It’s a question that’s plagued me for a long time. I like to write, sometimes. Other times, it’s a task I push away. And, I think, what really rocked my confidence was my inability to focus on and finish the larger stories that live in my head. There were generations of characters in my head. I used to be able to recite the lineage from memory!
But recently, I challenged myself to write a short story. Or rather, someone else challenged me. I had accidentally fallen into a writing/author’s group. You wouldn’t think this is the kind of thing that could happen accidentally. Over years, I had developed a relationship with some bloggers. Reading and lurking led to commenting. And from regular commenting, I became an email correspondent which led to real names and social media “friending”.
The prompt in the challenge was fairly open other than that the story take place in a particular geographic location. I thought and researched and thought some more. I’ve never been to this place. Being a minor geology nut, I was able to set the story in a place I could see and feel. The story grew from that familiarity; the characters took shape. I put part of myself (a younger version) into one of the protagonists.
There was something therapeutic in that process. I found I could create again. The story was lighter than some of my more recent work. Even when I thought I wasn’t a writer, I was still writing. Isn’t it funny how we can doubt ourselves?
Did this short story I wrote for an anthology change the world? Hell, no. Did it change my world? A little. And that little story will get published, soon.
Does getting a story published make me a writer? No. I am a writer because I write. Even if it’s for no one but me, I am a writer. I will probably work more at writing for anthologies. I have a few other shorts in my stack of work. And maybe someday, I will get my larger projects off the ground, too.