by J.D. Roth
Last week, I wrote about how I’m trying to focus on just one thing at a time in my professional life. Instead of tackling many projects at once — preventing me from giving my full attention to any of them — I’m instead devoting my attention to a single job. It makes me happier and more productive.
This new productivity method doesn’t keep me from dreaming, however. I still have lots of ideas on the backburner, and I’m eager to get started on each of them.
One idea that really has me excited is a return to writing fiction.
You see, I never set out to become a personal-finance writer. I stumbled into that career. And as much as I love it, there’s a part of me that still wants to write poetry and science fiction and literary short stories.
I wrote a lot of poetry during high school and college, but this urge has faded in adulthood. I think this is the last poem I wrote myself (in March 2005):
The coming of Spring is a violent thing:
The tulips proclaim their riotous hues
While peas and then carrots have thrust their way through
the crust of the earth (swollen and muddy).
The apples and cherries and plums are now budding.
The camelias are flinging their petals en masse —
Bright-colored habits for shaggy-haired grass.
The Earth’s in rebellion! Again has grown bold!
Has dethroned Old Winter, destroying his hold
On daylight and sunshine and the world out-of-doors.
Spring has arrived: Hear how she roars!
As my poetical self has diminished, a different sort of writer has emerged. I want to tell stories. For several years, I took writing classes intermittently at the local community college. As a result, I produced half a dozen short stories like this one [DOC file].
I used to think my writing sucked. I don’t think that anymore. I’ve been writing full-time for nearly a decade, and I’ve had a lot of practice. Sure, there’s more improvement to be had, but that’s why I’m constantly reading writing manuals, and that’s why I want to take another writing class when January rolls around.
This time, I want to try something different. This time, I want to write a novel. Perhaps a children’s novel.
I’ve always loved a certain type of book, one that describes the adventures (and/or misadventures) of a group of smart kids living in a small town. Examples include The Mad Scientists’ Club by Bertrand Brinley (holy cats! look at those Amazon reviews — 61 five-star, two four-star, and one three-star!), The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald (another five-star book at Amazon!), and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I think it’d be fun to tackle a similar world, although I’m still not clear on what sort of conflict/plot my story would involve. (I do have some characters and scenes in my head, though. And because Kim also grew up in a small town, I listen to her stories with great interest!)
So, my goal for 2014 is to return to writing fiction. I have a lot of other things that must get finished first. I have to finish my ebook. I have to start a digital magazine. I have to help Kim launch her website. I have to start a new website (or two) of my own. And I have to begin organizing a retreat with Harlan and Jim. But after all that? Yeah, I’m going to write a novel.
Updated: 25 November 2013