It’s often difficult to quantify the amount of resources someone can spend writing. The time spent thinking up every character, plot beat, and style choice, sometimes before a single computer keystroke has been made. The effort spent typing and retyping every line until it feels just right, only to figure out later that it’s wrong altogether. The headaches around trying to get a finished piece out into the world for someone, anyone to possibly read what you’ve put together.
I’m not a musician or an artist, I could imagine that they encounter similar instances of investment into projects that don’t take shape. But as a writer, it still amazes me how much it can feel like this little hobby is actually just talking to myself most days. If I said these words aloud, rather than typing I’d be locked up!
For example, my current writing effort is all towards a novel which has taken well over a year and is just shy of 75,000 words. I’m nowhere near done. Once I do find my way to the end, I’ll be going right back to the beginning and starting on Draft 2, incorporating many much-needed changes that are already jotted down in my worksheets. When will it ever see the light of day? Who the hell knows, maybe I’m wrestling with the ‘Sunk Cost Fallacy’ on a subconscious level – a notion that one can be reluctant to abandon a strategy or action due to time invested when abandonment would be smarter.
What I can definitively point to as a source of motivation for writing is the creation of breadcrumb trail.
Those plucky little Germans, Hansel and Gretel, used breadcrumbs to know the way back in case of being lost. Rather than going backwards, I like to apply this concept to knowing that I’ve been going forward the whole time. So, what does my trail of breadcrumbs even look like? Long ago, I bought myself a binder, then printing and hole-punching every short story that I had managed to finish. That binder slowly filled, pushing out the other books on either side of the shelf with every new tale. The stories weren’t published but were, in a way, able to show me that I had done something with my time. This blog also contributed to the feeling of leaving breadcrumbs. It began in 2018, and I’ve added to it ever since. All of it, I can look back on as one large collective work.
Keeping up the momentum to make more breadcrumbs, I cranked out short story after short story. Some were picked up by journals or anthologies that went to print. As they trickled in, I carved out a corner of my bookshelf for them.
In total, 6 of my short stories have been printed. You can find them listed on my Stories page. As well, I am a contest reader for PRISM International, so all of the journals I’ve contributed to in some way go up there as well.
Sometimes, the only way to know if you’re truly moving forward, or if you are just treading water, is to have something to look back at. Let those breadcrumbs remind you where you’ve come, and inspire the possibility of where you might be going. If you have some other examples of breadcrumbs that help nurture your creative writing, let me know!
While it’s been a huge personal joy of mine to have grown my little corner of the bookshelf, only finishing this book will make it grow any larger. I’ll see it through, one way or another.
Keep turning the page,
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