Monday, December 2, 2013

"and for those about to rock... I salute you. "

Welcome to December.  Don't blink.  Not literally "don't blink."  That would be bad.  My November flew by this year.  It might be because of Nano.  It might be because I'm getting older.  This is my blog, so I get to choose :) and I'm going with Nano.  In fact, it will be the theme of this week's posts -- as long as I can find a way to work it in without it seeming forced.  (That would be bad writing.)

It's Monday and there's a pretty good chance that you've had a few days off, or that you're working with people who did, and it might take a little more than just a cup of coffee to get going.  Standby for inspiration.

I accomplished Nano.  Got a winner's badge, saw the video saying, "Well done, Author!"  It was all very exciting at midnight but, being the considerate husband I am, I waited until morning to share the good news with my wife.

51k words in a month is pro level quantity.  A lot of people hit that mark last month.  Many, many more didn't.  Even more didn't even try.  Most of those who didn't try didn't want to and never claim any interest in writing anything.  But there are some who didn't try that should have.   The one's that dream about writing but never really get started.

Last night I had a conversation with a man I respect a great deal.  He was telling me about how his family had just acquired a piano and he was looking forward to his children having a chance to learn a bit about music.  Then he dropped the bomb.  "That's one thing I really regret.  I never learned how to play an instrument."  You can probably guess what I said...

"It's never too late."  I was thinking of my mother who started to play in her 40s.  I was thinking of my step-mother who is rocking nursing school at an age when most people are considering hiring a nurse, or at least saving up to hire one.  I was thinking of me, finishing Nano more than 20 years after leaving a novel half done.

But he didn't take it seriously.  He laughed it off, gave me some excuses I was ready for.  They were light, much like my comment, but behind them were truths.  The same truths that keep all of us from investing in dreams.  It's too hard, it will take too long, I don't have any natural talent, I'll never be any good... you know the list.

I want to follow up with him.  I want to tell him he can do it.  That he'll surprise himself as long as he doesn't want to play Chopin in 6 months.  I want to tell you that you can do something big.  It just takes a little while.  I was far too impatient at 18 to write a novel.  That's why it sits, half finished in a box in my garage (and on a hard drive in the cloud).  But I finished Nano!  I know, absolutely, that this story I'm writing will be published because it is a good story, and, of equal importance, I'll finish it.

That is, I hope, what you will be inspired to do.  Finish it.  Because once you've done something big, something that took longer to finish than the burst of inspiration that started it, you'll know you can do it again.  And then you'll be able to rock too - whether it's the keys or nursing school.  Or writing.


  1. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT publish any more posts directed at me! Actually, I have to say that though it is painful, I needed that. I'll try to do better so that the next time you are in a "you can do this" mood, I won't have to feel guilty.

    1. Don't think of it as guilt. Think of it as a friend calling to you from the swimming pool saying, "Hurry up already, the water's great."