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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Getting Psyched

This morning I spent some time reading some helpful links and watching some writing-related videos in preparation for my second attempt at completing NaNoWriMo.  During the entire month of November writers, novice and published, will embark on the quick journey to creating a 50,000 word novel during National Novel Writing Month.  Last year I got as far as signing up and writing the title of my novel.

This year I plan to get a little farther.  Perhaps, I may even make the goal.  This averages to about 1,667 words per day.  Innocently, I thought I could just free-form and write what came naturally during those 30 days.  But, come to find out, people (writers) actually will plan the story!  They may even use huge, intimidating white boards with many ideas for plot and characters scribbled in each corner.  Some writers will use index cards, one for each day of the month, as an outline to their story development.  Even the well-organized writer will have a calendar that will keep them on track to when they should be finishing the beginning of the story, deep in crisis-mode, and reaching the climax.  All of this planning is a little intimidating.

Thoughts are already surfacing like, "What if my idea is not good enough?" or "Do I even know what the fuck I'm doing?" and the worst, "I'm not a writer, am I?".  I hate that destructive self-talk.  It's part of the reason why I never seem to accomplish my goals.  Goals that have been lingering on my list for years.  But, I've got to step away from that negative thinking.

There are writers out there that appeal to everyone, from all walks of life.  Some writers soar with their literary finesse.  Some authors get published because of their media presence.  Some people become authors just by luck.  Not all writers have a degree in English literature.  Some writers never went to university or maybe, barely, got their high school diploma.  Some of the best writers have worked at their craft for years and sent out many a manuscript only to receive countless rejections.  But, they kept at it.  Bottom line is you may not be the best wordsmith or you may struggle to execute your ideas.  Writing comes from the heart and is open to every single person.

There is an audience for every word.  So, you've proclaimed to be a writer.  I have too.  Join me for the month of November and participate in NaNoWriMo.  You never know unless you try!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Imparting Wisdom

At some point in your adult life, if you have children, you will realize that the student (your child) has become the teacher.  This switching of roles thus makes you (at one time the in-charge, all-knowing parent), the student.  It is a hard pill to swallow.  But, it is a necessary remedy for wondering how effective you are in your parenting role.

As parents we inevitably will ask ourselves, "Are all the lessons and advice I am trying to instill in my kids' brain getting through to them?"  Does what I say (and sometimes repeat over and over for years on end) ever register with them?  And, if you are very lucky, you will one day realize that they were listening after all!  It is a fine day when this realization becomes clear.

My eldest son, a sophomore in college, is gracing us with his presence this weekend during his fall break.  And, the funny thing is, he really does think he is doing it for our benefit.  He realizes we miss him.  More importantly, he knows how much he is loved.  But, even better, at the ripe old age of 19, he understands that his tough love and words of wisdom are much-needed.

Being in college is not so much about opening the books and studying your ass off to get a 4.0 grade point average (although I will forever continue to nag him about how important this is and how it should be his first priority).  Getting a higher education, away from home, is more about learning about yourself through the people you meet.  They may be your roommates who come from a different culture or another part of the country.  They may be the cute girl down the hall that you happen to say 'hello' to or hold the door for and befriend unexpectedly.  Inevitably, you will each share a part of yourselves, your upbringing, your childhood 'story'.  You may even realize through all of the sharing of personal experiences that you really have had a blessed life compared to others.

College is an exciting time for discovering who you are and who you want to be in the future. You gain an understanding of how you became the person you are today and more importantly find out what you need to do to become the best and happiest you.  You have the freedom from your families' influence because you've been away from them for a while.  You've stepped away far enough from the situation to see the function (or disfunction) of the relationships around you.

And the best part?  You now have the courage and confidence to speak your mind.  You tell those you love what their shortcomings are and what they need to do to change and be a better person.  This may shock, aggravate, or make the receiver of the message uncomfortable but you are so cocky you really don't give a shit.  And the best part?  You are right on the mark.  Yes, you may be a little direct and abrasive but your candor alone reveals just how much you love those around you.  You are willing to be upfront and honest because the people you love deserve to know what you think.

And if you are REALLY loved?  They will ask you your opinion and thank you for imparting your wisdom!