On giving up half a dream

I’ve decided to admit to cheating when I started reading Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer. It’s light reading, and I would have finished it already were it not for a certain book activity which I tried doing. I cheated and read ahead to the results interpretation, so the exercise is spoiled for me; but I think I know what the results are for me anyway.

Basically, the goal of the is to help you determine what sort of writing you’re more inclined to do. I’m sure that sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes, I find that my brain ignores what’s right there in front of it. To cut it short, in my case, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m more of a short story writer than a novelist. Gasp!, oh noes! and general bellows of outrage! — the eye-opener met with quite a bit of resistance.

I suppose a part of myself has always known that I’m more inclined towards short stories than a full-length novel: there are lots of signs pointing to it. Previous finished work has always been under 25,000 words; I am irresistibly drawn towards exercises in brevity and enjoy writing them immensely. But I resisted; ever since I was a kid, I’d wanted to write books, and here was a book who was forcing me to see that I wasn’t really up for it. Or at least not yet.

The result was a long drought in writing. A subconscious strike? Maybe. I’ve been thinking more about it recently, though, and the more I think of it, the more I realize how I’m essentially strangling my writing and holding up practically every single creative thought-process. Because The Dream feels so difficult to reach, I subconsciously stopped reaching for the smaller dreams that may, who knows, one day lead to The Dream.

So, two days ago, I started fleshing out a short story plot, letting characters wake up and tell me their stories. I think I like this new phase.

I’d like to share something from the book that I’m still digesting:

…if you confess so much you are likely to go further and talk of the things you mean to write. Now words are your medium;…but your unconscious self…will not care whether the words you use are written down or talked to the world at large. …You will have created your story and reaped your reward…you will consider it as already done, a twice-told tale.

And before I leave — the culprit has been found: my namesake Angela was the one who nominated me for the Philippine Blog Awards (thank you!), who has just released the 2007 Philippine Blog Awards Finalists list. And, even more surprisingly, I made it. o.o;; I have no words as of yet to explain what I feel (such is my plight a lot of times these days). My co-finalists are: Far From Neutral Notions, Ironwulf.net: En Route, Midori-X, and Noel Perlas. You should check out all the rest. Good luck to everyone! *pompoms*


  • Hello Keysi! Nice to meet you. :)

    Here’s to both our attempts at writing The Novel. I confess I haven’t been writing recently either, it’s been a very hectic month for me and when I get home I’m just plain tired. The other day, though, I was in a cafe and managed to pen a few paragraphs; half unrelated to each other, but what the hey. :) It made me long for yet another time like it where I can just sit down, let my mind empty out, and write.

    Even if it’s just mindless drivel.

  • I share the same goal as yours. I want to complete my very own novel too, but for some unknown reason, my goal is still far away. I have managed to write a few stories, the longest of which is called The Parting (in two parts). It’s amateur as amateur can be, but maybe given the time and the proper inspiration, I may be able to finish it one day.