, and tricky time management.
When was the last time you dusted off a dream? Is now the right time to start that project you’ve had on a back burner? Comment below about your passion project.