How auspicious! I have started blogging, just by coincidence, during NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. All I have to do is blog every day… no problem! (Way easier than if I had to jog every day. I am just not a runner.) Of course, I missed a couple days there, but I can do some extras on the end, right? And then, I mean, does anyone actually get to the end of a blog? I can just keep going!
My aunt has done NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, many times. My cousin is doing it this year. My husband thought he might one time, but he works in a bookstore where November is already Christmas and life is crazy by then. Plus he’s not good at being regular about writing.
I, on the other hand, am good at being regular about writing, when I put my mind to it. I think I may have mentioned that I was a compulsive journaler for most of my life; I also wrote lots of stories, three chapter books, and a bunch of incomplete opuses (opi?) during my homeschooling years.
Once, in high school, I wrote an English essay in which my teacher could find absolutely nothing to criticize. And once I wrote an analysis for music class that compelled my teacher to call me at home the evening she marked it, just to tell me it was lovely. (See?? Lovely.)
When I did my MA in French lit, I wrote a 75-page mémoire on ways women convey their messages (l’énonciation) in francophone Africa. (Mostly I did the whole MA just to prove to myself that I could be disciplined enough to write that big a paper in French.)
I journaled all through my pregnancy and have been trying to keep up with a bit of a new mom journal as well. And my project I’m imagining – it has to do with writing too.
The point I’m finally getting to is that, as apparently experienced and confident a writer though I am, I’m still intimidated by people doing NaNoWriMo. I am in awe of them. People actually write whole books, or at least very respectable chunks of books, in that time. And I… I somehow feel that I can’t write a book.
At least, I can’t write the book I want to write. I could probably write a book of essays, ha ha. I could maybe write something non-fiction. But I’d like to write an epic story – and my pre-teen girl dramas unfortunately do not fit the bill. I want it to be a book that would make people feel the way the books I love make me feel: proud and inspired.
Proud, you say? Yes, proud. My favourite books put me so firmly in the shoes of the protagonist that I feel as awesome as if their accomplishments were my own. I am as skilled at Quidditch and fighting evil as Harry. I am as beautiful and fascinating as Bella. I am as desirable and passionate as Dinah. I am as smart, sexy and resourceful as Lusa and Deanna. And I possess incredible selflessness and love in the face of years of suffering, just like Jean Valjean.
When you finish a book like that, you are satisfied, and also wistful because you’re going to miss those people you’ve been keeping company with. That is the kind of book I want to write.
But what can I actually write about? How could I come up with such good ideas and brilliant characters… especially when such wonderful books of all kinds already exist? Where can I find this imagination, and marry it to the passion and inspiration that will allow me to write a truly great story?
I’m still figuring that out. If I find the answer, I’ll let you (the ether) know.