Although I wanted to write a novel for as long as I could remember, I wrote my first one in November 2007. That year was special. My baby had just turned one-year old, and I was at the end of my twenties. I’ve always been a challenge driven person, and with the THIRTIES looming over my shoulder, I was searching for a sign of what to do with my life (because mothering 4 children under 6 and 2 dogs wasn’t enough?). You see? I believe in signs, that if we’re unsure of which way to go, and if we ask for guidance, we’ll get it.
And I did.
Reading my favorite blog, I came across a vague mention to NaNoWriMo, a writing competition that pushed you to write a novel in a month.
Writing a novel?
Sign me up! It was November 6, and when I went to the NaNoWriMo website, I realized I’d lost six precious day to try to achieve this feat! But have I mentioned that I’m very driven, especially by competition (I’m a proud Slytherin after all)?
And then there was the sign… You see? I couldn’t just ask for a sign and then ignore it. Otherwise, how could I expect to get help when I needed it next? Because I knew there would be a next time. Have I mentioned I had four kids under the age of six?
So, with a pounding heart and starry eyes, I opened a new document and poured out my heart and years of assimilated clichés on it. Day by day I wrote just enough to reach my word count. Each day, I was surprised by the words that flowed without effort, and other times, by the words that I wrenched out of my mind and heart after the kids were in bed and my eyes were heavy with exhaustion. When November 30th arrived, I typed the magical words, THE END, just with enough time to validate my word count and get my NaNoWriMo certificate.
Friends, I haven’t stopped writing since. But I wasn’t content only with writing, then I wanted to make my writing better. So I signed up for classes; I found a critique group. I read more voraciously than ever before. I went to conferences where I met amazing friends.
Now that the forties are welcoming me with open arms, I’m grateful for that sign, that little nudge to take the plunge and start writing already.
If you’re waiting for a sign to start writing, or doing the thing you’ve been wanting to do for a long time but you’re not sure if you can, consider these humble words your sign.
Write the story.
Do the thing.
There’s never a perfect time when everything aligns to make things possible. We re-arrange responsibilities and obligations; we put fear and doubts aside, and make things possible even when all the odds are stacked against us.
Whether you’re doing a full NaNo (fifty thousand words) or a modified version, take advantage of the creative energy in the air. Believe me! It’s a real thing. I love the feeling of typing alone in my office in the early morning or the middle of the night, knowing that around the world, thousands of believers in the magic of words and story are doing the same thing.