My dream had always been to write. Not just write, but to write books, stories, like the ones I loved to read. But somehow along the way, I forgot that dream.
I have been reading since as long as I can remember. I've been writing since high school. In college, my first two years, I had no clue what to major in so I bounced from Accounting, to Psychology and finally settled on English with a Writing Concentration. My junior year, I got married. I realized I was a little behind in my credits if I wanted to graduate on time and start contributing to the family finances. I had to take a double load my last year. All upper level English classes. I was reading and writing like a mad woman! At the very least, I had a five page paper due every day. Yay, go me!
I guess I got burned out. Blinded. Lost.
I began to struggle with the questions, "What is my purpose? What am I good at?" I've always said that "I am a jack of all trades, master of none." Over the years I went through spurts of doing a little of this, a little of that, and never really finding my niche. I am pretty OK at quilting. In fact, I've made some pretty good ones if you want to check them out. I've designed web pages on occasion. But, honestly, I haven't updated mine in years. I get on an xBox binge and start playing games and getting into the gaming community. I never really got into anything full time and stuck with it. My interests always go in spurts.
Now that I look back, I think I have been that way all my life. I can remember a time, I think I was 5, when my parents enrolled me in ballet. I attended a few sessions, and when I found out I couldn't wear a tutu I was done. My parents later enrolled me in swimming lessons and I was more interested in playing in the water than learning. When I first got married, I expected a lot of things. I wanted a house, a car, and all the nice things my parents had. Even later when I was all excited to try something new, if I couldn't accomplish it on the first try I became discouraged and gave up. I have a lot of unfinished projects around the house and throughout my life.
I realize now, that I have always wanted the end result before I made the journey. I'm impatient and lose site of the path.
I'm trying to learn (and remind myself). "Writing doesn't work that way."
Last year around this time, I was speaking with an artist friend of mine and remembered my "dream". THAT was my purpose. It HAD to be.
She introduced me to #NaNoWriMo. She told me I could write a book in a month. The whole idea was to "just write". Don't worry about editing. Don't worry about the book. Just write the words. "WOW!" I thought this would be really cool. I signed up for it. I thought I could do this. I thought this was a good step in the right direction, back on track with my dream. But the more I learned about it, the more I thought about writing a novel, well, the more overwhelmed I became. Eventually, I got scared and felt like the failure I always was.
Towards the end of October 2010, I found #PiBoIdMo, hosted by Tara Lazar. #PiBoIdMo is the Picture Book Idea Month, their answer to #NaNoWriMo. Instead of writing 50,000 words on a novel for the entire month of November, you come up with an idea for a Picture Book every day for the month of November. Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, yeah, the ideas were easy to come up with. It got me in the mindset to get back into writing. And I thought, hey, a Picture Book might be a great stepping stone to the ultimate goal. Start small, work my way up.
It got my mind, and my fingers cranking again. In the past year I've written two and a half Picture Books. I've always jumped forward, prematurely as usual, and submitted a few queries, only to be rejected. I'm still plugging away, though, as I have learned that rejection is a part of a writer's life. However, I am now more cautious.
This month, I've really been mulling my idea that has haunted me for years for the novel. I just have little bits. Nothing all encompassing. But I have bits. I've been reading more and more about how to outline and I am still lost. Last week I sat down to do a character worksheet on the main character but realized I have no clue who she is. She keeps changing. Maybe next year I can start that novel. I'm still learning right now. As long as I keep writing, and never give up, never lose site of that dream, I might be able to achieve it.
I am still plugging away at the dream, even a year later, which makes me happy. Yes, there are days that I just want to give up and scream, "I'M NOT GOOD ENOUGH! WHY DO I BOTHER?" But I have to remember that writing is all about writing. I write for me, mostly. It is my therapy session. But sometimes it's just so frustrating when I can't get it all out of my head. Eventually, I will come to the end of the stories, revise and edit. And maybe, just maybe, one day I can share them with everyone. And, maybe you'll like them.
I have to remember my dream.