Monday, May 12, 2008

To be or not to be...was never the question.

How did I decide to be a writer?

I never really sat down with a plan to be an author…it was more of a stumble, followed by a headfirst plunge into a crazy, wild, vibrant, new subculture.

Last fall, when my "baby" started kindergarten, I found myself with a serious case of PMS, acne and angst…I suddenly felt like I was back in high school, pondering the age old question, “What am I going to do with my life?". And like the proverbial seeker who can’t see the forest for the trees, I was in a quandary.

I panicked. I cried. I got depressed. I threw myself into projects that didn't feel quite right. I journaled, did my fair share of soul searching, then decided to do as my recent read, Life Organizing, by Jennifer Louden, suggested: hop on the inner tube of life and float…to go where the current would take me.

Yeah, easy for her to say...I am what you might call a die-hard, goal-writing, objective-making planner. To sit and go with the flow was, needless to say, not only completely foreign to me but frightening: nail-biting, sick-to-my-stomach, can't-sleep-at-night scared the royal you-know-what out of me…

But, I digress.

So, there I was in a premature, pseudo-midlife crisis when I stumbled upon the NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. I can’t remember now how I found it. I wish I could. I decided to give writing a novel in thirty days a go. I wrote, read articles from the website and faithfully digested the "pump up" emails. By day 27, I had a sloppy, painfully rough 56,00 word first draft. Hmm, I thought, interesting experience. I promptly put it away, and resumed my primary duties: cleaning house, doing laundry and chauffeuring our three children here, there and everywhere… then something strange and wonderful happened. I woke in the middle of the night longing for the companionship of my characters. I missed my heroine’s sassy repartee and romantic yearnings. I pined for my hero’s charming, debonair, arrogant presence. So I went back to my novel and read it for the first time. Groaning an "ugh" of disgust in various places, then raising my brows in a, "Holy s@&* did that really come out of my brain? It isn’t half bad!" in others, I started editing and adding. I now have a new baby: a 95,000 word historical romance!

If you are floating along but think you might like to give writing a whirl or if yours is a deep-seated, heart-tugging longing, my advice is to just plant your keister and write. Bring your inner tube if you like…

Nike had it right when they said, “Just do it!”.

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