Saturday, December 23, 2017

All Those Hours (it wasn't for nothing)

This blog post is unique for a few reasons. 1) I 110% forgot to post last week. Completely. That's what having extra responsibilities an adorable new sibling will do to me! 2) Grappling with laziness vs needed breaks has been a huge theme in my life lately. So I've really been thinking about whether all those hours I spent writing stories that were never meant to be was the most colossal waste of time EVER. 3) I've been slowly adding to this post week by week in a note on my phone. 4) As a result, it shows a huge shift in my thinking. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

I don't know about you guys, but I wrote casually for years and years. I have two little stories I finished before the age of ten. And probably around forty others saved on a Word document with character names and sometimes chapters and chapters of writing.

About half of those are garbage and the other half remain my Pinterest-board worthy stories who hope to see the light of publication one day.

So do you ever ask yourself--what was the point of all that? Before I knew the difference between plotting and pantsing. Before I knew what passive voice and action beats were. And yet I for one spent countless hours just ... writing. With little thought of what was right or wrong. Lots of it has rookie mistakes. However, I think I also learned something.

Without all those hours, I wouldn't have known I could get ideas onto a page. I wouldn't have known that writing with chapters helped me generate new ideas. I wouldn't have learned that I get inspiration from movies and "what ifs." I wouldn't have the inquiring mind that files away every name and odd circumstance. And I certainly wouldn't have read as often, learned how to use word processing so young, or squirmed through so many "scary" movies if the power of story had not captured me from an early age.

So even though the actual words I spent those hours on need a lot of refining, I came away with a passel of now second-nature skills that help me build my stories of today. I'm really thankful for that, because it does look like a big waste of time at first glance. I know now that if I'd gotten "serious" about writing sooner, I might have missed the most important part of the slow growing process. Because that only comes through practice.

That's what I consider those thousands of crummy words documents--practice. They're fragments of ideas, but bits of my past imagination. Honestly, I'm a little too impatient to write thousands of useless words just for the sake of practice nowadays.

It's amazing to look back because I always assumed I'd be an author. I knew someday I'd finish something and it would be published. I never questioned what would come in between. It didn't worry me that I had the attention span oif a gnat. I kept at it, never getting anywhere new. And never doubting the importance of what I was doing. I am SO thankful for that. And I'd very much like to bottle that contentment with my slow progress and the hunger to write.

I think God's slowly leading me back around to having to really wait on His timing, because I'm a green light girl. As soon as I feel like what I want to do has gotten the okay from God and parents, I'm off ... often charging into a brick wall and wondering how that happened when the truth is I was never supposed to be the driver in the first place.

With this break I'm taking from writing so my wrist can heal, I feel really lazy. I'm hardly on my computer once or twice a week, let alone hours every day *gasp*. Without my writing, I've lost my motivation to post on social media, reply to emails, read ... Lame, I know. Writing is the lifeblood of all those things, and without it I'm pretty content just to hold my new sister and watch Netflix. So maybe you can tell just how much it meant to find out that I haven't been wasting my time from the very beginning. Even the no-writing stages are learning stages.

And for the first time this month, I think I can finally see what's next, because all of a sudden the next few months are packed with editing work. It's a good thing I'm not god of my own universe or my life would be much much more boring than this.
I have to know: did you write a bunch of fluffy words as a kid, too? Or a teenager, even! Can you see how they shaped you as a writer?

Thank you guys for tagging along on wherever this crazy writing part of my life leads me. It's so much more fun to go offroading and get lost with all of you in the backseat! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with your families. I'll try not to drop off the face of the earth again. ;)


  1. I'm sure we can all relate! However, I realised that I had some interesting themes when I was younger. Like the importance of friendship. But of course, it was mostly cliché as it was set in an American middle school. Kinda like Lizzie mcGuire meets Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide and my own twist. I miss writing it, though. I have one incomplete story and I would like to write two more, just to get it all done with.

    It's true that if we didn't write such stories, we wouldn't have gotten to where we are today. Though when I was younger, I struggled quite a bit with my writing and wanted to write something other than dialogue. And not winning any writing competitions kinda made me sad. But now I'm a much better writer and I hope I'll let the world see my characters (though I am afraid to publish a certain book I wrote about a girl who is bullied.)

    1. And I hope you fully recover ASAP. It really sucks not to write.

  2. I agree. I wrote so many bad stories when I was younger, and I'm still learning now. But I am getting there, and I'm definitely thankful for the practice afforded when I was younger :)

  3. LOL! Oh Abi. . .I got through that first few sentences of your post and nearly jumped from my seat, shouting in my mind "THEY WERE NOT A WASTE!!! SHE NEEDS TO KNOW" Then I kept reading and realized that you came to that conclusion yourself. I agree. I have written tons of "fluff" over the course of my life. I was a writer for many years before I even thought of becoming an author. I believe practice in writing is just as important as practice in anything else. <3

  4. I kind of despised writing when I was younger. I never knew what to write and I thought it was just the hardest thing in the world. (So much that I remember having a panic attack over a supposedly "fun" writing assignment because, y'know, severe anxiety girl over here.)

    But after one of my writing classes (ironically it was one to prepare for college writing) in my sophomore year of high school, I found myself enjoying writing in a way I never thought I could. That was only a few years ago, so I haven't exactly written thousands of things, but I do have a few stories on my old computer that I started when I was younger.

    I've always had an obsession with stories, but I guess I never really saw myself becoming an author. At least not until more recently. Now when someone asks me what I want to be when I grow up, I say a writer/author. Now I can see that I'm not awful at writing stories and even if I am, I can improve on that.

    What mainly keeps me writing is the fact that no one else in the entire world can write the story in my head. If I want my story to be written, I have to write it because I'm the only one who can.

    Thanks for this post, Abi. I hope your wrist gets better quickly and I'm so glad your baby sister arrived safely! (I'm assuming it was a smooth delivery because you never said otherwise.) <3

    1. Wow, that was a short story in and of itself, sorry Abi! Guess I just had a lot to say.

  5. Thank you so much for this post, Abi!

    I'm in that in-between stage when I really want to take my writing more seriously, but I can't seem to squeeze past that names-and-chapters thing you talked about. I needed this encouragement - hopefully after the holidays, I'll be able to devote more time to it.


  6. Congratulations on your new sibling! And I definitely agree--I have pages and pages of handwritten material from when I was seven/eight years old and wanted to be a writer. I've known I wanted to be one since I was young, and now, ten years later, I'm here and writing intentionally. I definitely don't regret those years at all, and it's cool to see someone else who's come to the same conclusion I have!

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. I can totally relate to this! Even right now I do write but it’s all short stories and things that are just spontaneous but I want to get into actual writing. :)

  8. Congratulations on your newest sibling!!!!

    I so understand. I always struggle with feeling like I've wasted time, but at the end of the day, it's not. It's all so important. Thank you for the reminder, friend. <3


Comments are how I know you've been here! I try hard to reply to all the comments in a timely fashion, but regardless, know that if you leave a comment, I will read it and it will make me smile. :) Please no profanity or soliciting.