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Monday
Oct082012

If Only I Were Rachel Berry

Raise your hand if the tunnel-vision focus of the one-and-only Rachel Berry makes you a bit envious.  Guilty here!

Sometimes I wish that, like Rachel, I had a clear vision of the dream of my life.  One thing.  One focus.  One dream that was guaranteed to make me happy in the end.

My problem?  I have too many dreams...which leaves me feeling relating to this statement more than I'd like to admit..."Jack of all trades, master of none."

I've shared before that this blog happens to be my tiny slice of the American Dream, but today I've decided to let you in on a little secret dream I've been tossing around in my mind for the past few years. 

No dancing around it...here it is in all it's glory...for better or worse...I want to write a novel...

There.  I said it. Consider me outed, and please don't laugh.  Sure, I've written a blog post, or two--but let me be clear--writing a novel is as far out of my character as anything in the world could possibly be.  In fact, I probably could count the number of novels I've actually read on my fingers, and considering three of them all fall within the Twighlight series, that makes it even worse.

But...here's the deal...

Two years ago, Mark and I watched a show on NOVA (because we're nerds like that) featuring Dr. Michio Kaku and his insights on the future of civilizations.  His theories peeked the curiosity of both Mark and myself, and sparked a conversation that ultimately inspired an idea for an imaginative story about the possibilities that exist within this universe.

Here's what's weird...you may have noticed that I mentioned I watched this show and had this conversation with Mark two years ago.  Yep...back in 2010.

At first, the story was just a concept of theory -- a, "what if?" play-by-play that bounced around in my head -- but eventually, it gave birth to characters that seemed so real that I felt like I should have their cell phone numbers in my contacts list.  Seriously, my characters are in my thoughts so frequently that they're practically family!

Time and time again I'd find myself staring at my computer screen trying to describe the scenes I saw so clearly in my mind...but time and time again, I left my writing session with an empty page staring back at me.  It was so overwhelming to be responsible for bringing to life people, places, things, events, dreams, fears, and EVERYTHING that existed in the character's world -- and I had all but given up on the idea that telling the story would ever be possible.

But, a few weeks ago, after having yet another dream of a scene between the two main characters, I woke up feeling frustrated.  I wondered why the story consumed so much of my mind if I wasn't capable of writing it.

It really bothered me...and so, I sat down and wrote the scene that had been playing through my mind the night before.  I stopped worrying about the details, and getting everything perfect on my very first try.  Instead, I just focused on writing down what was in my mind...even if that meant having sentences that went something like this...

And then {this} happened.

It's crazy how a little change of attitude makes all of the difference sometimes.  Words that had been out of my grasp for two long years were suddenly flowing to the keyboard...and now, here I am, two weeks in with 20 pages and 8,000+ words to show for it.

Sure, 20 pages is not that much...and 8,000 words is just breaking the surface, but I just can't believe that I've actually got a tangible document to start the process!

I'm not going to pretend that my work right now is genius (which is why I'm not ready to release any snippets of it quite yet), so for now I'll just make due with the title, "amateur author," just like I've proudly worn the title of, "amateur blogger," for the past year-and-a-half.  I'll wear it with pride, and like everything else, I'm excited to explore this new-found interest.

The only down-side?

I only have some many words to give -- meaning -- I've found yet another thing to compete for my attention, creativity, thoughts, time and energy.  It's an endless battle, but I've got some ideas to hopefully help me find some life-balance while pursuing all of my American dreams.

Alright, I've shared my aspirations with you...now it's your turn!  What Rachel Berry-ish dreams do you have for your future?  Are they competing for your attention, or are you honed in on one?  I want to see how many stars we've got out there!

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Reader Comments (3)

Hola! I don't know who Rachel Berry is. That's okay. I don't need to know who she is in order to know that you've got an itch and you have to scratch it!

If you just continue to put one word in front of the other and the other and the other... You WILL write that novel.

Don't worry about it being perfect. Remember in high school how you used to start out writing in a frenzy when you had an essay to do the next day (!), and then would polish it up a little later on, but usually ended up keeping most of that initial stuff you wrote down, because it was good - it was pure - it was honest! And you'd flesh it out and correct grammar later.

Doing a blog is great exercise and, really, I don't give a hoot these days if I offend someone or not, I just write from my gut. If you're happy with it, it's good! Don't second guess your instincts. That is probably the hardest lesson for a writer to learn.

Those dreams are telling you something. Listen to them; be inspired by them, write as much down as you can remember the second you wake up (in the old days I kept pad and paper by the bed and wrote some really spooky stuff I never published, but it was like "training!")

Writing is an avocation. It's a form of the ancient tradition of the keeper of traditions, or the story-teller in later Celtic tradition. Some of us are just born with the need to try it, to do it; some people would never understand that in a kazillion years. I don't know if it's passed along family lines -- maybe it is. Maybe not. In the end, really, does it make any difference? Maybe not, but if you know of others of your ancestors who also had The Writing, you may feel a settling within you.

Being able to put down those words, one after the other, in a way that appeals to an audience, it's an awesome thing. It's powerful, it's like soma! Please continue along your path. There is so much to gain in personal growth and spiritual satisfaction. What's not to try for?

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Follow your dreams!
I heard that November is National Novel Writing Month: http://www.nanowrimo.org/
I have a friend who attends a local monthly gathering of like-minded folks who support each other in their writing.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNichole

Thanks you guys!

Jan, you are so right and inspirational. Sometimes it feels like you're getting nowhere, but like you said--one word at a time--and before you know it you're reading back through your story. That's how it felt when I finally found the words. It was like a rush from all of the times before that I couldn't find them. I felt bad about not mastering the art of writing for the book and getting blog posts up too, but I just felt that I needed to seize the inspiration that I had while I had it. Now it seems I'm in another phase of writer's block, but that's okay because I know it will come in another wave down the road. It's also interesting that you mention ancestry, because in a way, my main character reminds me a lot of my grandmother. I picture her like my grandmother might have been when she was younger. You've given me the idea to read through my grandmothers biography (that she wrote by hand a year before she died) to possibly gain more inspiration for scenes. Much thanks!

Nichole, it's funny that you mention nanowrimo because that is how I remember how many years it has been since the idea popped into my head. A coworker of mine also wants to write a novel and he wanted me to do namowrimo with him back in 2010. I was so intimidated by the thought of it that I chickened out. "Next year," I said (but obviously that didn't happen either). Haha! I'm definitely going to jump in this year. Even if I don't follow the rules (I guess technically you're not supposed to even start writing your novel until Nov. 1, whoops!) the forums that they have in there will probably help me out a lot with developing everything.

You both make my day! Thanks for letting me be a part of your day!

xo, Kelli

October 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterAHPCH

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