I’m thinking about how easy it is to get distracted from a project, to lose the perspective that the commitment is worthwhile. There are certainly enough events going on in the world today to knock me off the singleness of mind I need to polish my NaNoWriMo novel and get queries out there.
But if the news ribbon wasn’t buzzing with the stuff leading up to a classic dystopian future previously only caught in the imaginations of great writers, I would still have plenty to be distracted by.
I’m not talking about the usual stuff; is everyone in my life happy? Can I stand another day of my job? Will we figure out how to get a new shower installed? It’s the philosophical spears that slice through my brain.
Did I miss my life calling thirty years ago? Have I changed at all or am I getting used to my mediocrity and it doesn’t feel uncomfortable anymore? What will I do with the perceived time I have left? Will my time be up tomorrow?
In light of all that, how can sitting in my closet editing and re-editing a novel, planning blog posts and tweaking a website be meaningful?
I’ve been down this path before. I’ve set aside projects. I’ve ‘lost interest’ which just means I’ve allowed my interest to evaporate into the air of life. Months, no actually years later, I’ve pulled out projects and I’ve found oxygen in my mind setting it on fire with a ‘whoop’ of re-connection, followed by thoughts of regret.
What am I saying in all this? Press on. Fight for what you’re working on. Don’t give it up too easily. Don’t give it up even if it is slipping away with the winds of conflict, uncertainty, and troubles. It’s like the lottery, you’ve got to be in it to win it. (This is not an endorsement to throw your hard earned money away on the very unlikely chance that you’ll hit it big and retire in joy and happiness.)
Write on. I know there are some famous authors out there just waiting to hit the bestseller list. Let me know when it’s you!
Tear the complaint apart,
Like junk mail.
Before it breaths life.
Whips up substance,
into choking dust,
That creeps into peace.
Better to be,
I wrote my first novel in 7th grade history class. Every day, forty minutes of scribbling words on loose leaf paper right under the teacher’s nose. I didn’t do it rebelliously. I was an instant addict. I could not stop writing. I’m not sure how I got started, maybe English class. The book was titled “Dream Boy”. That should tell you something about the content. My older sisters found out about it and that was the end of my anonymity. They laughed and laughed as they read it. But the biggest laugh of all was how it ended, Robby, and Marla kiss under the ‘aura borealis’. That ultimate goal (and only plot point) in my thirteen your old mind was the pinnacle of life. Aura borealis are lights in the night sky that streak, and flash colors typically only happening in Northern locations like Alaska. The setting was not Alaska. It was New Jersey. But once when my family was driving through New York, my dad pulled over the car because he saw aura borealis. My parents were so excited. I remember staring and seeing white streaks that to me looked like clouds or just stars. Maybe they were the real deal, maybe not but the idea of it stayed in my head and seemed like the perfect romantic end to a boy meets girl story. It was the perfect sister tease, that much is true.
What is my point here? My writing started with writing. I have friends who say they want to write a book, but they don’t know where to begin. I tell them to think up a character, a situation that character is in and what he/she is going to do about it then start putting it down on paper (maybe not during a class). Write. It doesn’t have to be good. It could be pages and pages of scenes that overflow from your imagination. Whatever it is, it can be called a beginning. Write on!
Woke up in the new year, From a sound sleep,
To the pop of fireworks,
Thought something was hitting the window.
It’s a new year on the calendar,
I want to do better in this current
12 month period.
Just not sure what
That looks like!
Not better at what I do,
Better at who I am,
But it’s a moving target,
And I feel like I’m missing the point,
Shooting arrows aimlessly.
Writing note- introspection and journaling can lead to great writing. I entered a contest a few months ago with a short story birthed from a few thoughts I jotted down and turned into a character’s situation. Winners will be announced soon. I’m not terribly hopeful but it’s a good story. I’ll post one day and see if you all agree. Maybe in my newsletter coming soon!
Happy 2021 may it be fruitful in all that is good and halt all that is bad.