WHAT ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME???
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I’m writing a freaking novel.
No BS, no baloney, I’m doing it. If you should ever wonder why I’m not doing other creative things as often, it’s because I’m doing that. The writing. The novel thing.
And I’m stating it here and now because that seems like the thing to do. Make a public declaration.
Of course, I know what happens when I make public declarations about things. Or rather, I know what doesn’t happen. I’m excellent at making promises and starting projects, and terrible at seeing them through. And I’m almost certain I’ve gone through this exact same spiel numerous times before.
This time I am determined for it to be different.
One of the consequences of the past year has been the realization that I can actually accomplish things and change my life for the better if I will simply get off my butt for a minute, take action, and persevere.
Point of fact: I have been dating someone, steadily, seriously, for five months. He has been such an unexpected source of joy, encouragement, and inspiration for me, and do you know how I met him? Freaking Match.com. No joke, yo. Prior to that, I had never really dated anyone. But at some point in the past year, my fear and pride took a backseat to my desire to make a change in my life, and I found myself taking a risk and doing something I never thought I would have done: online dating. And it took a relatively short amount of time for that risk to yield something really wonderful.
I had a similar experience with my apartment search, when I decided to begin looking in earnest for a new place to live. It was a highly discouraging search at first, with a number of opportunities turning into disappointing dead ends. But at the moment I was ready to say the effort just wasn’t worth it, I kept plugging away, and out of nowhere came the ideal apartment, which I knew was the one for me as soon as I saw it. Despite the fact that it is still severely lacking in furnishings, every once in a while I catch myself smiling involuntarily, because I remember how, despite the time and aggravation it required, I was eventually able to find just what I was looking for. And now, of course, I’m here.
The other night I was having Chinese food at my boyfriend’s, and my end-of-meal fortune cookie told me, “Luck helps those who help themselves.” It’s a trite saying, just the kind you’d expect from your Chinese takeout, but at the same time, it resonates with me. Sometimes good things just happen to people without provocation, but very often they are born of action, of risk and perseverance.
This all brings me back to the novel. The one I’m trying to write? No, the one I am writing. It has been my dream to write a novel since I was a child. The dream has been partially fogged over by the cynicism and self-consciousness that came with adolescence and adulthood, but it has never gone away. Writing always has been and always will be my main passion, the activity that makes me feel most at home, and the goal of writing a novel is one that continues to hover in my mind like the holy grail. Unfortunately, there has always been a certain part of me that assumes simply because I have these feelings, I will succeed in reaching that goal. Somehow I will be able to dream a book into being, because that is my DESTINY. What I failed to acknowledge was that there would still be work involved–lots of work, and risk, and perseverance.
Which is why I’ve never gotten all that far with my writing. When it starts to become too much work, I’m more than likely to jump ship.
So I am revisiting my novel-writing goal once again, only this time, I am doing so while fully acknowledging the “writing” part of that goal. The part that occasionally involves long periods of staring at a blank screen with coffee stains on your jeans and tears rolling down your face. The part that occasionally inspires you to roll around on the floor whining about your broken brain. The part that involves sitting down and typing typing typing and hating what you’re typing then briefly loving it then hating it then getting stuck then typing some more then going back and doing it all over again.
You know, that part.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, not in the least, but I’m saying I’m going to do it. Because gosh darn it, as far as I’m concerned, I’m on a roll with this whole perseverance business!
But maybe I’ll take a nap first.
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