Anyone who knows me knows that I am, by nature, a fairly practical person. Sure, I have my crazy moments. I fly off the deep end and can be totally neurotic about some things. But when it comes to the big picture of life, I’m as practical as they come. I went to a good four year college right out of high school, majored in a Business related subject and even worked for a bank for six years. Then I went back to school and got my Master’s degree in Accounting. What is more practical than accounting? It brings to mind adding machines, spreadsheets, and black plastic frame eye glasses. Yes, I know. I love spreadsheets, I have black plastic frame eye glasses and I’m fairly attached to my adding machine. But, do I want that to dictate the rest of my life? The answer is a resounding NO!
I look at people who took chances in their lives and I’m envious. My older brother, for instance, moved out to Seattle without a job or a place to live. A decade later and he’s thriving there. He’s part of something he loves (shameless plug – check out www.cafenordo.com) and he has a good life out there. I, on the other hand, took the practical route and stayed in the area where I grew up, went to school here, and majored in accounting. You can’t get much more practical or safe than that. And, to be honest, I’m not happy with my choices; well, not all of my choices. I do love my husband and I know if I had moved away when I originally thought about it I wouldn’t have met him. So, some good has come from taking the road more traveled.
But, I’m ready for that time of my life to be done; that practical, all planned out time. Unfortunately, I’m so entrenched in it; I don’t know how to make a change any more. I have a house, cars, bills - things that require money and steady income. So, here I am going about my day to day life, not entirely happy and not sure how to fix it. I know what I want to do. I want to write, professionally. I want to be published and I want to be good enough at it that I can make a living. I don’t want to be a millionaire, I’m not looking to be the next big thing in the world of literature, I just want to make enough to be able to quit my day job, so to speak. I want to be successful enough that I can write full-time and live the kind of life I want to live. I hate working in a cubicle and shuttling myself back and forth to work every day like a hamster on a wheel. I want to work from home and surround myself with my characters and my worlds. In my head, saying things like that sounds cheesy and I don’t usually say them to anyone. I don’t want to give people the opportunity to tell me I’m not good enough, that they can’t see my being a writer, or that only a few people make it and I can’t possibly be one of them. People don’t see me as this type of person; they see me as what I currently am.
So, I’m starting to take steps to break out of my practical mold. I’m going to attend the next meeting of a writer’s group in GR. I’m going to meet other writers; quite a few published, and learn everything I can from them so that I can hopefully take a step in that direction. I’ve started following a number of blogs of writers I like, I’ve been reading every piece of advice they give about writing and their processes. I know I have to develop my own process, but I’m feeling so mired and overwhelmed by the thought of writing a whole book that I can’t seem to get going. I have an idea, I’ve been told it’s a great idea. I have the background, I have timelines, I have plot lines and character descriptions…but I can’t seem to get past that. I keep telling myself I need to write a detailed outline because I’ve heard so many people say they can’t write without one. I can’t seem to get past the first chapter in an outline, it seems redundant to me. I’d rather just write.
I have been advised, instructed, really flat out told….just get it down on paper! I know this. Get the ideas out, get the story written; embellishments and corrections come in the editing process. But this is part of the practical side of my nature. If I’m going to write it, I want it to be great the first time through. That’s a lot to ask from a seasoned author, let alone someone who is trying to get through their first book.
So what is the point of this post? I think the point is to tell my practical side to sit down and shut the hell up so I can get this story out on paper. I need to silence my inner critic and not listen to the little voice in my head saying, “You can’t do this, you’re not good enough, you’re not a writer.” I need to tell myself it’s okay to stay up until 2 am writing if I’m in the mood and not worry about the fact that I have to go to work the next day. I need to just get the story down on paper and then worry about fleshing it out. I need to abandon the practical side of me, just for a little while every day, so I can make progress.
My goal for today through Sunday (the next six days) is to write at least 500 words a day (no averaging!). That doesn’t seem a like a lot, but it’s a start. No matter how tired or un-motivated I am, 500 words. So, here we go…