November is National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo for short) and this year I was determined to actually put my hat into the ring and write my first novel.
To be sure, the fiction end of the writing I have done so far, mostly unpaid for the last decade or so, has sharpened my skills and allowed me to meet some wonderful people (like the nice young woman who offered to do a cover for my book as a thank you contributions to her website project) and the like, but I never considered myself a real writer and sometimes I still do not at times.
BayArt was kind enough to give me a platform to reach out with my one fiction piece that fit the inspirational tones of BayArt itself, which you can read here.
As far as any other fiction was concerned there were story ideas in my head and some rather good ones in that crop I may add but the negative voices in my head would immediately chime in:
“Who do you think you are, trying to write a book, it will never sell, it is too much work and you really think you’re an actual writer? Like a writer-writer? Yeah OK buddy, good luck with that one.”
During the last three to four years, I have been on a journey and a huge part of that journey is centered around debriding my mind of the nasty thoughts that have held me back for decades from showing my true potential.
It took me losing just about everything to come out of denial and then almost losing everything I have now just to get myself to this point, but if I have the courage of my own convictions then pain is only a doorway to enlightenment.
This does not mean that pain still does not hurt, there are many days as I sit here waiting for some person somewhere to deem me worthy or not of financial help that has at times made my life a living hell. It is hard to keep a new mindset in place when everywhere you turn is stress from how are you going to eat today to just feeling left out a lot because you have no basic funds to do well…anything.
Same kind of thinking can bleed into larger projects you want to take on for yourself and to further your dreams. The voices will say it is best to wait, it is better to hold on until you are ready, it is better to not do it at all because you yourself think you might just be a fraud.
So here we are now on day eight of Nanowrimo and I have more than 13,000 words written of that novel. Still, a long way to go to the goal of 50,000 words by November 28th of this year but it is more than I ever thought I would accomplish before I started down this road a few days ago.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Accomplishment:
On day one I hedged and hedged, always finding something to distract me, always finding a way to get out of sitting down, putting on that writing hard hat and just well, writing!
So on Day one I made a concerted effort and got the daily quota of 1,667 words done. The second day I skipped until very early into day three but made myself stay awake and got 3, 500 some odd words in, getting me back on track. The next day I wrote just below the quota but then came back and double dipped this weekend and then did it again last night putting in another 3,000 some odd words into the novel.
The rub is that no one ever feels ready to go to work on the dream project, no one is ever truly prepared to take that leap of faith, which is essentially just having faith in yourself and your abilities.
I had to force the writing out of me several times while my mind tells me I have no idea what happens next, I have no business trying to write a book and also who the hell is going to read this thing anyway if we finish it?
Tired excuses from a mind that is not lazy, but that has always listened to that voice rather than rolling up my sleeves and getting down to business.
No one is ever going to do it for you, all the dreams and riches and deep connections you ever hoped for could come to you in the night and make your life a paradise but it will still not prepare you to follow that nagging dream in your head because in the end lovely as those things may be it has no bearing on you following your dreams.
What inspired me to come back here during this busy month and write something to share this experience with you is something that happened with my best friend. She had this set of divinity cards and I asked her to draw me some cards and put them in this simple four card layout.
Without many surprises, I got the same kind of answers I have been getting for months. You have what you need, we hear you, we really do and all this and more could be yours but you are going to have to get off your backside and work for it first.
As I said in the above short fiction God hands out tools, he does not build the house for you and those same tools can destroy your property rather than build it back up and fix the cracks in the foundation.
I asked my friend to draw cards on another matter and she said she would pick just one.
What came back made it into the novel itself and maybe that is the best way to describe it:
“Then who exactly is hunting who here then?” Tim Asked.
“You see Tim that is just it.” Samuel took a look around as if he was telling Tim a huge secret, a forbidden thing no one else could know.
“There are predators and there is prey. There are cats and then there is the mouse. Be it right or wrong we all play the same game. Philosophers will tell you it is about the thing you hunt, while I, and I could be wrong here, think it is all about how you hunt.
Hunting always has a purpose, the thing is how well can you hunt and if you’re going to hunt something bigger than you, how long can you wait for the perfect shot? The thing is perfect shots never exist..wait for them and you will be hungry forever.”
You have to hunt in order to get what you want and if you cannot get that clean shot then you have to take the best one you are capable of because while another opportunity may come along to reach those goals, it also may never come again.
That was the question that final card pulled asked, is it better to be the hunter or to be the hunted?
When I was deep into that mindset (and I still have work to do because that pathway in my brain was cut so deep and like anyone else alive on this planet in any situation life can throw at us, you will always have more work to do anyway, no matter how healthy you may be mentally and physically) I had no desire to do anything, I would cry a lot and complain that I got nothing while in reality I had everything I needed and had for years really.
I asked that last question of my friend’s cards for multiple reasons. Some things that were pointed out I was hedging on with lame excuses built from fear, some things I thought would never happen for a ‘person like me’ and a couple personal matters.
The fight is far from over, it will never be over and there will always be room for improvement but I think I have gotten the idea that if I force myself to break that shell of comfort and stagnant thought, if I choose to hunt rather than not to hunt at all, even in small ways I can make more progress than I ever thought possible.
Through doing the work of ourselves all dreams can come true but it is never a fairy tale because in fairy tales they skip to the good bits and never show the work involved.
I mean someone had to have spent weeks, months or even years building that tower that Rapunzel threw her hair down from for her lover to climb and I would be willing to bet someone if not everyone besides perhaps the Tin Man got blisters on their feet from the long walk down to the Emerald City in OZ.
So will we hunt today or we will we be hunted?
The choice is yours.
Again I ask for anyone who can to contribute to this Go Fund Me page. Nothing has been donated in a very long time and as I nearly reach the end of one part of this journey that I really have no control over I find it harder and harder to keep things afloat. Any amount will do and I thank you for reading this post whether you can contribute or not.