A blogging friend alerted me to a 31-day scrapbooking challenge with Ali Edwards. I've always been a fan of Ali's, and have bought all of her books. The challenge is less about scrapbooking our memories via photos than it is about journaling. Each day over 31 days, we are given a single-word writing prompt. The challenge is to take a photo that represents the meaning of the word to us. But more than that, to do some serious journaling about what the word means to us. Well, as serious as you can be, considering you have space for about 400 words, max, for each prompt.
I began the challenge a week late, however after seeing the list of writing prompts, I realized I could do it at my own pace, without having to wait for her daily emails. Passionately energized by the idea, maybe a little obsessed, I completed the entire 31-Day scrapbook over Memorial Day weekend.
The challenge was a perfect solution for me. I had longed to get involved with a 365-Photo-a-Day challenge, and had indeed started one in April. But after two weeks, I saw how wonderful it would be to explore, but also that I didn't have time for a project THAT ENORMOUS.
The 31-Day challenge, which I completed in four days, was the perfect size. Why did I want to do it at all? I'm two months away from leaving one full time career, and lifestyle, before taking up another that will be as different to me as night and day. To go from a wildly social life to one that is more hermit-like. I wanted to explore my thoughts and feelings about leaving the old, as well as my hopes and fears about the new.
One of the one-word writing prompts was: YOU. Who am I?
I am also a serious writer.
But as a writer, who am I?
Right now, I just don't know anymore. Being a librarian, I buy and later see all the YA books being released to the reading public. As well, I'm well aware of what's being sold, via agent reportage, via Publishers Marketplace. These are the books that will be released in about two years.
I'm not so hot on the current and future YA market, that is filled with, as everyone knows, vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves, paranormals. Every stripe of dystopia. Truly crazy-sounding, high-concept ideas that instead of intriguing me, make me want to say, "Oh, come on. Seriously?"
Though I am supposed to be revising a contemporary realistic Young Adult novel, I am more comfortable with the story lines of inspirational romance. I used to be such a snob about romance! But the market has truly changed and, obviously, so have I.
I've been reading a lot of Harlequin Love Inspired Historicals. I truly respect the genre. The quality of writing in pretty darned good. It's not literary, but it never pretended to be. There's a wide variety of time periods and settings, and each one delivers a terrific, sweet love story. There is also an aspect of faith, but it's not heavy-handed. And, the heroes and heroines are very realistic, flawed people. These are definitely not fairy tales, and I like that about them.
So my current writing conundrum is this: Who am I as a writer? Which manuscript should I be spending my still-limited writing time on? The YA manuscript that is in need of a bit of further revision? Or the Harlequin Inspired Historical novel that I began plotting last January, but haven't looked at since?
What road do I want to travel and eventually find myself on? I think I would much rather, God willing, find myself among the writers of Harlequin Love Inspired novels.
If you are a writer, do you ever wonder if you're writing in the genre where you truly belong? Or do you always feel completely comfortable, completely confident, with the type of story that you are writing?