I no longer enjoy writing or reading, which is extremely frustrating because reading was one of the few things I've loved for over fifty years. I wish I'd never read a single "How To" book on writing, or paid attention to posts claiming to know the secrets of great writing. My writing has come to a standstill because those 'rules' keep popping up telling me I shouldn't use that word, or that sentence is passive, etc. The same thing happens when I try to read now. My mind keeps focusing on all the little grammatical errors instead of on the story.
Several years ago, I decided it might be fun to take some of the fantasies floating around in my head, and put them down on paper. I entered a short story/first chapter in a major writing contest for fantasy/scifi, and placed in the top eight out of over eight thousand entries. This was an un-edited, first draft, since I didn't know any different. I thought to myself that if I knew more about writing, I might have won.
I grew up with the notion that if you're going to do something, do it right or not at all. So off I went on the road to knowledge, reading everything I could find on writing, and subscribed to several writer magazines. Some of what I read made sense, and some of it went right over my head. If I'd waited to write my story after reading those books, and then entered it in the competition, it would have ended up in their large slush pile of grammatically correct, but generic submissions. I believe that my entry stood out from the crowd because I wrote it from the heart and not from my head.
I'm seriously considering the idea of abandoning writing altogether, and search for a way to enjoy reading again. Maybe if I fill my Kindle with some of the worst e-books I can find, and force myself to read them, I will exorcise the editing demon from my mind.
Those of you who have been following me on Saturdayscenes have probably noticed that I haven't shared anything new for a while. Even though I've written several new chapters in both my WIPs, I'm reluctant to share them. Maybe I'll dig out some scenes from the fanfic I started several years ago.
Of course it's possible that my publisher, and the people who have supported and encouraged me the last couple of years, have just been blowing smoke up my butt, and this has all been a waste of time. All I know is that I no longer enjoy writing, and it shows.
Some of you will probably feel that this has just been a whining session, and that's okay. I'm an old man, and I can whine if I want to.