Saturday, February 23, 2008

Write Now, Don't Wait for Someday

For a long time I found myself saying, "Someday I will write, maybe when things aren't so hectic." It wasn't just me, a lot of aspiring writers feel the urge to write but placate themselves by saying they don't have time or by saying they'll do it someday. I guess you could take it one step further and say that we all do it on some base level. We hang our dreams in our closet and talk about them. It's much easier to hide them away somewhere safe than it is to bring them out and start working to make them happen. What if we fail? What if we use what little free time we have and pour our heart into our dreams to have them shattered?
The funny thing about shattered dreams is that no matter what happens outside of our control, no matter how many rejection letters, no matter how many hurtful comments are made by people we trust, the only hammer that can crush our dreams is our own. When things stand in the way of what we want we have a few choices, we can persevere and temper our determination, making it stronger, we can cringe from the flames and pull our dreams back out of the fire to hide them safely once again, or we can outright give up and never face the idea of entering the flame again.
Honestly, this goes far beyond writing, it can apply to anything. But since this is a creative writing blog we'll hone it in on this particular subject. I've been doing some google searches over the last few days to find similar blogs to this one. I've noticed there are a lot of writers who have blogs out there, it's very refreshing. If you are a writer and don't yet have a blog it's a great way to write without the heavy weight of expectations. I recommend Blogger it's easy to set up and it's free! Anyway, one thing you run into on some of these blogs are the comments that the author would like to one day start writing books. Why one day? Why not start now? Working on a novel, even if you only write 500 words a week, is still much better than just talking about writing a novel. And come on, 500 words isn't that bad. Once you form the habit of sitting down to write I'm sure you could always increase your word count per sitting. Or you could always....

Write a Novel in 30 Days!

I found the National Novel Writing Month website recently and thought this particular answer on their FAQ board worthy of sharing. Check it out, http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/node/402759. The basic premise of the organization is to promote writing. Every year in November people take 30 days and write a novel consisting of at least 50,000 words. They then submit their entry which is word-count verified. It isn't read for content or plot, or theme. I would consider this a very good approach to a "30 day first draft" program, just think of the other writers participating as a huge support group. participation in the forums during the event could be enough to get you to your goal by sharing and receiving words of encouragement. But don't use this as an excuse for not writing now. if you say, "That sounds like just what I need! I'll work on my writing in November!" You've likely already set a bad precedent. In November the song you would sing would likely go something more like this, "This year is just so busy, maybe next November."
The key is using programs like this as a way to enable your writing, not as a way of further putting off your dream. If you are seriously interested in this event then join the site and start participating in forums now. If you need a friend to jump into it with you, send me an email at Brady at HuntingtheMuse dot com. I think it would be great to have someone to do this with, as long as you promise not to flake out on me when the time comes!!!! Haha!
Start working your writing muscles before the big day. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days without any practice is just asking for discouragement. Even if you just write in a journal or on a blog every day you are still writing. Keep at it and build up a habit of meeting a daily deadline. When you start working on other projects make similar goals. You'll know what you're capable of and if you specify a certain word-count per day you'll have a good idea of whether it's reasonable or not.
The most important thing is to not wait for someday. You have something wonderful to share, a story that we've never heard before. If your writing isn't perfect now it won't get any better on its own. It takes practice and dedication. Don't let some people fool you, writing isn't all about being published. I may not be a pro writer, but I have seen my name in print. (I wrote an article for The Hilltop Times.) Writing is about writing. There are some that will tell you that to be a writer someone has to pay you for your work or some publishing company has to publish your novel. That's just garbage. Publishing companies exist today because there is profit to be made. Your novel may be wonderful, a compelling story with complex characters and great theme. But if there is no market for the genre or hybridization you've come up with you won't get published. It isn't necessarily an indicator of your writing ability, but of the current market conditions. It could also be that you have a few more things to learn about writing. Don't let that stand in your way. One thing you can always control is how much knowledge you can acquire. You may not learn the fastest, maybe even slower than most, but nearly all of us have the capability to learn new things. Writers write.

Writing Exercise:
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