I got this idea to write a book. NaNoWriMo seduced it right out of me. Surprising because I am not (currently or maybe ever) a fiction writer. I thought I might be once. As a kid, when I thought of my grown-up self, I saw her as a writer living in a cabin in the woods. Yep, my grown-up self had cats and she wrote books. I don’t remember when I officially decided to let that vision slide into nothing but I did. I didn’t think about my kid self seeing my grown-up self as a writer until a guy I was dating said, “you’re a really good writer” and “you should do something with that”. It woke the dream right up again. Well, the writing part. I’m a hermit half the time but I’m not ‘cabin in the woods’ material. So, I was happy writing this blog. I have been working on some kind of e-book or e-booklet or some sort of e-publication for my newbie coaching clients; I wanted something to get us all on the same page so that when we began working together we’d be speaking the same language. I completely dismissed the thought of any kind of self-help book because aren’t there enough of those? But maybe a memoir/self-help book would work. I do have my past to draw from. All non-fiction stuff, though. Until I got this idea. And what an idea! It’s epic. Dangerous. Such delicate material. Frankly, the idea scares the shit out of me. So much so that I wanted it to go away. It felt way too big for me to handle. Except I kept having to stop what I was doing to write random scenes and snippets. I only wrote the idea down in the first place to get it out of my head so it would leave me alone. So far, that plan has been about as effective as eating donuts in the hopes of slimming down.
So I figured I’d take it all as a sign. After all, hadn’t I seen that post on Facebook about Scrivener? And it was the second time I saw a reference to that whacked month of writing deal.
Fuck it. I’ll give this novel a month of my life and see what happens with it.
I think it was all of about five minutes before the crippling voices of doubt started raising all kinds of hell.
The loudest argument came cloaked in the form of a very rational look at the amount of time I HAVE NOT been writing since my kid self ordained me an author-to-be. All that wasted time between then and now… Shit, if I hadn’t spent all that time fucking around, I’d be published by now. And now I want to write a novel?!??
Yes. Now I want to write a novel. Even though [insert a million fucking reasons why that’s a terrible idea here]. And [insert all the fucking things I already have going on here].
I have a couple of thoughts that are keeping me warm as I contemplate the ginormous!! task of writing this novel that is probably going to kick my ass nine ways from Sunday.
1) I have been writing in my head all this time. While I know this is not even remotely close to the same thing as sitting my ass in a chair and putting words together on paper, screen or napkin, some subterranean piece of my psyche never forgot that I saw myself as a writer. My brain has been training for this. Prepping. Reading. Making note of what is delicious on a page and what isn’t. My brain has a revved up engine ready to lay down some rubber, baby.
2) I am a smarter version of me than I was before. There are countless editors out there who were spared the drivel of my less mature self. I have something of substance to bring to the table now and while it might have taken me a while to get here, I’m here.
A couple of thoughts… Not much to go on. But I have a choice. I can either cling to these thoughts and let them life raft me to the end of NaNoWriMo. Or I can dismiss them and not even allow myself try.
Besides… we are talking about a month here. I know I won’t have a book ready to let loose on the world at the end of it. I know I will have some bitchin’ levels of work to do to make the mess of words into something other than a train wreck. I know I might invest everything I have into cleaning up that train wreck and my novel might still suck the big one and there is every probability that I will be an utter and ridiculous failure as a novelist.
Still… At this point, the book really isn’t the point. This is about following my heart. For all my talk about doing just that, I often tiptoe around the action part of the following. I am afraid and for all the same reasons as everybody else.
So I’m doing it.
PS: I think the bliss is in the doing.
So that someday I can say I did and I know instead of wondering what might have happened if I’d followed through with that crazy idea I had back in the fall of 2013.