Late Nights, Bourbon, and Self-Reflection

I have been avoiding writing these past few days.  I usually write first thing in the morning, but I’ve been finding reasons not to recently.  (This morning I needed to get a new tire for my car.  A 1.5 inch bolt in your tire is not a good thing.  Today doesn’t count.)  The reason, I’m afraid to fail.

The one thing I’ve wanted to be in my life (after wanting to be neurosurgeon, constitutional lawyer, and pro soccer player) is a writer.  The illogic goes, if try to write professionally and fail I will disappoint myself and never get over it.  However, if I don’t try I can’t fail nor can I disappoint myself.  Plus, I get to talk about how great I could have been if I had just tried.  Neat trick.  The thing that I know intellectually is that no matter what, I will get through it.  I have proven that to myself in much worse situations.

Not trying is akin to not living.  Not trying gets you exactly what you put into it.  What stops people from at least trying is not just fear, but also comfort.  Mine comes from fear of disappointment, but others have a fear of losing their comfort level, the things that they know.  Trying something new changes you and puts you in a place you are unfamiliar with, and many people are more afraid of that then they are failure or disappointment.

I don’t know which is worse.  Fear is paralyzing.  It keeps you from moving forward, backwards, or sideways.  Familiarity and comfort sap your energy and causes you existential crisis.  At least the existential crisis makes you engage your mind to figure out what is wrong.  Fear makes you do nothing.

So, how do I cure it?  First I try to live consciously.  That means being an active participant in your life and not letting things just happen to you.  You make decisions about what is happening and what is going to happen in your life.  It isn’t that everything you do has a purpose, but everything is considered and its consequences weighed.

The second thing I’m going to do will start Monday.  I am participating in the NANOWRIMO April CampNANOWRIMO is the National Novel Writing Month program.  Novel writing month is November, but twice a year the organization holds “camps” for writers to work on whatever they want to with whatever word count they want.  April is the first camp month and I will be writing a novel.  My goal is 50,000 words by April 30.  That is 1600 to 1700 words a day, every day.

This will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I am looking forward to every moment of it.  I think I can get to the 50,000 words.  Whether this first draft will be any good is a total mystery.  I need to see what it really takes and that I can do this.  The least that I want to gain from this is to come out of this with the confidence that I can write for fun and profit.

I’ll update as the month goes on.  Let’s have fun.


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