Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do

The blank page. The writer’s worst nightmare.

>A story needs to start somewhere. But where? How? What are you going to say? Why do you want to say anything? What is going on?

It’s all up to you. No rules. Just...go!

But what does the writer do? Well, when I’m the writer, I... do the laundry. Work on my counted cross-stitch. Do the dishes. Watch some T.V. Take a nap. Play a game. Read a book. And eventually... maybe look around the internet and Facebook for inspirational quotes. Something that will get me on my way! Something that pushes me to just... go!

But MY BOOK. That... that is so... BIG! So undefined. So much. Too much to take in, to wrap my brain around. Yeah, I say I want to write a book. But to actually do it?! Hmmph. That’s a whole different subject entirely.

And so... maybe I sit down and write a blog post. Yeah! That’s what I’ll do! I’ve got 2 blogs to my name and finding post topics to write about for either is easy. Current life events, one not necessarily connected to the other. No long back story to lay down for the reader. No “hook” to drag ‘em in and keep them reading other posts. It’s just 1 post. The reader can read it and move on. Or explore previous post! Or not. I really don’t care. It’s a free world, after all. Creating my blog was free. I write when I wish. There’s no “due date” for it to be done. I’m not expecting a grand financial reward for “finishing” it. It just is. Blog writing is easy.

But then, what’s that? What did I hear? There’s that niggling voice again. That deep, determined, confident voice that tells me that I am meant to write a book. I made that claim years ago. I have an unusual and important topic to write about. I have a dream. Now I have to just do the work.

You know? I am a softie for all those inspirational sayings going around the internet. Everyday I log into my Facebook account and take in all the awe-inspiring images and artistically displayed “You Can Do It!” expressions that fill up my Wall. The one about trying again and again until you succeed. The one about never giving up. The one about believing in yourself. The one that encourages you to do your best and be your best. The one that says you can’t fail unless you try. You can do it! Yes! Yes, I can! I am awesome! I am deserving! Let’s get going and do this thing!

And then? Well, and then I just sit back down on the couch and watch So You Think You Can Dance. Or America Idol. Or American Ninja Warrior. Or whatever it is that’s the latest and greatest T.V. reality series in which people are living the dream and reaching for the stars. They can do it! Go, them!

Oh, but what’s that, you say? Wasn’t I supposed to be doing something for myself? Wasn’t I supposed to be getting my own dream underway on it’s own path to completion?

Oooohhh!... Completion. That’s the problem! I am much too intimidated by that word. Completion. I have a whole book to write! What, it’s going to be at least a couple hundred pages or so, right? That’s a lot! I can’t do all that. I cannot see myself at the end of that road. It’s a loooonnnnnggg road. I don’t even want to get started on that journey.

But what is it that Anne Lamott of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, said? To paraphrase, she compared writing to driving on a dark road at night with dim headlights. You can only see the road ahead of you as much as your headlights allow. You cannot see your whole journey laid out ahead of you. But you get there, all the same. Just keep following the road for as much as you can see at a time and, sure enough, you’ll arrive at your destination safe and sound. Such as it is with writing. You don’t have to see the end in sight. All you need is the little bit ahead of you dimly light by your headlights. Keep on moving forward, and you will get to your destination - your writing destination - safe and sound.

(Hmmm! Now all I want to do is stop writing here and go pick up my Bird by Bird copy again. That’ll surely get me writing again!)

No. No, it won’t. I mean, sure, just like all the other positive affirmations and inspirational quotes, reading her book would help add to my “can do” attitude. But as long as I’m reading, I’m not writing. All I’ve got to do is write. One little dimly light section of the road at a time. Just write.

So, I started a Kickstarter project. A project for my book, where others can choose to help me fund the actual creation of it. A project that, as I started settling in the details of it, my 9 1/2 year old daughter asked me (in a very Isabella from Phineas and Ferb kind of way), “Watcha doin’?” When I told her, and she asked what my project is, I said, “Writing a book.” - “What’s your book going to be about?” - “You. You and me.” - “It is?! Awe. That’s so sweet.”

And from then on, Sweetie has been excited for me. So interested in this book I’m writing. And that’s just it. I told her I’m writing a book. She believes me. Why not? She has no reason not to. She already knows I like to write and that I write 2 different blogs about her. Why wouldn’t I write a book?! And even so, even if she had her doubts that I could actually do it... I don’t lie to her. She knows that I do not do that. It’s not even a thought in her mind that I’m ever anything but 100% honest with her. And so... she knows I am writing a book.

And so... I am writing a book.

I try to live my life as a great example for my daughter. Or at least reading and feeling and believing all those wonderful inspirational quotes makes me feel like I’m doing it! I’m teaching my daughter that she can be and do and try and believe and succeed at whatever it is she puts her mind to! And she does believe this. As her third grade teacher said, Sweetie is a kid who is as comfortable in her own skin as you can get for her age. She knows exactly who she is. She doesn’t pander to the popular kids. She knows what she likes to do, and does it - whether she can find a friend to do it with or not. She is a great kid who always says she’s great! And completely means it. So, I guess Hubby and I are doing something right. Despite our best efforts - she is a shining example of all the wonderful life lessons I hope to instill in her.

But I can be doing more. Sure, I tell her the lessons. But I am not living them. That is the problem. All those inspirational quotes. I love them! I feel them! But am I really living them? I know how upset I get when I see others posting those quotes, claiming their strong belief in these quotes, and then... completely leading their lives in the entirely opposite direction. They are blatant non-followers of the words they claim to follow! How can they post such words when they do not live by them? Blasphemes, all of them!

As have I been. I post and proclaim and believe and share all of them. And then, I sit on my butt. Telling Sweetie to believe and try and do and create, but not doing it myself.

That is about to stop.

I am on this earth to do something other than sit around watch TV. Something more than creating counted cross-stitch pieces. More than writing my blog.

I said I’m going to write a book. I am going to write a book.

I am writing a book.

One dimly lit section at a time.


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