A thing happened after I finished (and resubmitted) my most recent work in progress. I didn’t know what to work on next.
Did I have more ideas? Yes.
Are all of them something I’m interested in writing? Yes.
But that does not mean I had any idea where I should go next. This is partially because I’m not sure which writing path to take and some of it may be contingent on what happens with my other manuscript. Because…branding and writer’s platforms and all that.
My accountability partner suggested I write down all my ideas and let them sit while I think. I didn’t listen right away. I mean, I thought about it a ton. And then I started freaking out because who am I as a writer? Am I a nonfiction or fiction writer? Or am I both? Young adult? Adult? Women’s fiction? Romance?
I succumbed and wrote them all down—the ideas, the thoughts, small plot ideas. And then I let the list sit.
- Maybe it didn’t clear up my uncertainty or solve my writer’s identity crisis yet. But, a couple of my ideas have made their way to the top of my list and I feel slightly more secure in what direction I want to take. Some of this is still contingent on what happens with my submission, but maybe not.
My point is you don’t have to have all the answers to your future. Because you know what? Five years ago, I wasn’t even thinking about writing at all. Hadn’t even crossed my mind. And now I’m writing all the time and that’s just crazy.
Who knows where we will all be in five or ten years. It’s OK to not know and feel uncertainty. Just take notice, write down your thoughts, and eventually it’ll all sort itself out. You’ll know which direction you want or need to take.
Have you experienced your own writer’s identity crisis? What helped you find your path?
Wendy Jessen is the author of more than 500 articles—family-oriented articles on familyshare.com and book reviews. She recently started a website for something she is passionate about–helping victims of sexual abuse find hope and healing. Wendy is the mother of 6 spirited children ranging in age from 5 to 15. In the throes of writing a few books (fiction and nonfiction), she finds ways to procrastinate which usually involves scrolling through social media. Wendy often stays up way past her bedtime reading, loves kid-free date night with her husband, family vacations, and kids’ bedtime, aka, the human version of whack-a-mole.