balloons

Huh.

I think I finally figured out the root of my writing woes, and it actually has almost absolutely nothing to do with anything I said in the previous post. Sure, an erosion of reader support hurt, but that only exacerbated the underlying problem--it wasn't the actual problem.

The problem is that I unwittingly lied in one of the comment conversations. I said "there were stories I wanted to read and no one else was writing them." But the fact is, I don't write what I want to read either. Not truly. As a reader, I prefer stories that are 10,000-50,000 words long, but almost everything I've managed to finish writing over the years runs under 5,000--and my longest barely clocks in at 15,000 (which was a desperate scramble for a Big Bang project). Sure, I write about the characters and subjects that interest me as a reader, but just about everything I write is "too short". And I suspect I need to simply learn not to feel like a failure because of it--long stories just aren't the way my writing-brain works, and every time I've tried to force a large word count, the thing's fallen to pieces. (Every single damn time.)

...It's okay if I mostly write loosely-connected series of vignettes. If every time I've attempted NaNoWriMo things have ground to a halt after the first 5,000 words. I can enjoy the epics written by other people and not feel guilty because I haven't and likely never will produce one of my own. I DON'T NEED TO WRITE THAT BEST-SELLING NOVEL TO BE A GOOD WRITER.

*flings confetti and glitter*

Guys, I know this probably all sounds blatantly obvious to you, but I've been carrying this weight of unrecognized personal expectations around for years without realizing it. Almost multiple decades, in fact (I had a pretty rigid set of expectations for myself as a child; entirely in-born, nothing at all to do with my parents). I'm almost giddy with relief right now.
It seems to me that the vast majority of writing is a constant series of realizations and self-discovery. I'm the opposite in that my writing style favors longer works, but for the longest time I was under the impression that a good writer is able to write both long stories and short stories. Once I realized that not only was this not true and that it's okay if there's certain things in the writing world you're better at and stick mostly to, it was the biggest relief ever.



Yes! To realize that there's no "right" way to write. Which I would tell people left and right, but never managed to apply to myself until now.
You can always write your stories in stages. You write the first part then leave it until the next challenge which would be a year later then produce another part. No one says a writer has to write 50 thousand word stories all at once. Quite a few writers do stories in pieces. Sometimes you might have to wait for the continuation for 2 years. It's all up to how you want to write that story, not what people expect you to do.
The funny thing is that all the expectations were purely internal--which can be the most paralyzing, I suspect, because they're invisible and so almost impossible to escape.
The problem is that I unwittingly lied in one of the comment conversations. I said "there were stories I wanted to read and no one else was writing them." But the fact is, I don't write what I want to read either. Not truly.

Gosh, I can relate to this SO well! When I started writing Sherlock fic, this is what I set out to do, but what I actually did was write stories no one else was writing - but not necessarily the ones I wanted to read. It still baffles me that my first two fanfics where casefics of 36k/64k, because I have never taken that much pleasure in longfic (anything over 20k needs a really good reason why it's that long in my opinion) and I've never cared much for plot, either. *shakes head in Dean Winchester fashion*
Writing is weird, yo. :P

But it's comforting to know I'm not the only one dealing with this kind of thing. *hugs*
This is me catching up with you and all I can say is THIS! What you have said makes so much sense. And now you have so much freedom, go for it :)
You know what's kind of hysterical about the timing of your comment? I'm currently elbow-deep in a massive AU of seasons 1-5 of Supernatural--with a highly enthusiastic collaborator. And good golly, does that make a difference. :D