with guest writer, May Salix

I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, but it hasn’t been until this last year that I have finally begun to really write. So I am currently an unpublished, unknown writer who has been compulsively writing for roughly 20 years – and until recently, I’ve hated just about everything I’ve written.

I felt that the reason I couldn’t write anything to my satisfaction was that my life kept getting in the way – everything I attempted to write seemed autobiographical. So for years I tried to write a memoir and for years I failed miserably no matter how many times I started from scratch. It was incredibly discouraging.

Instead, I would end up writing about what kind of writer I wanted to be and what I wanted to write about. I was – and still am – an insatiable reader, so I read countless biographies on and memoirs by female writers and I read their published letters and diaries because if I couldn’t write, I could at least read about writers. I also watched biopics of authors. I was doing pretty much everything I could think of that had to do with writing – except actually writing.

I have two main notebooks: My idea notebook has every idea for a story I’ve ever thought of; each idea has its own page and is usually at least half filled with suggestions on what to include in the story, what direction I want it to take, what I don’t want, etc.; the other one is devoted to writing about writing and contains everything from me bemoaning my inability to write anything decent to fleshing out ideas from the other notebook with a lot more detail.

Even though I was swimming in writing and writers, I wasn’t writing. It was awful because there would be times that I felt I had this great need to write, write, write, but because I was so stuck I couldn’t think of anything to write despite my notebook filled with ideas.

And suddenly it happened: Out of nowhere, I finally found the voice for my memoir that I’d been trying so desperately to get out of my system for so long. It was incredibly liberating. I’m still in the process of finishing it and I don’t want to say anything about it because I want it to be a surprise [I have low expectations of pretty much everything but apparently have delusions of grandeur when it comes to my writing.] It has been painful but it’s had its good moments, as I’m sure most people feel who have written a memoir involving painful memories and events.

I have written two stories that I am really proud of but I did not enjoy writing them. It was more like I was suddenly seized by this incredible need to write about very painful, personal subjects – my brain or my psyche’s way of allowing me to finally exorcise those particular moments of my past. I think the urgency I felt to get them written is what propelled me to write each of them in two days; they almost literally wrote themselves. If I get them published, hopefully I’ll be able to come back to this and give an update.

I am currently in the process of developing a story that will be a lot of fun to write. It will be a nice change of pace to have fun while I write rather than getting a headache from furrowing my brow and feeling like I need to take frequent breaks to regroup. The great thing is that I feel that familiar urgent need to write and while I was developing the story, it just poured out of me.

Now, what I need to work on is creating an online presence. My guess is that it would be helpful to have results show up if someone decides to Google me.

©May Salix


So, what do you think of May’s thoughts on writing and the issues she has raised in this piece? Do you have similar issues? Do you have any solutions for May? Let’s hear your thoughts. Please leave your comments for May below this post. Both May and I thank you for contributing. 

Would you like to SUBMIT a 750-word or less piece to share your own experiences with writing to VIANVI and get feedback from other writers and authors, along with FREE PROMOTION for your website, blog or books? Please see LET’S TALK WRITING #1 to see what we’re looking for and how to Submit. Thanks!


16 thoughts on “LET’S TALK WRITING #2

  1. Barbara Studham

    September 11, 2016

    Hi May, thank you for submitting your thoughts on writing. It is true, writing memoir can be extremely painful, though soul cleansing at the same time. I am pleased to read that you are also working on a fun piece as humor is beneficial to good health. Keep writing. I will be looking for your memoir when published. — Barbara

    • Viga Boland

      September 11, 2016

      Thanks for replying to May, Barbara Studham. I look forward to sharing your piece in “Let’s Talk Writing #3” soon

  2. May Salix

    September 12, 2016

    Thank you Barbara – I really appreciate your replying! I have a feeling I’ll be going to different depths with this memoir as I edit … So I’m going to try to balance it out with fiction. It took a while, but after several false starts I think I finally hit my stride with that story. Thank you for your support 🙂

    I can’t wait to read your piece next!

    • Viga Boland

      September 12, 2016

      Thanks for responding to this comment left for you May. And I know you will like Barbara’s piece in “Let’s Talk Writing #3”. The ball is rolling, even if slowly right now but it’s a start.

  3. Nancy Gustafson

    September 13, 2016

    Dear May, I am so happy for you. You have experienced that inner anxiety that pushes out a story you simply must write — a mark of a true writer, I think. A writers’ group is so helpful, and Viga’s online group provides wonderful encouragement. Can’t wait to read what you write.

