An Epidural of Courage

 

I’ve learned a couple of things since I last posted.

First lesson: I have more time than I realized, if it’s spent doing only what I want to do. I took my own advice. In late July I began making the time to do what was important to me. Results? Absolute bliss.

Second lesson: I do not have the luxury to do it well. Unleashing a passion (when it’s not part of your day job) can create frustration. Results? Still absolute bliss.

If you’re waiting on circumstances to inspire motivation, you’re gonna need caffeine.  [Tweet this]

 

writing

What have I been doing? I’ve been writing.

In late July, a story developed in my mind. Immediately, I put all of it on paper. (Well, we all think of digital devices as paper, right?) I took a stab at writing a novel last summer only to learn that an idea doesn’t get you very far. It stalled out at about 20,000 words. Luckily, this summer was different. I had a complete story in my head. Surely, I could type 75,000 words in a couple of weeks. Right?

Wrong.

What was my story anyway? Was it a short story, a novella, or a waste of my last days of summer? After I scratched it out on Scrivener (the coolest software ever), I realized it was a novel. For weeks I wrote blissfully ignorant I was, in fact, a teacher, not a writer. Easy peasy. Until I read what I’d written.

Reading the first 15,000 words of my “novel” was like suffering with a severe case of hiccups. The story lacked interesting characters, intriguing action, and a compelling theme. What, if anything, did I have going for me? Two power plays. I had a good idea and the motivation to see it through.

As it turns out, that’s all I needed.

Every day for the last two months I have worked on this little novel. How far am I? Well, if I don’t chuck most of it in the trash upon the “real editing” phase, I’m around 60,000 words. How many more to go? A lot. How long will it take to finish? A long, long time. Surprisingly, I’m cool with this. I’m enjoying the process more than I imagined I would.

The writing process has surprised me.

I’ve written various non-fiction pieces but I’ve never tackled anything quite like this before. Some days my fear paralyzes me, causing me to question myself. Do I know what I’m doing? Is my writing any good? Would I want to read this? Most days I’m able to push through the insecurities and continue writing. Other days I read. I read my own writing. Or I read books I love but analyze them differently. I’ve always paid attention to an author’s technique and style. I read differently when I’m trying to develop one for myself.

Writing is like suiting up to wrestle — with yourself.  [Tweet this]

When I quiet my fear, words follow. When I think about what I’m really trying to say, I say less. I’m learning less is more. It takes courage to let go of a string of words that you love when they don’t mean a thing.

My next steps will require some big-girl pants. I need to finish the book then have a real editor take a look.

I may be comatose before all is said and done. In case I can’t say so for myself, let the record show that the whole process really made me blissfully happy.

2 thoughts on “An Epidural of Courage

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