Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Had Forgotten My Dream

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.

Over the last year, I've written picture books, poems, and short stories. I do not have any one particular genre I write in. My genres are what strikes me at the moment an idea comes to my mind and fingers. My short stories are sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, dystopia with no hopeful ending, to general. I am horrible at classifying them. And, thus, I have no idea where to submit the ones that I feel are complete. So they sit on my hard drive.

Waiting.

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.


8 comments:

  1. This is touching. I'm so proud of you for finding your dream again and for not giving up. Remember, these blog campaigns and connections you make will just help solidify that goal.
    You can do it - any time you doubt it, just jump on IM and I'll pound it into your head ;)

    Good luck, hon!

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  2. Thanks for sharing. I'm very much like you in my diverse resume and propensity for jumping the gun, and I know it's daunting. All we can do is keep plugging along. :) Let's keep that dream alive!

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  3. Re: Keep plugging"

    The importance of those two words are so huge it's ridiculous.

    Glad you made your back to your dream and encourage you to keep plugging.

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  4. When I read this wonderful post my thought was, "Wow! We are so much alike" .. when it comes to projects unfinished and wanting the end result immediately. No wonder we hit it off, LadyJai. :)

    I don't believe for one minute that you are a failure, you are a creative with many interests and want to see the results sooner than later.

    You have an inner strength that will see you through to that published book, and probably more than one. I'm so proud of you. You WILL do it! I believe in you.

    Keep writing. **hugs**

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  5. Jamie,if this post is any indication of your writing ability, then you are anything but a failure. You're good, never doubt that.
    Unfinished projects? I have a "Bits and Bobs" file on my computer, it contains over eighteen unfinished novels and untold partial short stories. Every writer has them.
    Follow the dream, girl, follow the dream. We are all rooting for you. :)

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  6. I don't think I can add much to the lovely comments you've already had, Jamie, but thank you for sharing that. Keep dreaming that dream, girl, you'll get there one day. :)

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  7. When you tweeted and said that my bio sounded a lot like you, you weren't kidding!

    Reading through your post felt like I was reading my own story. I too have a diverse resume. I think the reason is because I was never fulfilling my passion. I went from one thing to the next looking for something to complete me. I found it when I went back to writing.
    I owe so much to the friend who encouraged me to get back into it. He also told me about NaNoWriMo which I am close to completing!
    I look forward to reading more of your blogs.
    Good luck!

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  8. This is all perfectly normal writer behavior. You're an awesome writer. Have you read Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell? I'm currently reading it, it's great for plotting and character development.

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