Since settling back into life after a month of European adventures, a few things have become glaringly obvious.
- Travel is the best thing I can do for my soul.
- My post-holiday glow always eventually wears off, but if I play it right, I am constantly reminded of how good I’ve got it for even getting to go on holiday.
- Having the time to read books whilst on holiday was the best thing I could’ve done as it has re-ignited my spark for writing fiction.
Whilst I’ve dabbled with the likes of fiction since I can remember and have plenty of stories buried in my brain, I’ve never gotten around to completing any of them on paper (except for the times I had to submit them for university and when I had a story published in a book once). The likes of K.A Tucker, Sally Thorne and Karina Halle have opened my eyes up to the fact that I had been restricting myself with my style of writing for over a decade.
Turns out you can write whatever, and however, you want.
Yes, there are always rules to follow when it comes to writing fiction, from grammar and punctuation to obeying the rules of the worlds you create, but you don’t need to limit yourself when it comes to style. For so long I was paralysed with writer’s block because I had been trying so hard to ‘write like other people’ or thought I needed to fit into a type of box. Reading again and reading consistently has made me realise that while people’s writing styles can be similar, you really are free to find your own groove.
I’d forgotten/didn’t even know about all the different types of genres and sub-genres of fiction you can read and write. For example, underneath the genre of romance there are options such as contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, YA (young adult) romance and chick-lit (university flashback). And those are just to name a few. It was like I had boxed myself into a corner with my own work and had become so fixated on writing a certain way, that I just about gave up on the idea altogether.
As an example of boxing myself into a corner, I’ve always known I’m not very good at writing descriptions of landscapes or action sequences, which is why script-writing is so appealing to me [you can just insert brief and direct descriptions/instructions like this]. With a story idea I’ve had for the longest time, I had been fixated on all of the action involved (and struggling to write it every time I tried) that I had legit just shelved the entire idea nearly ten years ago.
Now it’s like another part of my brain has opened up.
I’ve realised I don’t have to write it that way. Why do I need to get so hung up on the intricate details? Why don’t I instead focus the story on the characters? Focus on the love story? Focus on my strengths as a writer and the things I enjoy as a reader. It sounds so simple, but it’s as if a lightbulb has gone off in the creative side of my brain. Why couldn’t my story be primarily a romance instead of an action-packed novel? Why do I need to stress about everything being perfect at the start and just write and see what happens (because I’m neurotic obvs) but still? I’d forgotten I could write it how I like to read it. So simple.
I was also reminded (by my partner) that it’s better to write for a small audience that love and enjoy your content, than to try and appeal to the masses and write stuff that’s not really any good for anyone.
Over time, the direction of my blog and social media has been shifting with what’s happening in my life. What started out as a purely fitness-orientated space has gradually lessened from that (but not disappeared) into the likes of mental health awareness, honest life stories and now, I sense, into the realm of writing and creativity.
A big thank you to all of you who have been reading these posts of mine since the beginning. I hope, that as my content continues to evolve and grow, that I can still provide a slither of entertainment or information to you in other ways (my Instagram stories are always honest FYI. Shameless plug: @smithstandard).