“Don’t sit on content.” A friend of mine’s fond of saying this, especially when she noted I’d been sitting on content without a plan.
My “sitting on content” definition: Doing nothing with content you’ve created. It’s like making a delicious meal, then not eating it.
I’ve always been a writer. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, journalist was on my list and yea, I became one. I switched careers and my work still focuses on content development. Before all that though, I was writing various stories. As a teen for example, I wrote to escape, and to express myself when speech didn’t do it.
Between 2008 and 2015, many stories spilled out. Some of these I submitted to agents for consideration, others I chose to self-publish. Then in 2015, after a bout of submissions with a story that was the always the bridesmaid never the bride book – I became jaded. I was simply, tired.
I stopped writing prose for nearly five years. Removed content from publishing sites, along with many traces that’d lead back to any of my stories. I didn’t stop writing for personal projects entirely, turning my focus to scripts, nonfiction, and educational content.
I was however, sitting on years’ worth of wonderful content.
In that time I went through a lot of turmoil in my life in general. As it related to writing prose, characters and worlds flitted across my mind constantly. When I tried to write them, my will to do so evaporated. I didn’t have writer’s block and I wasn’t depressed, I just couldn’t.
As I started to take control of my life again, as I began to live again, I questioned why I’d stopped sharing my work. Why’d I stopped writing prose? Yes I’d been tired of rejection, frustrated with what seemed like a years’ long grind, but why was I? Why was I sitting on content and not putting fingers to keys either?
On a subconscious level I was letting others control my actions. I’d lost belief in myself and my work.
Pondering on this revealed other things. It let me see I was sitting on content I loved, that I’d grown up with really, all for nothing. Why shouldn’t I share a story from 2012, or one from 2013? Why should I cling to the belief that because an agent said “no”, it meant “no” to my story? I’d already said “yes” hadn’t I?
So I stopped letting what didn’t matter, matter so much.
In late 2019, a young boy introduced himself to me. I’d never written much MG, but this twelve-year-old wanted to grow up with me. He made sure I wrote his world, and the people inhabiting it.
Finishing this story in early 2020, the first prose piece in five years, resonated with me on a deep level. I cried, a mixture of elation and relief sweeping over me.
I shopped this gem of a Carib speculative/science-fiction story a bit to test and the responses from the few agents and editors have been positive. The “yes” isn’t there yet, but that’s okay. It’s okay because I’m no longer in a place where “yes” or “no” dictates what I do with my content.
If enough time passes and no one I send to picks it up, I’ll decide what’s next. That’s step one of my plan for this content I’m now selectively sitting on.
There’s nothing wrong with taking good advice, being mentored, or being careful with how we share our content. There is something wrong with sitting on content you’ve breathed life and soul into, without a shred of a plan.
I spent time on mine, as you have with yours, so why not share? Doesn’t mean you have to share for free, or share everything and the kitchen sink. It means recognising valiant effort and time spent creating wonderful experiences for yourself and others.
It means not being bound anymore. It’s freedom of expression at its beautiful core.
New multi-genre reads available on my Fiction page :).