Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Truth or Fiction

For as long as I can remember I have always been a writer. That's just what I've always known how to do; put words together on paper or on a computer screen to form sentences that mean something. They have been known to draw people in, make them think and laugh and cry and feel. Works of fiction that have been bred from real life experience or from fantasy. I have started a lot of stories and never finished. I have finished a lot of stories before they even began. I have written poems that have taken pieces of my soul and put them on sorted display for all the world to see. But every day I live my life, it always feels like my biggest story yet; every day is a new page, a new chapter, a new storyline. My life might just turn out to be one giant work of fiction.

Recently, I became involved with working on a piece for National Novel Writing Month. (, for those that are unfamiliar.) The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1st and November 30th. As of today, November 17, I am currently hovering around 22,107 words. This is probably the most I have ever written in my entire life of one consistent piece. Now, they tell you as part of the "contest" that it's only the word count that matters, but to me, it's so much more than that. It's proving to myself once and for all that I really do have what it takes to be a writer. All the years of criticizing myself, of worrying, of losing faith and giving up on story lines because I don't know how to flesh out my characters or come up with decent plots or structure; of self-loathing because everyone else's work I read is so much better than mine; of thinking that everyone write's so much better, thinks so much better, is such a better writer - that I'm not good enough to compete with them. All that is banished this month.

I am treading water and keeping my head above the surface with this story. I am confident that it is meaningful and readable and likable. It is from my heart and the depths of my soul. I am putting little pieces of myself and my life throughout these pages. My real experiences and my fantasies, just as before, and I am making them work. I am seeing things come to life. I find myself stopping and going back and adding more and figuring out how I can make things better, more interesting, more exciting, more fleshed out. I wake up in the middle of the night and jot story ideas into my phone. I sneak in chances to write between things I am doing at work. I am finding my footing and finding my voice - finally. And it feels absolutely liberating.

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