Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Challenge

Technically, I suppose you could say I'm putting things off. My blog is not some sort of money producing tool. Sure, every now and then I look at the "monetize" tab at the top of my display and wonder... At the moment I have a massive "10 followers," whatever that means. Not quite sure I'll amass a great and grand following even amongst family and friends. Do they know I have a blog? Yes. Do some of them check it at least fairly regularly? Sure. But that's about as far as it go. All the same I keep coming back, feeling some urge to write about this life of mine in a public format. Silly me. Perhaps it's because I know no one will ever be able to read my journals. I want some sort of proof that I existed in legible form. It's a thought.

But back to the challenge topic.

It's wonderful to have someone who believes in your dreams. This is especially true when you have trouble believing in them yourself. Naturally with the death of someone as memorably visible in most American if not international households as Steve Jobs, everyone is thinking about creative genius, and watching the you tube video of his speech to look for inspiration. If you haven't taken the time to sit down and listen, it really is worth it. His thoughts on living life to the fullest and being who you really are have a spine tingling effect.

I'm not expecting to wake up some morning and find myself suddenly in possession of a great financial fortune. I don't buy lottery tickets, and the likelihood of all those Publishers Clearinghouse ad things I file ever paying off...well, let's just say it's unlikely. But I do have dreams. I have dreams of writing something that people will read. I have dreams of using the gift I've been given to share with people in some way. However, except for the people who know me well, or those who randomly happen across my internet ramblings, I'll never achieve any of those goals if I don't just sit down and write something. And beyond that, if I remain afraid and never send my writing out, no one is going to just come to me and say, "Hey Sarah, I was thinking that maybe you'd like me to take all those stories from inside your head and make them into books that people can hold in their hands or read on their handheld devices." It. Just. Won't. Happen.

I suppose the easiest thing to do is to just have a dream. You can take it out and pet it every once in a while. You can blow on the dying embers in a moment of passionate thought, and be warmed by the very idea of your dreams. But they won't get you anywhere if you don't act on them.

I can be very like Alice. "I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it." Lewis Carroll, for all his undoubtedly drug tripping ways, really knew how to pack a punch, or speak directly to my problem. I'm loaded with thoughts and ideas. I have advice to hand out in bunches to anyone who asks. When it comes to my personal life goals and dreams, however, I get all tripped up and fumbly.

As I mentioned before, it's really good to have someone who believes in your dreams. My wonderful husband is just that person. He has done everything in his power to try to inspire me to write. He comes at it from different angles than I would, and there are times when i just don't know how to take his advice, but I know he gives it because he loves me and he wants to see me really live. He wants to see me achieve the dreams that he knows are in my heart.

So this past weekend when we were away for a couple of days he gave me a challenge. It was a serious challenge, and not one to be taken lightly. I even went so far as to shake on it, turning it into a promise. Breaking promises? Really NOT my thing. On October first he gave me 90 days to write a novel. NINETY DAYS. That's not a whole lot. Now, there will still be room for editing and revising and all that jazz, but on January first he wants me to have a completed manuscript. And if I follow through, he has promised to do everything he can to help me with the marketing aspects, which is an area I where I really struggle.

Challenge accepted, now to get down to it. For the past few days I've been mulling things over. I've always got a little back stash of story ideas floating around. He told me it couldn't be something I've already been working on. I have at least two novels that I've made a considerable amount of headway with, and could easily tie up over the next three months. But no, this has to be something all new.

I believe I've finally settled on the winner, and now I just have to get it done. I know it won't be easy. I know, especially with my new job challenges, that most days I'll feel like I have no time, and no drive to get it done. But there are to be no excuses on January first. The new year is going to start with something big.

Failure is something that scares me to the very core. I've always done everything in my power not to fail. Every new rejection eats away at me and makes me curl up in the fetal position. I don't know if I'll be able to whip out Pulitzer Prize material, or even something worthy of a Newberry Honor Medal, in 90 days. That's not the point. Writing is one of those things that is stitched into the very fabric of my being. Now I just have to prove to him and to myself that I really can put my actions where my mouth is.

Here's to the challenge!

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