As far back as I can remember, I have loved stories–hearing them, reading them, and telling them. I was the nerdy kid who took his 8th grade homework assignments (write 10 sentences using your new weekly vocabulary words) and turned them into a serial adventure about American and Soviet spies locked in covert battle.
I wrote short stories all throughout high school. When I went to college, I changed my major from Journalism to English, because I loved fiction and wanted to write books. During college and into my early 2o’s, I wrote more short stories and the first part of at least 2 novels. But something happened. I stopped believing it was worth the effort. I liked the idea of “being a writer” more than the actual work of writing.
Over the last 10 years, I stopped writing fiction regularly. I’d blog and write poetry, but I felt like the idea of being a novelist was a “childish thing” I needed to put away. Sure, I would still bring it up from time to time, as I’d run into story ideas that intrigued me, but I told myself that I couldn’t really pursue something like that. I had to grow up and move on.
Then something strange and wonderful happened: I got married to a woman who not only loves and cares for me, but who believes in me. I married a woman who doesn’t think that being a writer is a crazy, childish dream. Over the last year-plus, every time the critic in my head has said “Why bother?”, hers has been the voice in my ears saying, “Why not?”
So, after some deliberation and encouragement, I decided I’m going to take on a new challenge. This year, I’m going to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), starting on November 1st. It’s a worldwide challenge to write a 50,000-word book in 30 days. It’s an incredibly intimidating task, but I need to take on this challenge. And I’m telling you fine folks, because I need to go “on the record” so I don’t back out.
So, starting this Saturday at midnight, the NaNo clock will begin counting down, and I will have 30 days to write like I’ve never written before.
(By the way, what this means for the 4thDaveBlog is that, for the month of November, I’ll be posting some lighter content. From time to time, I’ll update you on the writing process. And if any of you would like to submit a guest-post, I’m definitely open to that. Hit me up at the4thdave at gmail dot com.)
The question you may be asking at this point is, “What in the world are you going to write about?”
In the last few months, I’ve started kicking around a new story–a mystery/thriller about a man with a dark past who is trying to figure out how to live as a “new creation” in a violent world. It’s a story about faith and doubt, and about holding onto black-and-white moral values in a grey-scale city. And it’s a story about defending those who can’t defend themselves against the wolves who seek to devour them.
The working title of the novel is “Good Shepherd.”
As you can tell, I’m pretty excited about it. I’m pretty nervous too, but I’m hoping the excitement wins out. The most important thing is that I’m ready to challenge myself in a new way, and do something I’ve always wanted to do but have been too afraid to try.
What about you? Can you think of a time when you’ve really challenged yourself to try something new or scary? Or, do you have some specific words of wisdom for me as I begin this event? Please share below!