A lot has happened to me these past few months and, for the most part, it felt like I was walking on air.
The thing is, I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, eager to follow in the rather accomplished footsteps of my Dad. Once I was in high school and I had a keyboard of my own, I started taking it more seriously. It became a form of expression instead of the desire to emulate.
There were these characters living in my head and I needed a way to express them. Drawing was not capable of the things I had in mind, so I began writing. It was the natural extension. However, for all my enthusiasm, I could never finish anything. Ever.
Years passed and my ideas grew, but still nothing definite settled on the page. I began collecting dozens and dozens of ‘first pages’ for the same tired old stories and very rarely did I make it past even ten thousand words; it was a real mess. As experience proved, I simply lacked the confidence and the stamina to keep going. At some point I would look back over what I had written and sigh; it just wasn’t good enough. None of it could suit the expectations for the ideas running through my head.
Even when I began a creative writing course in college, I could not finish much more than a few short stories and poems. Regardless, something did begin to change. For the first time in my life, I sat down and made it past the first few pages of a novel. In fact, I made it past the first few chapters. I stopped with nearly a quarter of the way left to go, but not from lack of stamina. There were major structural problems; namely a side-character-slash-villain who had decided he wanted to become the main character. Le sigh… back to the drawing board then…
I had a rather stagnant period after that. There was more planning, but no real writing. I just couldn’t get it right.
Then the blessed month of November came around: NaNoWriMo. For those unaware of what that is, National Novel Writing Month is a yearly event in which people from all around the world throw themselves into the challenge of writing a fifty thousand word novel in just thirty days.
I wanted to do this. I had missed it the year before, and I was determined not to miss again. A wonderful story had cropped up, featuring the rebel character who had ruined my last novel. I couldn’t stay mad at him though. How could I? Here was something ten times better than my last attempt.
So I started writing, and for the first time in my life, I actually accomplished what I had set out to do in my writing. I may not have finished an entire novel, but I wrote fifty thousand words and that gave me the confidence to know that I could do it again.
Admittedly, I still haven’t finished that novel, but there are more important things than getting a manuscript banged out; like being satisfied with the finished project. It may not be done, but it’s not dead either.
I tried to continue with it through December, but by the time I reached January, I realized that I’d shoved too much in and ended up accomplishing nothing in the process. So I forced myself to stop and look at it again. I had two good, solid ideas in there; both too big to compete with each other in the confines of a single book.
So, I made a frightening decision; I was going to break this thing in two. I spent two days fretting over this, wondering if I was making the right decision. After all, that’s nearly eighty thousand words that will likely never see the light of day. It took me a while, but I know now that it was the right decision.
I spent the rest of January outlining my new project, complete with brand new title: The Traitor’s Son. Early last week I finally finished it, and not only is it complete, but I’m excited by the adventure awaiting me. I just look over my corkboard, filled with all the delicious plot points I’m going to discover, and I can not wait to get started. This is the start of something wonderful.