Why do I write?
“You don’t write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’ve heard many writers say there was a pivotal moment in their lives that marked the beginning of their writing career. I know that was the case for me. That joyful (not to mention traumatic) moment occurred on my 50th birthday. My ever-loving husband, Steve, surprised me with a weekend at the Ritz Carlton (yes, I can hear some of you sigh, he is a wonderful husband and I am very blessed!) After the glow from the spa facial wore off, (a facial “created for those on the go, a refreshing treatment including cleansing, mild exfoliation, a facial massage, and moisture infusion”) real life began again, but the desire had grown and taken hold deep down in my psyche.
Three months later, I heard about the National Novel Writing Month (http://nanowrimo.org), an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place every November. NaNoWriMo challenges its participants to write 50,000 words with the goal of stimulating those creative juices and keeping writers motivated throughout the process. A group of fledgling writers were meeting at a café fifteen miles from my house, and I decided to give it a try. I only made it to 30,000 words, (okay, okay, it was actually 29,000 something, but thirty thousand sounds so much more impressive) but I was hooked.
And thus began my humble writing career.
Did I have any idea what I was doing? Not much, but I could learn. There was one thing I did know. Whatever I write had to be worth reading. It had to have a Christian message of some kind, subtle or broad, whatever the book required. It’s who I am, it’s what I know, but more importantly, there really is a reason I write. Psalm 9 has always meant a great deal to me, and now the first two verses held a brand new meaning.
I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart,
I’m writing the book on your wonders.
I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy;
I’m singing your song, High God.
So, I kept on and told a friend of mine about my desire to write a novel. She had been part of a critique group for many years and she invited me to join. Gracious, did I feel special (and blessed.) We met every two weeks and through lots of listening and offering up a few chapters of my own, I learned so much. My new friends were invaluable in helping me to understand POV, pacing, and characterization. Meeting every two weeks taught me to write at least one chapter in that amount of time so I would have something to read. Plus it was fun, and we often had snacks. Loved those snacks…
Two years later, in 2012, I was done, and goodness, I was proud. I had 110,000 words, all of which I was convinced were “novel of the century” wonderful (not really, but I did think it was darn good.) How many of those original almost 30,000 words were still in the finished product two years later? Not many, but I was on my way. For the rest of the story, go to the next post…