Fiction V. Poetry and Why I Do What I Do

I write everything.

I don’t actually write everything but I write anything that comes to me in the moment. I have been writing freelance internet content for fifteen years. Lifestyle articles, music reviews, advice columns, I’ve done a little bit of everything on that front.

I have been a storyteller since I had the cognitive ability to string words into sentences, and writing them down for almost as long.

I wrote my first poem when I was 12. It was for a middle school anti-drug contest and I won 2nd place out of kids from three states. I don’t even know how many but I got to do some cool stuff and got my poem published in the now-deceased Rocky Mountain News. And I don’t remember the poem except it was from the perspective of a girl, like me – middle school aged, because I was 12 and hadn’t figured out how to think outside of my own box – watching her older brother do drugs and being disappointed in him. But I’m pretty sure it was, even then, my standard long form free verse because I don’t like having my writing constrained.

The thing is, I write everything but I write a lot more of some things because they are easy and offer instant gratification. But they are not my true passion.

I can scribble out a 500-1000 word “magazine” article in under an hour.

I can sit down and write enough poems to fill a book in just a few days.

But a novel…

A novel takes a month to write. Weeks to edit and revise. Another month to get feedback from beta readers.

A novel takes time.

But that’s where my passion is. Fiction has always been my soul song.

I’ve written and published poetry. I promote the snot out of my poetry because I really would like for people to buy it.

But I know that poetry is not a thing that sells. Even with sites like Button Poetry, or even YouTube, giving poetry more attention – the kind of attention it got before “novels” became a way of life – it is not a big seller. If I sell 100 copies, I’ll consider that a well-read poetry collection. I am not going to push paperback copies on friends and family because I don’t want them to have something taking up space on their bookshelves just because they know the person who wrote it. I want it to be something they will read and love. And I know that poetry can be a difficult read for some.

When it comes to writing fiction, though, you better believe I’ll be all over promoting that. I will become downright annoying. Think about the seven commercials that loop on late night cable. That’s going to be me.

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