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Changing Tides?

Have you ever started down a path in writing and believed that was the path you should be on…or rather felt you HAD to be on because it had some meaning or purpose? Like an event from your life took you from one writing in one direction and caused you to do a 180 in another direction.

Lately, I have been in deep thought about that one event that changed my writing path from fiction to nonfiction, even though part of my still tried to squeeze out fiction, but it just didn’t feel the same as before. So I’d jump back to nonfiction. The experiences in my life I wanted to write about…or rather I “thought” I wanted to write about stemmed from a family member’s death. I felt that if I had known now about her situation I could have been able to help her and I felt that by writing my life experiences in a few areas, I might be able to enlighten and encourage others with my knowledge. I had the right motivation: to want to help others. But there was a question that popped up after I recognized why I switched to writing nonfiction after I once told myself I would NEVER read it let alone write it. The question was: Do I WANT to write about these stories, or do I feel like I HAVE to? Clearly, if it was just wanting to write the stories I would be done by now, but I think the reason it has been so hard to write them was because I felt I HAD to in order to spare someone else…from what? Pain, grief, hardship… I don’t know. I can know that my experiences would do anything, but I can’t believe they would do absolutely nothing for someone else.

I realized that trying to write these experiences was simply too hard from an emotional standpoint as well as the factor of feeling like I HAD to write about them, like I owed the world or something. Maybe at some point down the road I’ll write about these things, but for right now, I need to think on them. I’m sure others have already written their stories on Celiac disease, Fibromyalgia, and losing a parent in their teens. Would my stories really matter? Only God knows that answer and I’m waiting for the right time and the right way to tell my stories. Sometimes I wonder if the emotional aspects of the stories are more draining on me and more stressful than say fiction writing would be. With fibromyalgia I have to be mindful of what zaps my energy and how quickly. I need to reconstitute and focus my energy on things I enjoy and that matter such as responsibilities.

My true passion has always been in fiction. But it has been so many years since I have focused on writing purely fiction and used my imagination for this reason. I feel like I have to learn to ride a bike again, to feel things out. I wonder if I even remember my old system for planning out novels… I have to admit I’m a little nervous getting back into this, but at the same time I feel a sense of relief and excitement…a sense of freedom if that makes any sense. But maybe there is also a sense of loss, like I feel a pathway has been shut…a pathway that was familiar. And now I face and the pathway of fiction that was once familiar but now seems so strange, so uncertain. Forgive me if I’m a bit hesitant to step on this pathway and begin my walk down this old, yet seemingly new pathway. Yet, I know that the only way to get the feel for things again is to jump in and do it. How does one get past the hesitancy and get started? For me, being a Christian, my first step would be to pray. Do I NOT share my life experiences, or do I? Am I afraid to share? Oh why the conflict? Why can’t I just write for the pure joy of writing? How has it lost its vigor so?

Have any of you run into a similar situation in your writing, that at one stage in your life you were so involved in one genre only later you realize you’re not comfortable there anymore (for whatever reason) and decide to try something new? What were your feelings and how did you manage to work through the fear of stepping into unfamiliar ground? Have you lost the enjoyment to write, and how did you get it back?

I look forward to your thoughts.

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