Crossroads

Recently I’ve come to a crossroads in my life.  Realizing I am more than half way through my life at 51 and sick to death of living under the crushing weight of fear and uncertainty, I’ve decided to change.  Change how I look at things.  Change how I deal with challenges.

No longer will I over-analyze every decision I need to make.  My new motto is:  It is what it is.  Life is too short and way too complicated to live in the what-ifs.  Sure, there are going to be times I’ll still resort to old habits, but I can stop and think without belittling myself for giving in to fear.  We are all guilty of that, I believe, the giving in to fear.  No one wants to fail.  No one wants that to be their legacy.  No one wants mourners at their funeral to say, “What a nice guy he was, but what a failure!”

I need to suck it up and understand that failure is achieved only when we stop trying.  In all areas of my life I need to apply this concept.  Easily written about but not so easy to implement.  So, with a deep, steadying breath, I forge ahead.  There are so many things I want to do.  I’ll try to do them, and some I won’t be very good at(like Zumba), others I will probably not waste too much time over(like trying to learn a foreign language at this stage in my life), and others I’ll love(like writing for a living).

How about you?  What are your goals or dreams?

November is Almost Here!

Okay, just to let you all know that yesterday I signed up to compete(well, against myself) in writing a 50,000 word rough-draft novel in just 30 days. NANOWRIMO will be my very first attempt at this. A definite challenge for a writer who has difficulty finding time to write. But I figured I’d challenge myself, and this would definitely be a challenge. A challenge to my excuses, and a challenge to my imagination, and a challenge to my will-power. Can I do this? Will I make the deadline? What am I to write about? Do I go with a novel idea already partially started or with a completely new idea?

Any encouragement would be greatly appreciated. That extra push is always a great motivator. Has anyone done this challenge already? Is anyone out there attempting this one this year, like I am?

The last few days I am going through the Thesaurus and jotting down words to describe walking. Yes, walking. Why? I am trying to be inventive in describing how people in my fiction move. And there a many ways to describe: Stroll, stride, meander, amble…okay, I don’t want to bore anyone. I find it lots of fun, and entertaining, to begin the editing process. I am excited to finish up a piece and getting the chance to submit it. I know that this fear of rejection must be wadded up like used tissue(ick) and tossed into the trash. As writers, we know that fear can suck the creativity right out from underneath us. We cannot let that happen to us. We have a dream we must cling to. Never release it because of fear. Don’t allow anyone else to discourage you either. Do your best and always, always believe in yourself and your abilities. Write on, my fellow creative types. Until next time.

A Literary Genius in the Making? More Than Likely Not.

Okay, I’m no literary genius. On one hand, I know that I am not in the same vein as Poe, Steinbeck, or even Hemingway. But on the other hand, I do most certainly believe that I was born with the gene for writing creatively. Nope, can’t draw, paint, sing, or sculpt to save my life, but I do have that special knack for making stuff up. My poor mind is in a constant state of creating: characters, plot lines, beginnings and endings, dialogue, etc. It never ends. I blame this disgruntled brain of mind. But for all it’s worth, I don’t mind all the confusion one iota.

These ideas, they haunt me, but in a Casper-the-friendly-ghost sort of way, not in a Poltergiest sort of way. I have many friends and they all are living in my head! It may be a bit overcrowded in there, but, hey, they haven’t complained as of yet, so who am I to judge? They are never quiet; noisy tenants. But gosh darn it, I love ’em anyway! I get so excited(keep your mind out of the gutter) whenever these thoughts come barreling through and I have no choice but to quick grab a pen and paper and start jotting words down as quickly as they hit me. I have to hurry before these thoughts float away and I’m left with nothing but “damn, that was a good thought; too bad I can’t remember it now!” Hey, give me a break, I’ll be fifty years old this year.

So here I sit, originally, outdoors, my dog at my feet, pen in hand, doing things the old-fashioned way. If I am to get my thoughts down before they melt away like hot breath on cold glass, I have to be quick. Writing it free hand, it comes out so sloppy sometimes. I think it must be my own brand of shorthand. Sometimes I can’t even read what I wrote. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. But write I must. Every writer out there knows the feeling. It is an addiction. A sweet drug that keeps us going day after day. A love of words. A hunger to share what is on our hearts and minds, and of course, in our heads. In our imaginations.

But, alas, the thoughts are slowing down now. My fingers are beginning to get some life and blood flow back in them. Perhaps my friends in my head have decided to retire for the day, perhaps they’re all going off to some party and leaving me behind, tired but sated, for the time being anyway. But I’m not disappointed. At least I know they’ll be back. I am their landlord after all.

My Love Of Words

Okay, I have something to confess:  I like to read the dictionary.  I enjoy finding new words in the English language to add to my writing repertoire(oop, had to spell check that one).  I am a big fan of websites that e-mail you a new word a day.  Love it!  I am always on the hunt to learn new words and what they mean.  My favorite course in school was always English.  Never understood the workings of grammar very well, but I’m still learning.

Okay, I know that one needs to understand the mechanics of said grammar to be an accomplished writer, but again, I’m still learning.  But I’m thankful for the many websites that make learning grammar fun and educational.  I must admit, also, that I love the process of writing itself.  Even if it isn’t creative writing, I like the flow of the pen upon the sheet of paper.  It relaxes me for some reason and I enjoy the feeling

I’ve been creatively writing since the fourth grade.  I remember sharing a poem with my classmates a few years later about being alone on an island and how they laughed at that.  Oh well, so much for sharing one’s work!  Maybe that’s why I still have a difficult time of allowing others to read my short fiction.  I do not want to look the fool.  But deep down I believe that I was born with the gift to write, or at least a strong desire to do so.

I believe that writing creatively saved my life.  By transferring my angst onto paper, it helped protect my sanity and allowed me that small silver thread to grasp on to, just barely.  During those bullied years, suicide was on my mind a lot.  But again, writing saved me from doing something stupid, something permanent.

Seeing the world through a writer’s eyes can be dizzying and terrifying all in the same thought process.  I have such an active imagination that sometimes my own thoughts weird me out.  I can see things in my head as though they were happening like a movie on a screen.  I get that when I read a really good book, like I am currently.  (Plug for Mark Greaney’s The Gray Man series).

It was S.E. Hinton’s “The Outsiders” book that made me want to be a writer.  Her books inspired me and I will always remember what I felt reading those books.  Being taken away from reality into another’s creative thought process was almost like a high for me.  If that makes any sense.  I’ve also been enthralled by To Kill A Mockingbird, and Pearl Buck’s, “The Good Earth”.

Now I am contemplating taking an on-line writing course through the local community college.  I just desire to learn as much as possible about the creative process.  It is like air to me.  It  is what I desire in life:  to be a published writer; to see my name in print.  I don’t need to rake in millions of dollars or have endless fame, I just want to say that I had fulfilled my dreams as a writer.  Publication, and to know that perhaps somewhere out there, I ignited a spark inside someone else soul with a desire to write.