It's November, which means three things to me:
1) Movember, when men stop shaving to raise money for Cancer research. Excellent cause, even better pics in my Facebook feed. Thank you to my friends who sport the stache this month!
2) Thanksgiving. When we get to make all the holiday food we like, spend a day in our house relaxing, and are not required to watch any sporting events.
3) NaNoWriMo. My friend T told me about this last year and this year I intended to try it. I still intend to try it, I shouldn't write in the past tense. I should be present and positive and reaffirm my intention to make this happen. But honesty kicks in, and I have to admit I've written about 300 words and it's November 7th. I do not like Math, and I do not like this math in particular.
I've struggled with writing most of my life. Struggled with it in the fact that I've loved it, craved it, wanted to excel at it, and yet have always felt that I've fallen short. I chose the college I went to because it had a strong Liberal Arts core and offered a Creative Writing major. I didn't expect to graduate with a degree in writing that would guarantee my success as a novelist, but the idea that I could make a living at something I love pulled at me.
It still does years later. I love to read, and I love to discuss what I read. I'm really thankful that Tim and I have similar reading tastes and that we can get hooked on the same books and pick them apart together. Each of us reflecting on different aspects of the same story. It might be what I love most about writing/reading - that twenty people can read the same story and have a unique take away, and that each of those interpretations is not what the author intended.
Writing has not always been that easy. I adore it. I realize now that it's one of my passions and something that I want to dedicate more time and energy too. The trick is, how to do that and be cultivate that passion? I know for me, being self aware of the fact that "I am writing!" "I am speaking!" can get in my way. I can start wondering how people will read my words, how some may think my writing is awful, some may find it boring, rambly, etc. I have to accept that. Everyone has different tastes, and someone's choice in style isn't a reflection on my abilities. I have to remove myself from the story. I have to re-frame how I think about writing and not see it as, "Leila wrote this, and thinks this," but see myself as the translator of someone else's story.
If I hadn't dropped out of college I might not wrestle with writing in the way I do now, because I'd have more practice and more confidence in my abilities. I'm sure I'd also have learned a few tricks about how to get around these stumbling blocks, because I imagine they are quite common. But, I'm also sure I'd still find myself struggling at times, just in different ways. So this month, I sit here attempting to simply write. To remove the self editing and just get the words down. There is always time for revision, for second guessing a name or setting, but just writing for the sake of writing? That needs to be done. Which is why I came here. In an attempt to kindle that fire within that tells me to write, to share my stories I'm starting here, with where I am in this moment. I'm hoping it will be an exercise in focusing, that it will give me the push I need to go into that fiction world a bit more, and translate a story from another world into mine.