    • May Salix

      September 17, 2016

      Thank you Nancy! (Sorry for the delay – crap built up to a crescendo for most of the week.) That “fun” thing I mentioned turned out to be not that fun after all … I overthought it … So it’s requiring more work than I thought (it didn’t write itself like it was supposed to). I can’t wait to write something for you to read 🙂

  4. Christine Larsen

    September 30, 2016

    Hallo May,
    Think you may be over-worrying your work.
    I’ve found it a great loosener to just write – nothing in particular, or something that’s just small and easy and not really going anywhere.
    I’m having the best time with writing from prompts for ‘flash-fiction'(or flash non-fiction) pieces – small and varied and seem to get the creative juices flowing.
    If you don’t feel pressured to ‘produce’ something, I think you settle down to a happy rhythm much faster.
    Do hope you can find the ‘fun’ bit. It truly is there, waiting for you. It will come – in its own sweet time.

    • Viga Boland

      October 3, 2016

      Thanks for commenting Christine. I hope May Salix sees this!

    • May Salix

      October 3, 2016

      Sorry about the delay – it’s been a crappy week. I’m sure Viga smiled when she read your comment and thought “May – did you read that?” I over worry about everything and many people have told me I do this … I just can’t seem to turn it off. But what you wrote makes total sense – I know that that is part of what’s blocking me, but I seem incapable of relaxing. I write almost every day – unfortunately it’s usually just in my journal, but the last few days, I’ve wracked up ideas for *four* stories and written them down with notes and such.

      I have tried doing prompts. I think I feel like I’m put on the spot and my brain just stops working, so I can’t think of anything. Flash fiction would be a big challenge for me because I’m such a wordy person – it’s something I’ve wanted to try … I think I’ll look into flash writing prompts now …

      Thank you for your response – you’ve reinforced several things for me and I will work on … working on it.

  5. Christine Larsen

    October 7, 2016

    I am SO happy when any of my words strike a chord, May.
    ‘… just in my journal’, you say, AND THEN –
    ‘… ideas for *four* stories’ you say.
    It’s there within reach – that vein of gold you’ve been digging for. Now just play with your words, and expand the simplest of thoughts.
    Relax, do a bit of ‘stream of consciousness’ writing, where you just scribble everything that comes into your head from any of your own thoughts, feelings, ideas, boredom – doesn’t matter what. Even writing about your frustration that you can’t think what to write, can be a kick-off point.
    If it’s any consolation to you, it would be impossible for me to write a full-length novel, even a novelette, because I have no conception of all the ‘stuff’ you should know, like the plot, synopsis, protagonist, pace of story, etc., etc. Hopeless, truly.
    I write almost exclusively what I know, or have lived through – but often I take one small event and then embroider it with fiction, so finally it’s not really one genre or the other. But it IS fun… and that’s all I finally care about. Enjoyment, satisfaction – the act of creation fills the emptiest of dreams.
    Love the saying to ‘hang loose’. Try it May. Promise you won’t regret it.

    • May Salix

      October 8, 2016

      Actually … since our last exchange, I was working on my memoir and before I knew it, an idea for a story slammed me. I wrote out what I wanted it to be about and how it was going to end and started writing it the next day (day before yesterday, apparently). I had some serious doubts about it because it wasn’t doing what it was supposed to, but I ended up reading a chunk of it to a writer friend of mine and he loves what I’ve written so far … I feel like this is going to be one of my best stories – I can’t wait to finish it!

      I can’t tell you how much space and ink I’ve devoted to how frustrated I am about not writing! It’s funny you said that … Thankfully, I’m not doing that much these days because I’m actually writing! I haven’t really put much thought into novels either – one day, though …

      I tend to write what I know too. But a lot of my undeveloped ideas that aren’t largely autobiographical are about the darker aspects of the human nature … Think Joyce Carol Oates, only darker … that’s my goal – to out do JCO 🙂 (maybe not when when it comes to output, but at least in subject matter)

      • Nancy Gustafson

        October 8, 2016

        So happy for you May. You know you are a writer when writing brings you so much joy–and RELIEF!

      • May Salix

        October 8, 2016

        I can’t tell you how … different I feel now that I’m *finally* writing – even coming up with ideas one after the other that might not be realized for a while is enough to make me happy because it makes me feel like I’m finally moving forward instead of being so stagnant and … unproductive. Oh – and thank you for being so happy for me – it feels like encouragement and support 🙂

        As for the accidental double comment … that might have to be covered under “Now I know” 🙂

  6. Nancy Gustafson

    October 8, 2016

    Well, I tried to fix a spelling error and ended up with two replies. How do you cancel a reply or fix an error?

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