The Ever-Evolving Journey of a Writer

Thursday, May 23, 2024

As writers, we are on an ever-evolving journey. I reflected on this today as another writer I follow sent out a newsletter saying they were moving on and planned on walking away from their newsletter. This was a short time after a writer of a popular newsletter sold hers. For the former, it was due to an upcoming divorce and needing to redirect her attention; the latter wanted to devote more of her energy to writing again.

These two writers decided to change their focus and where they were putting their energy. I've made those choices myself along the way. This time last year, I was still paying a lot of attention and energy to public relations and trying to make a go of things in that direction. By October 2023, I had decided to walk away from it, realizing it was no longer right for me. I still have hung on to some tendrils of that avenue, as I do book people into podcasts sometimes. But it's slowly becoming a thing of the past.

After walking away from public relations, I realized that sometimes, I think we hang onto things because we feel so worried about the impact they will have on those in the sandbox with us, so to speak. I had to let go of a client who was actually really happy with my work. I walked away from a fairly popular writing prompt that I hosted on my blog for a long time, feeling guilty that I was maybe letting people down.

Both decisions turned out right. And I'm glad I walked away.

I've also realized that sometimes, we need to walk away from our stories. I did walk away from one semi-recently, which I think was more me processing being let go of my day job in 2018. I realized I no longer felt led to rewrite the story or submit it. Now, it's in the archives of my mind, maybe waiting to become flash fiction or be used in another way. 

I also quietly backed away from a writing gig that was an essential part of my growth in 2023 and was a catalyst for numerous opportunities. However, it was a necessary part of my journey.

I think that's part of growing as a writer: knowing when to let go. 

Nicole Pyles is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. Her writing has appeared in Sky Island Journal, Arlington Literary Journal, The Voices Project, The Ocotillo Review, and Gold Man Review. A poem of hers was also featured in the anthology DEAR LEADERS TALES. Her short story, “The Mannequin of Lot 18,” was nominated for Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy for 2024. Since she’s not active on social media very much, stay in touch by following her writing blog at World of My Imagination.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Insightful post, Nicole! Changing paths can help you grow as a writer, and you're smart to realize what wasn't working for you. :)

Some of my creative nonfiction is written purely for catharsis. And you're right, the best parts of those stories we walk away from often work their way into other pieces. An essay that published last year was assembled from two different essays written in different workshops, and it was only when writing the new essay I realized the older essay would fit perfectly in the middle. I believe all of our stories stay with us in some way.

Your last line is beautiful!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Amen, Nicole! There is so much push in our society not to be a quitter. I think it encourages us to hang on much longer than we should.

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