It’s about time I made my way over to this blog and posted an update. After spending two weeks in a frenzy, writing and editing a novella for a writing contest, I felt the need to just…well to just not write. I was spent. There’s no other word to describe it. I had spilled it all out on the page and was exhausted, both mentally and physically. Who would have thought your wrists could ache so much after writing thousands of words a day for ten days straight?LOL. But during my break from writing I was still working. I spent the last several weeks catching up on reading writing magazines, writing books, inspirational books, business how-to’s and, of course, fiction. Lots of fiction. I just can’t read novels when I’m writing.
Here we are almost mid-October and I’m ready to get back to writing. Perfect timing too because one of the most charming group of writers I know is holding another BIAW (Book In a Week) challenge starting on October 31! Spooky fun! And since I have a notebook with some notes for another novel just itching to be written, I’ve decided to plunge back in for the challenge and write it. Of course I’ve learned a few things after completing a novel and novella these last few months. Though I keep a notebook for each novel I write ( I know I’ve shared that in a prior blog), this time around I’m doing a little more ground work. Thanks to writer friend Julie Jarnagin (http://juliejarnagin.com/), I’ve got a plotting worksheet to work with. I’m getting my research done ahead of time so I won’t find myself surfing the net in the middle of what should be my writing time. Yup, I’m excited to get started on a story that I’m targeting for Harlequin’s Love Inspired line. And what luck that Nano is right on the heels of the BIAW.
For writers, Nanowrimo, or National Writing Month, is a great way to get that novel written. Briefly, it’s a challenge to write a 50K novel in 30 days. It’s a ‘take no hostages’ approach to writing that encourages you to get those words written without the ever-present internal editor harping at you. For more about Nano visit http://www.nanowrimo.org/. What I love about Nanowrimo is the camaraderie. There’s nothing like having a little company along with you during a challenge. And for anyone who has always said ‘someday when I have the time I’m going to write a book’ Nano is the kick in the seat of the pants you probably need. Because no one knows what the future holds and someday may never come. What better way to check off that novel-writing goal on your bucket list than joining in with thousands of other people from around the world who want to do the same?
I’ve been taking part in Nano every year since 2005 but only met the 50K goal in 30 days during the 2006 challenge. After that, life just seemed to get in the way and I let my novel fall to the wayside.Then of course there were those people who would say how foolish it was to waste time on a ‘hobby’ that couldn’t possibly lead to a living. It was impossible to get a book published unless you knew someone. What could you possibly write about that someone would pay money to read? A friend recently even said to me that years ago she had loved to write and then realized she needed to do something that she actually could make a living doing.
So I let all those years go by without even blinking when I dropped out of those Nano challenges. It was so much easier to quit and walk away then stay on and push myself to the end. When I would lament here and there to a friend they would nod their head sympathetically and say “Well, it’s no big deal. Not everyone can write a book. There’s nothing wrong with just getting a job like everyone else.” Then last Wednesday, while commiserating with a writer friend about how tough writing fiction can be, I heard about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ passing. Years ago I had printed a copy of his 2005 commencement address to the graduating class at Stanford. I skimmed it then but with his passing pulled it back out and really read it. There are just too many great tidbits to post here but one paragraph summed it all up for me and I share it with you:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
The clock of life is ticking and there’s no time to waste. It’s time to follow your dreams, whatever they may be, and ignore what other people say. Forget about next year or when you retire or when the kids grow up. Don’t settle for less. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. The time is right and the time is now. Do it for Steve Jobs, a man who never let anything or anyone stop him.