The Journey to Revisit This Dream Again and Again and Again

NaNoWriMo 2021 Banner

Wow, would you look at that? It’s been over a year since my last post. I’d make excuses, but I don’t have any. I’d give you really good reasons, but I don’t have any of those either.

What I do have is a new attitude towards writing. At least, I think it’s new. It’s changing, that’s certain.

I did something I’ve always wanted to do. I signed up for NaNoWriMo again, and this time I’m actually setting aside the time each day to write a novel. I’m about one tenth of the way in, and while it doesn’t sound like much, it’s one tenth farther along than I was on October 31st.

And, I’m serious about this commitment. I’m not in it to win it, I’m in it to commit it. At the end of 30 days, I am fully prepared to either love or seriously hate what I’ve written, but I’m determined to have a completed novel.

So, there it is. If there’s anyone still out there in the world reading this blog, now you know. I’ll try to post my progress throughout the month, but if it comes down to the novel or this blog, the novel will win every time.

The Journey to Self-Discipline

Discipline is difficult. I wanted to write last night, but I didn’t. How do writers juggle work (non-writing job), life, and their passion for words? Is there a secret I’m missing that the others figured out? Am I supposed to give up sleep and fun? I know that isn’t true, but it feels true.

I’ve had this dream since I was a child, the dream of someday seeing something I wrote in print. Yet, the older I get, the farther away that feels.

I am a writer.

Maybe if I keep saying it, it will have to be true.

Maybe it has to become a mantra, a cadence, a song.

I honestly don’t know. But, I know myself well enough to know this: I’m not going to give up. The desire is too strong. Even if I’m not writing about the writing process, I’m still writing. My head is full of ideas. I just need to put them on paper. I think I’ll do some of that tonight.

I am a writer!

On Short Stories

I do not think like a short story writer. I’ve learned that this semester. I think like a novelist. I want to write short stories, because they don’t take as much time and they are less complex, but I am not a short story thinker. My stories are complex and have subplots within subplots within the plot. I may think I want this or that story to be short, or even novella length, but when I lay out the idea, it is always way too big for a small space, and sometimes, it is even too big for a large space.

This semester has been about thinking like a short story writer. It has been about changing my thinking to write stories that are character driven and not plot driven, but my stories are never really about characters. My stories are always about plot. I like to take a familiar idea, like time travel, and then turn it upside down and see what falls out.

But now, I’m writing short stories, and I find that I like the satisfaction of that. I like having a story finished and knowing that with only a few tweaks, it might actually be ready to submit for publication at some point. Still, in order to write short stories, I have to think like a short story writer, which means that I have to stop thinking about plot and let the characters decide the story. It is a kind of letting go; letting go of control, letting go of my ideas, letting go of me. It isn’t easy to reinvent my writing wheel, but I feel like it will be worth it.