Thursday, January 25, 2018

On defining moments, returns to writing, and what to do when all your old writing communities disappear...

A Post By Jonathan

Defining Moments:

There are defining moments in everyone's lives. I've recently had one that I wanted to share with y'all.

There was a time, not so long ago, when I fancied myself a world traveler. Someone who had an eternal thirst for travel that could never be quenched. Through work and college study abroad programs, I've been lucky enough to be able to travel all over Asia, Europe and parts of the Middle East. Because of this love/passion for travel, I've kind of always been looking for a day job that would allow me to work with international audiences, in the hopes that I could occasionally see the world on the company's dime (not gonna lie, it's nice).

Well it finally happened. Over the holidays, I was offered a job that would have had me overseas (mostly in India and China) for six months out of the year. It would have been a promotion, more money than I'm currently making and would have offered a number of other "perks". I would have also been working with someone I respect(ed).

As a result, I spent the majority of December doing a lot of soul searching. Questions like: "Who am I really? What do I really want in life?" To my wife's credit, she let me make the decision completely on my own. Said she would support me no matter what I chose to do.

Well, it turns out that I'm someone who loves his family too much to be away from them for half the year. No matter the excitement, glamour, other (probably unrealistic) things I pictured the job to be. To my surprise, I realized that I've changed. I'm not the person I used to be. I've grown up. Started taking pleasure in things that are close by--like my three-year-old son, my daily routine, and all the other things my area has to offer (biking, hiking, other small adventures that don't require jumping on an airplane and being gone for months on end).

Returns to Writing:

I also realized that I love reading-- and I love writing. I love traveling to other worlds/countries/places through my mind, using my vivid imagination. You've probably already guessed that I turned the job down. And since then I have felt much more sure and comfortable with who I am. I'm very thankful I went through the process. Now I'm on a quest to learn even more about myself.  

Now that I know I'm not the big world traveler I thought I was, it's time to see if I'm the writer I think I am/want to be.

After a bit of an extended absence (maybe three years ((after working on the same project for probably fourteen years)), I've decided to give this writing thing another try (take 50?). If it doesn't work out this time, then I'll have an even clearer picture of who I am (and can move onto the next thing...). But I guess the great thing about the writing craft/hobby/however-you-define-it-for-you is that it is always there waiting. It's not something you have to say no to/goodbye to because of location, career choice, this or that. If I can't get my act together now (because of my day job, the kid, other commitments), if I want to come back to it when I retire I suppose I can.

But there's another side to all this (which I am more than familiar with). If you never take your writing seriously, or commit to it in some way that manifests, you can just keep spinning your wheels and never get anywhere with it. So it's time for a change. Time to get down to business. Time to get serious.

What to do when all your old writing communities disappear...?

So now that I've decided to get all serious about my writing again, I've decided to become active in my old online writing communities again. Only problem is: they're all gone! Apparently a lot can change in three years...

Across the Board is always my first stop for writing news/hints/help (and we've been together for over three years now!), but beyond that I was also pretty active in the Backspace: The Writers Place forums and Harper Collins' Authonomy. I knew Backspace was going inactive, but they said they were going to leave the forums open so that the old members could still converse. Well, every time I try to login I get a big ol' database error. Bye, bye Backspace. And here's the article talking about why Harper Collins shut Authonomy down... I also recently went to check a blog (written by a previous Boarder) and even she has put things on hold.

Scribophile seems to be the only forum I used to be a part of that hasn't called it quits. I still go to the Absolute Write Water Cooler occasionally, but that place just overwhelms me.  

Now I'm looking for a few new places to go for writing engagement. So, dear readers, does anyone have any recommendations (besides Across the Board of course!)? Would sincerely appreciate it! 

Thanks for reading and thanks for stopping by!


Carrie Beckort said...

Sounds like a great journey, Jonathan! Welcome back to writing - I can't wait to see what you come up with! I've never been good at seeking out writing forums - sorry I can't help you there. I probably should check some out - I guess I just fear I'd be distracted even more than I am now! Besides us here at ATB, I have my in-person critique group and the indieBRAG community.

Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

I always say that my 17-year-old self would balk at my now self. I thought I would be a world traveler, a famous foreign correspondent, and married to a really handsome French man. None of those things happened, but I am fully content.

My suggestion, find a good critique partner or two and make that your online community. The less distractions, and the less "helpful advice" you read, the better. This way your work isn't influenced by posts about trends and market. Unless, you're going indie, then I suggest KBoards Author Cafe.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

It was helpful to read about your journey in writing, lifestyle, and dreams. I haven't really thought about the people (meaning aspects of myself) I've left behind, that never had the opportunity to surface, or how other priorities seem to overshadow a desire to write. I'm as old as the sidewalks in most neighborhoods but I'm not allowing that to be my excuse not to write and contribute. Keep at it Jonathan, I look forward to the work you'll be producing in the near future.

Blogger Template by Designer Blogs