You may notice that I have changed the title of this infrequent blog, from Thoughts About Songwriting, to "Thoughts about a Writing Life". I haven't stopped writing songs -- far from it. But I have been writing a number of other things: short stories, a musical (in progress), and long fiction. I've been writing novels, albeit, unpublished novels, so far. Three of them, and a fourth underway.
It's been an interesting process.
To begin with, there's a real gap between writing a song lyric that averages 18 lines in length, and then shifting gears to write a story that needs to exceed 70,000 words before one feels there might be an ending in sight. That's just the first draft... with all the rewriting and workshopping to follow. The sense of creative pacing, the development of a narrative voice, the use of dialogue -- those were just some of the elements that a long-fiction form demands. I'm getting better at it. I think.
All this to say, going forward. I might occasionally write about other kinds of writing. Or even, to share some news. For instance: this past Saturday evening, I won the John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award for 2017, for a short crime story called "How To Make a BLT". I'd had three stories in the semi-finalist list, and two of them made the final three, It was an honour to win, and an unexpected pleasure. Somehow, despite a lifetime spent writing a wide variety of things, and working professionally as a wordsmith, I felt just that little bit more vindicated for the hours spent staring off into space, with words and thoughts swirling around and trying to take some kind of useful shape.
So if anyone reading this has been entertaining thoughts of a writing life, my advice is: tell your stories. Write your songs, if that's how the muse leads you. Life is short, and it's too short to waste time doubting your own dreams.
Cheers for now, from The Confused Muse.