Perspectives

My NaNoWriMo journal is a sad tale in and of itself:  the excitement, the perseverance in the face of slight concern about word count, the rally, the desperate rationalization, the final disappointment.  It makes me laugh to think about it now.

As I mentioned at the end of my journal, the whole process put some things in perspective for me.

  1. I really did have delusions of grandeur.  I figured I would breeze through the 50,000 mark, and then perhaps I would send my novel off to some publishers and one would eventually love it.  Or I would self-publish it, and a fancy publisher would hear about it from word of mouth and have to have it.  LOL
  2. Writing a novel is extremely time-consuming.  And I’m not sure that this was the point in my life to really be jumping into that ocean.
  3. Over the years I had begun to suspect, and this process may have confirmed, that I am not a really creative person.  My current story was inspired by a movie from 1998 (it gave me the general idea but not the characters or plot).  I think I am really good at taking someone else’s idea and organizing/improving it/expanding it.  I don’t know, though, that I could come up with a story that wasn’t inspired by something else I had seen.
  4. No other idea has haunted me like that one, so if I couldn’t get 50,000 words out of it, then I doubt that I could come up with something next year to make the word count.  I probably will not be doing NaNoWriMo next year.
  5. Now this a little big bigger thing that I realized, why I write:

Writing is something I have always had an interest in.  In my valedictorian speech from high school I remember saying that I hoped to write a novel some day.  I don’t remember if I used the word “published”, but I am sure that I meant the word published.  At that point I had been writing “stories” for years, but they were mostly long rambling things about me and my friends, except we all had sassy pseudonyms.  Back then I wrote to entertain my friends and deal with teenage angst and/or get a grade.

In college, I took some creative writing courses to fulfill my requirements as an English minor.  Looking back I don’t think I learned a damn thing about writing in those classes, nothing like what I learned from reading Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.  My stories had a little more focus, but they had no real over-arching theme.  They were really just empty plot.  Back then I wrote to impress my friends and deal with college relationship angst and/or get a grade.

For the past 12 years, since I graduated from college, I started stories from time to time, but I never finished them.  Some of my ideas for my current story have been fermenting, like I said, since 1998.  NaNoWriMo kind of gave me a real reasons to write beyond just  a vague desire.  It gave me a goal of 50,000 words; a goal which I failed to reach.  And maybe I failed to reach it because I was writing for the wrong reasons.  Maybe I wasn’t writing what I was supposed to be writing, and I was writing just to serve myself.

I write my blog mostly to serve myself, too.  It’s really a journal of my thoughts/reflections/goings on that I have decided to make public.  It’s also a hobby, one that I don’t want to feel tied to every single day like popular bloggers are.  As a result I rarely ever look at my blog stats.  I really don’t care how many people are regularly reading my blog or how popular/unpopular it is.

However, I said “mostly to serve myself”.  I also hope that something I write might help one person see things in a different (and what I think is better) way or just help them period.

But I was writing my novel completely just to serve myself.  Even though it had some religious over-tones, I didn’t really think that it would help anyone solve their own moral quandaries or teach them much more about faith.  I was writing with a secret dream of being famous, and maybe a little rich.  LOL

My priest gave an interesting homily the second Sunday of Advent in which he noted that fame does not make a person great.  A person becomes great by serving something bigger that himself, by serving God.  The next time I write something I hope that I am writing something that might help people, that will allow me to serve others more than myself.

This has got me thinking that maybe novels aren’t really what I should be doing.  I’m not saying that other people can’t serve a high purpose by writing novels.  Sometimes people just need good entertainment.  I’m not sure, though, that one of my strengths is being entertaining (unless its the entertainment that being an unconscious idiot can provide).  So, maybe I should focus my time and energy and desire to write in a different direction other than fiction.

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One Comment on “Perspectives”

  1. Kelly Says:

    If this were a novel, then the next blog post would reveal how you finally realized what your big calling in life was!


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