There is nothing like a massive wildfire in your county that killed many and displaced thousands more, many of whom you know, to make you take stock of your life. All those things that you plan to get around to someday take on new importance. If you aren’t going to do them now, when are you planning to get around to them?
Take writing, for example. This is my “writer’s blog”. That’s in quotes because, in reality, I rarely write. I’m running a business, maintaining property, caring for horses and cats. I have a life, damn it. I love to write but it seems like a frivolous luxury compared to the other things that need to be done.
Truth be told, though, I do have time to write. But every time I think about it, I get the disheartening feeling that nobody really wants to read what I would be writing. I don’t tend to delve into the deep, dark thoughts. I’ve had a shocking lack of angst and torment in my life, so there is very little fodder for an earth-shattering exposé, or words of wisdom that might help someone through their darkest hour. My non-fiction writing has leaned toward human interest, and my fiction writing toward light romance.
But people do write about this stuff, many of them quite successfully. So I really need to get something down. I’ve heard success defined as a series of small, daily actions and decisions that move you in the right direction, one foot in front of the other.
You need to pay attention to what shows up. A friend who knows of my writer-ly ambitions mentioned that someone she knows is a member of our local writer’s group. Yeah, but, I don’t really write anything… Nevertheless, I looked them up online. Wouldn’t you know it, they meet on Sundays. I go riding on Sundays with a friend. So that’s out. Now wait a minute, is it really? I don’t go riding EVERY Sunday. I don’t need to attend every meeting. I could just join the group and see what happens. Upon further browsing of the website, I stumbled on their October newsletter, which had an article on NaNoWriMo. I keep getting emails about this from Writer’s Digest and have been scratching my head about it but haven’t bothered to find out what the heck it is.
Now I have looked it up, and it is National Novel Writing Month. This is a non-profit group that sponsors a project that takes place every November, where writers are challenged to write a novel in a month. You can’t start before November 1, and you should have written 50,000 words by the end of the month. Now that is ambitious—1,667 words a day, and I have probably averaged less than 5 words a day (that would be zero words a day if you are looking at my actual novel writing efforts). But I have signed up. And with this blog post, I have formally announced my intentions to the world (or at least to the maybe 3 people who will actually read this). So with the words of Yoda in my head (“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”) I enter the starting gate, where I will hang out for the next 10 days. Then on November 1, the starting gun will go off, and the race will be on. Wish me luck!