Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Taking My Passion Off the Shelf



The first time I tried to complete National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo – writing 50,000 words in 30 days) was two years ago. Halfheartedly, I tried it again last year. Both times, I got way behind within the first week and realized I had to let it go. November was notoriously busy with schoolwork, completing assignments and studying for tests before finals week came in December. It was too much to keep up with, between school and work and maintaining my sanity.

But I promised myself I would try again when I was done with school.

Well, I’m done with school. I’ve been done for almost six months now. And I have yet to even begin writing my novel. My biggest dream in life is to make a living as a published novelist, but I keep shelving that dream for other pursuits. Things that I need to do, but don’t fill me up with as much passion as writing does.

I know the easy part will be the writing. The hard part will be the editing, the revising, the rejection. I know there’s a part of me that keeps pushing it aside, because rejection is scary and difficult to swallow. When I took a creative writing class my last semester of college, I had to step way out of my comfort zone and read my fiction aloud. There were writers in my class that already seemed to have a firm foundation in their writing. And they were amazing writers. Intimidating. Inspiring.

Another thing holding me back from writing my novel is the novel itself. What do I want to write about? Do I want to write young-adult literature? And, if so, do I want it to be faith-based or not? What about chick-lit? Can I even write in this style, funny and light, yet also cutting to the core of what women suffer with? (I’m currently reading my first Jennifer Weiner novel, Good in Bed. It is phenomenal and a great, great example of “chick lit”. Anyone who looks down on this genre has seriously never read a good chick lit book.) Do I want to write pure romance novels, Christian fiction, or mysteries?

I know I have a story to tell, I just don’t know which one it is. Each genre fills me with a different kind of passion. I know there are incredible stories of struggles and triumph to be told in each one. Which one do I focus on?

November first is coming up much more quickly than I imagined. And I know I have it in me to complete NaNoWriMo. I just need to put my nose to the grindstone, focus on an idea that fills me with the most passion and excitement, and get to planning.

Have you ever completed NaNoWriMo? Are you doing it this year?

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