Thursday, June 2, 2011

Baby Steps

I'm taking baby steps on this journey.

When I first started thinking about writing a novel, I couldn't really imagine how little ol' me could start with a blank page and end up with an engaging story 100k words later. So my first year of dream chasing was spent testing the waters, seeking answers to "Can I really do this?"

I immersed myself in studying the craft and story ideas began to bubble up until one took hold and stoked me enough that I thought I could spend the next year(s) of my life laboring over it.  I created characters and outlined a plot, something I never imagined could be so life-giving for me.

I started following several writing blogs and joined My Book Therapy, an online community for aspiring writers of Christian fiction, a community that was invaluable to me when I took my biggest baby step yet. In November 2010, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). During NaNo, people all over the world sign up to write a novel (at least 50,000 words) in one month. I don't know if it was a great idea for someone who has never written fiction to jump right in and try to write a whole book in 30 days, but guess what...I DID IT! I wrote my first-ever first draft of a novel and I got the little "NaNo winner" badge to prove it. (Note to self: slap that badge up on this blog)

That first draft was rough. Oh man, was it rough. But for the first time in as long as I can remember, I felt like I had actually accomplished something. I set a huge goal for myself and I reached it! And at the end of November, I decided I really can do this.

2011 rolled around and I set some more goals, mostly involving a complete rewrite of that rough draft, then fighting through all my fears & insecurities to submit my work to a contest where actual people who know what they're doing read it. Nauseating.

Baby steps, for sure. But with each step, I feel more alive. I feel like I'm finally becoming who I was made to be. My heart says this is it for me. I'm on the right path. 

Baby steps. It's really the only way to get anywhere, don't you think?

"Who dares despise the day of small things?" Zechariah 4:10