Writing for me is a way of life. It's sanity. It's a dream. It's a goal. It's a horrible frightening nightmare.
I have spent more than 20 years playing the what if game with writing. Maybe I can, maybe I can't. Maybe I have it, maybe I don't.
November 2010 was a little bit of a push comes to shove kind of moment for me. I'd finally gotten tired of being a dreamer wondering if I could do something or not and took the NaNoWriMo write a short novel in a month challenge.
It's scary as hell to me to say it really wasn't all that hard to write a complete draft of a novel in a month. I gave my characters life, wrote a detailed outline and put letters to screen, day after day until the numbers were in and the time was up.
Just like that. Step after step, day after day, word by word and then it was done.
This month I have gotten serious about doing the revisions, rewrites and edits that come after a draft. It's not my favorite part, but it's just the next step in the process.
It led me to a new experience yesterday though. I was waiting for my kids to finish their sports and working on the book. I read through a part that I honestly don't remember writing. I had a moment. A strange odd moment that I can hardly explain for you.
My own writing moved me. My own words, my created story of imaginary people, brought tears to my eyes and I reeled for just a moment thinking to myself, this is good, really good. If I hadn't been in a room full of people, I probably would have been a blubbering fool.
It's hard to explain unless you really know me well and know how truly little I think of my own words and stories. To have had a single moment in time, reading my own writing and thinking it was good, well, it was a watershed of sorts.
There is land marking coming in my days ahead. A sweet pain and a permanent marker.
But back to the story. Late last night, after a glass or two of my favorite wine, I got brave and read the passage to my two closest loves and tried to make them see or feel my moment. They did their best and sort of got it as much as anyone outside of myself could have.
I've never read my stuff out loud to anyone. Ever.
And they thought it was good. It made my heart soar for the moment that I let myself believe them.
So forward on to a new day, kissed in sunlight and weekend glory. In my mind I fool around with whether or not to share my moment with my words with the greater world outside myself and I think, no, no, it's my moment. A heart moment meant for me.
But then, in my inbox, I get a challenge. A challenge that is big and bold and frankly scares the life right out of me.
This part, my friends will sound insanely silly, and is almost impossible for me to explain to you. It is scary because it is a money contest. There is a huge dollar prize tied to it, granted it's just for the winner and the runners up, but don't you always shoot to win when you enter a competition? The scare comes in with the cash.
Up till now, even with the completion of the NaNoWriMo in 2010, it has been fun and games and fantasy and day dreams. Actual cash paid for my writing gives it a new weight that it hasn't worn before. It places all my hours spent in front of screen, fingers tapping and eyes staring out the window into a different category. It means I can flip up my finger at all those people who always said, you'll never be...
It means dreams can be attained. It means all the things I say to everyone else are really real. It means I haven't wasted a lifetime of hours dreaming a fantasy. How could this be?
And back to the land marking in my life. I pierce things to landmark my life. Each one has a story. I am going again. It's time. I am marking My November. I gave Little One up because it was the right thing to do. I walked away from a car crash without a mark or bruise when it could have been a killer. I wrote my first complete novel. I am living on the edge of 39/40. Amazing people have come into my life or returned to it and somehow helped me to be.
My life carries with it right now an intensity, a fierceness, a rhythm, a heartbeat, like nothing it had before and I like it, my friends, I like it. There is something so alive in the pursuing that it is consuming in a way I'm loving.
And so soon, I will landmark myself again. I will choose to mark myself forever in my own way with the moments that mark me. And I will send my words, my imaginary people and their lives out into the world for judgement.