Let It Kill You

findwhatyouloveNot writing is killing me. I’ve found what I love and it’s killing me. How are you doing today?

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What’s On My Mind

WordPress asked me today “What’s on your mind?” and encouraged me to write about what I was thinking when I started this blog. Well, I’ve already done that here, here, and here, all in the last three months, so I am just going to let you go ahead and click on those links if you care to know about that.

What’s really on my mind today? The horrible fact that I haven’t really written anything since finishing my NaNoWriMo novel this November.

Yeah. I’m a writer who hasn’t been writing, and I wish someone would kick me into shape and tell me to JUST WRITE!! But I don’t have anyone around to do that for me. I think I need a life coach sometimes, or at least just a writing coach or writing buddy – someone to hold me accountable for a word count and make sure I am still producing fiction even if there isn’t really anything BIG that I am working on at the time.

I created Janie Doh to be a place to spill my guts – whatever is on my mind. I haven’t been doing that though, because if I really did that every day, you would be reading post consisting of:

I’m not writing. I’m not writing. I’m not writing.

And it would be horrible and no one would come back.

But alas, that is the truth of it. I am determined not only to WRITE another novel this year, but to publish one too. That is a big feat, getting something written and published in a year. Four days in and I’m already freaking out that I won’t finish this project on time – freaking out – and I am not even working on anything yet.

The thing is, I just don’t know what I want to write about. I have had a big vampire epic in my head for years, but I am not sure where to begin. It’s a pain in my ass.

In the meantime, I might start posting some fiction here and doing some online writing challenges like I did on my old blog. Hopefully I won’t scare anyone away by turning into a niche writing blogger, but what happens will happen, I suppose.

It’s Not the Critic Who Counts

There are stages to writing a book, and right now I am in the midst of one of the hardest ones. I am in the thinking/planning stage. Not quite to the planning/outlining stage, but in a darker, more muddled place. I’m just thinking, brainstorming, trying to rip characters out of the murky character abyss and breathe life into them in scrawled snippets in notebooks.

It’s a scary, frustrating stage to be in, because when you’re in it you never know whether you are going to come out of it with something alive. There are times when I come out of this stage empty handed and beaten.

This can’t be one of them, because I said I was going to publish my first book in 2014.

The book I haven’t written yet. The book that I’m still just thinking and dreaming about.

daringgreatlybadge1But, I’m doing it. I dedicate time every day to working on this novel to be, and I may go so far as to create a schedule for myself – set deadlines – get even more serious.

Because I’m doing it.

“It’s not the critic who counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled. Credit belongs to the man who really was in the arena, his face marred by dust, sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs to come short and short again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. It is the man who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasm and knows the great devotion, who spends himself on a worthy cause, who at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement. And, who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

Theodore Roosevelt was an amazing man and a great president, and this quote has been special to me for years before Brene Brown wrote the first self-help book that I paid actual money to read.

I read Daring Greatly earlier this year, ordered it last winter when I was in a dark, cold place, and here we are in that time again and I’m thinking now of pulling it off the shelf, thinking of it now because of today’s #Reverb13 prompt: What challenges lie ahead in 2014? How might you meet them boldly?

Well, I’m going to write this book. That’s a challenge, because I want to write my big epic vampire saga, and let’s just say I’m having a little trouble bringing it all together.

Hard work isn’t going to stop me. Naysayers, and there are so many of them when you are trying to write a book, are not going to stop me. I am going to be in the arena with words, and I’m going to keep trying every day to meet my own goals, and that’s doing it boldly.

On My Sixth NaNoWriMo Win

I mentioned before that I am a writer, and every year I participate in NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month has become very special to me over the last eight years I have been participating, and this year marks my sixth “win” of reaching 50,000 words in 30 days.

I get pumped for NaNoWriMo. I look forward to it every year and get giddy with nervousness and excitement in the week or so before the first of November rolls around, and at midnight on Halloween I begin writing. It’s a ritual that I stick to because I am convinced that it has something to do with winning – that commitment to stay up late and start my book at 12:01am. Like I mean it.

Let me tell you, writing a book in a month isn’t easy. A lot of people think I make it look easy, because I often finish quite early (last year on the 26th, this year on the 24th.) I’m going to challenge myself next year to finish in under 20 days. It keeps things exciting for me, to challenge myself.

So I’m asked by #Reverb13 today, who inspired you this year?

Inspiration is a finicky, fickle little bitch, you know? It doesn’t always come when you need it, it often lets you down.

When you do things like write books for fun, because you love it, you can’t wait for inspiration to come. You have to just get your butt in the chair, buckle down, and write.

To think that I could do this – that I could write books over and over again, year after year, is totally awesome to me. It’s what I want to do with my life, it’s how I want to make a living if I can somehow, someday find the right story to publish. I wrote two books this year – one last month and one in July for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I did it against all odds.

I did it even though the entire time the demons in my head were telling me I couldn’t. I did it last month even though I was working five days a week and taking care of my daughter alone. I did it even though thousands of others couldn’t.

I did it. For this sixth time.

I inspired myself this year.

I Am A Writer

Today’s Reverb13 prompt is:

What was the greatest risk you took in 2013? What was the outcome?

I had to do some soul searching for this one. There were a few things I’ve done this year that came to mind, but the more I thought about them, the harder it was for me to determine whether they were risky acts or brave acts, and brave won out in most of them.

The truth is, I’m not a risk taker. As much as I try to seize the day, I also try to fly under the radar, avoid confrontation, and stay safe in my little world.

So I struggled with this one, and I kept asking myself, what was the thing I did that made my heart beat the fastest, what was the thing I did that I almost didn’t do because I was afraid of failing?

Well, it might not seem like much to you, but a few months ago I changed my “About” blurb on my personal Facebook page to say:

I am a writer, and my first book will be finished in 2014.

Whew. I still need to take a breath after reading the words I professed so boldly, so boldly and OPENLY, to so many people.

You see, I write every day. Usually at least one blog post, and always some fiction. I participate in some online writing challenges like Trifecta and Studio 30+, and I also write novels.

Lots of novels.

I just won my sixth NaNoWriMo, and all told I have eleven manuscripts sitting on a shelf in my trailer, just collecting dust and mocking me, because I’ve never been brave enough to put any of them out into the world.

The truth is, I don’t know what book I’m going to publish. I don’t know whether I’ve even written it yet. But I do know that when I choose to define myself, I say, I am a writer, and the truth of it shakes down my bones.

I risk letting myself down. I risk letting my readers down. I risk failing at the most important goal I have ever set for myself. I risk losing my dream of becoming a published author. I risk not making my dream come true.

We’ll see what 2014 brings. I’m looking forward to it more each day.