Where Dreams Meet the Business of Writing


I look for dead people.

Is this a weird thing – or a cool thing – to research? I suppose that depends on who you ask. Since many of my friends are paranormal researchers, or ‘ghost hunters’, researching and looking for tidbits about dead people are just the norm. Others may not find my passion as intriguing.

I could sit behind my computer screen for countless hours, and I have. I’ve spent hours and days looking for obscure facts and references for a short story. I literally spend more time researching than I spend on the writing of the piece.

But the one who often haunts me…the one whose past hasn’t sprung to life with my written words yet, is Mitty Ann.

mitty ann headstone.jpgI moved to Texas in 2008. Since I adore visiting historic cemeteries, that’s where we went, off to local cemeteries in search of dead people. At Medlin Cemetery in Trophy Club, just a few miles from the house, I discovered Mitty Ann Medlin and she touched my heart. I couldn’t even begin to count the hours I’ve spent researching Medlin history, specifically in regard to her and her immediate family. I have a notebook filled with notes and print outs. I even made a trip to Denton to the Emily Fowler Library, home to many historic records of this north Texas area.

Mitty Ann, who was really named Permelia after her grandmother, was born October 27, 1828. Her father, who was a Justice of the Peace in Cole County, Missouri, moved the family to Texas in August of 1847. After arriving in Texas, Mitty Ann married Francis L. Harris, who had also moved here from Missouri with an earlier group of pioneers. They had a son, Charles Simpson Harris. Unfortunately, as was much too common in those days, Mitty Ann did not survive and died April 5, 1850, after giving birth to their only child.

I want to write her story. I’ve wanted to write it since 2009. So, why is it 2017 and I haven’t even started writing her story yet?

Because ‘I’m not good enough yet.’

Or, so I keep saying to myself.

Writing her story is important to me. Even with all the research I’ve done so far, I need to do more. I need more details. I need to learn more about life in the 1850’s. And I don’t feel as if I’m competent enough to tell her tale yet.

Lack of facts isn’t really holding me back.

Lack of time isn’t stopping my progress.

Lack of storyline or plot isn’t keeping me stuck.

It’s me.

Do we ever outgrow our fears and insecurities? I ask as I write this blog for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, feeling that this group totally understands how my fears of not being good enough have kept me from moving forward with some of my big writing dreams.

All I know is that as I keep fighting my own worst enemy – me – I’ll keep looking for dead people, and enjoying every second of doing so.


You can find Trisha Faye here:

Trisha Faye Facebook Author Page

Writer’s Zen Facebook Page


Comments on: "Looking for Dead People #IWSG" (22)

  1. Maybe you need to tell yourself that it’s okay to write the story even if you’re not good enough yet, as you say. We all need practice. Most published authors have at least one or two unpublished manuscripts in their drawers that they may or may not finesse one day. I consider my first novel a practice novel. Maybe start with a few chapters, and see how you feel? http://www.raimeygallant.com

    • That’s true. If I keep waiting till ‘good enough’ I’ll probably never reach that milestone, will I?
      Thanks for the suggestion! …reaching for notebook to pull it off the shelf …

  2. I agree with Raimey. Sometimes the stories we need to tell, have to be told even if we don’t think we’re good enough writers yet. The art of writing is, after all, in the rewriting.

  3. I always allow a first draft that is junk. I’m an editor and always tell myself, “I’ll fix it later.” Another tactic is to take one little piece of this lady’s life and write a short story or an essay. Let things grow from there.

    • You’re right. Somehow I’ve got to break the mindset that what needs to flow out first is the best version. Believe me, after a round with my writers group, I know that’s not true LOL
      I love your idea about taking a piece of Mitty’s life and working on a short story or essay.
      Thanks for your thoughts and feedback!

  4. Nah, the fears and insecurities are always there. I’ve got a couple of stories that I’m holding off on too, because I feel like I’m not ready yet. Not because I don’t think I’m a good enough writer, but because I don’t think I’ve grown enough as a person yet to tell them. I need more life experience.

    I know I’ll never be a good enough writer. We all want to be better. You can’t let that stop you from writing. Maybe it will be good, maybe not. It will get better when you edit and you revise. But if you never write it, it doesn’t matter. Then the story is lost and wasted. Give it a try. The worst thing that happens is that it’s completely terrible and you never show it to anyone. You’re not showing it to anyone now, so how is that different? Maybe you’ll learn something, maybe you’ll try again in a few years and it will be better.

    What have you got to lose?

    IWSG May

    • I like your thinking.
      It hasn’t stopped me from writing – just from writing Mitty’s story. But you’re right. If it’s junk, it will merely join the stack of other unpublished and unfinished projects. And by now, I’ve got a huge pile of those LOL
      But that does take off some of the pressure of having to have the ‘perfect’ manuscript!
      Thanks for stopping by and lending your feedback and support.

  5. Maybe you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to make the first few drafts be perfect? If you allow yourself to ramble and make a mess on the page, maybe that will help?

    For me, sometimes I think the story isn’t ready to be told yet for some reason. Or I’m not ready to tell it, whether because my skill level isn’t there yet or I’m not there emotionally, etc.

    • Great thoughts Madeline. Or maybe a little bit of all of it.
      I don’t know though … with the great support I’ve gotten here today, I think I’m ready to revive this tale. (At least for a messy first draft.)

  6. Ah yes. Dead people. There’s nothing more interesting for me than a stroll through a cemetery, especially one that’s a helter-skelter pre-lawn mower era. The names and the inscriptions are great sources for writers. Since I’m a writer, I too can put myself at the top of the list titled: Worst Enemies.

  7. Write it! I’ll be waiting with baited breath. I, too, love visiting old cemeteries. It’s so sad to think how many women and babies died in childbirth until recently. In fact, if not for modern medicine, I’d have been one of them.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only cemetery lover out there! And just as glad for modern medicine and that you’re here with us now Rhonda!

  8. I think that’s great!!! I’m most fascinated by the people behind the stories we hear about history. What were their lives like? It’s through individuals that we really connect to the past.

  9. Don’t worry about doing it right or if it would sell. Just start writing. Let your passion for her shine through your words and you’ll be surprised how quickly it comes together.
    And welcome to the IWSG!

    • Thanks for your thoughts and your welcome. I’ve been a member for a while, but have been more of a lurker. This was the first time to participate in the monthly blog hop.
      I’ve discovered so many excellent blogs here!

  10. […] Trisha from Writer’s Zen Blog. […]

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