Well, we are 7 days into NaNoWriMo, and I am finding that I have put up lots of roadblocks to achieving my goals. This is nothing new. I do this to myself on a regular basis, procrastinating, avoiding the difficult things in life. However, this time, I am hell-bent if I am going to let myself get in my own way.
Today, waking up and dreading putting fingers to keyboard, I decided to yet again stonewall. So we have more clean laundry than I have places to put it. I have emptied the garbage, played with the dog, cuddled the kitty, watched the election news, looked up fancy recipes for dinner, made plans to make pumpkin bread. I have checked my e-mail and facebook (every time I sit down to the computer to write), and selected my writing music for the day, read through some pep talks on NaNoWriMo’s website, reviewed the writers who have completed it and been published, made my cup of steaming tea, all looking for the inspiration to get back to the task at hand. I have yet to write today, or yesterday, or the day before.
I decided to get some fresh air, sitting on the front porch wrapped in a blanket (it’s 40 degrees and damp out), watching the lake and listening to the flock of geese land in the water. As I sat there reflecting on why I’m struggling so much, I reached a conclusion.
The background of this novel is based on the death of my sister, Beccee, who died of lung cancer almost 3 years ago. It is a novel about sisters, relationships, love, life, and loss. I have built the basis of my story around what-ifs and should-haves, a way to go back in time and heal the loss of my dear sister and friend. I ask myself, what right do I have to write this story down?
I found a quote a few months ago, that I framed and put on my vanity. It says,
“If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent, whatever that is. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me if I do? You’re a human being, with a unique story to tell. And you have every right. If you speak with passion, many of us will listen. We need stories to live – all of us. We live by story. Yours enlarges the circle.” Richard Rhodes
So my doubts go to whether this story is mine or hers. As I sat on the porch, fingers tingling from the cold, nose running, tears welling up and spilling over, what I realized is that it is neither. This story is fiction, based on my own desire to go back and do things differently, say things differently, to love and be loved by my sister before losing her. I have learned from Beccee’s death that life is short, life is precious, and we don’t get second chances in life. It’s done and gone. But I can create my own second chance. I can write what I know. I can have a do-over, even if it’s only on paper, in the hopes that someone will not make the same mistakes I have after reading my words.
So what is stopping me? Fear…
~ of feeling the pain.
~of not doing Beccee’s memory justice.
~of learning secrets about myself in the process.
What do I need to remember as I write this story?
~that my words are valuable.
~that pain cannot be buried. It is always there, until you face it head on.
~doing what you are afraid of is hard, but necessary to live your dreams.
~just WRITE – anything and everything. That’s what editing is for.
~this is FICTION, with threads of your truth, of the depth of beauty and sorrow, woven throughout.
And now that I have that dealt with, maybe the words will come more easily, the what-ifs will not be painful but lovely new memories.
“That was the day she made herself the promise to live more from intention and less from habit.”