In June, my town held an Art Festival, where artists from all over the Midwest came to show their wares. A friend of mine convinced me to join her and a mutual friend for a walk around the festival to see all the various mediums of art. Over by the food vendors, and slightly offset from the main thoroughfare was a large cubical chalkboard with the words: “Before I die, I want to…..” Chalk sat in trays near the middle or bottom of the chalkboard. By the time we discovered this, hundreds of other people had written their wishes in various hues of the rainbow. I choose a bright blue and a purple and wrote my own wishes: ‘to publish my novels’ and ‘to take a space walk’ and a silly one from my childhood: ‘to be the first person on Mars.’
Today I discovered the artist who created this project:
The art installation reminded me that there’s a lot to life, and sometimes when we’re caught in the bustle and hustle that is our society, we are too busy rushing forward to do everything as soon as possible that we miss the little details that add great beauty to our lives. This installation reminded me of what it is I truly wish I could do with my life; even if right now, achieving those dreams may be hard. Sometimes, when caught in the rush of societal expectations, our own criticism of our activities, and the expectations and criticisms of others can burn through our hopes and determination to try for our dreams. We may start to feel beaten down, like maybe we’re not capable or smart enough or worthy enough to achieve what we wish we could do or have.
Installations like this remind me that such thoughts and societal pressures are wrong. We are capable, and we just need to find the strength and the network of supportive people to help us find our way toward achieving a dream or at least making our life better, more bearable, and perhaps even carving a slice of happiness in our little corner of the world. It’s possible to achieve that, but sometimes we just need a little reminder.
And it’s why I try for National Novel Writing Month each year, even if some years I didn’t make it to fifty thousand words. The point is trying and not letting societal pressures or our own criticism wear me down until I stop trying. It’s worth the hard work, and by the end of this month, when I finish this novel, I’ll feel that elation of having completed it. The fact I finished that project gives me hope and ambition to keep trying and eventually I’ll finish more and more, until I have a huge pile of finished projects, where I can edit and polish and maybe even be published. I can become a published author, and the only way to do it is to just keep writing and trying my best to learn and improve as I go.
It’s possible to achieve my dream. All I really need to do is continue to write whenever I can, and continue to tell myself that no matter how hard and unreachable a dream may seem at times, I still have time and that time is the present.
As an update on my progress, I am currently at 15% of 50,000 words. A good start for the first week of November! If I keep at this rate, I may finish this story a few days before the deadline, which would be awesome! All I need to do is write at least two thousand words a day to keep at my current pace. This way, if I start to lose momentum in later weeks, I’ll have a buffer and it won’t hurt my progress too much. That’s the hope at least.
Also, when I attended my Regional meeting and kick-off events, I was given an awesome gift bag of items to provide inspiration (and Kleenex for those days where I just want to weep with frustration at having written myself into a corner), and a envelope full of writing prompts to help jerk me out of any writing blocks I may encounter. I don’t know if I’ll attend any of the other meetings, mostly because circumstances in life have forced me to relocate temporarily, so now the meetings are an hour away, but if I am in town for one, I’ll probably stop by to provide some inspiration to fellow writers and hopefully receive some myself.
At the very least, I can attend some on-line ‘write-ins’ chat sessions with not only those in my region, but also fellow writers at LegendFire, the writing forum I help moderate. So there’s lots of support for this project. That helps a lot in the long run, I think. Having other writers tackle this challenge with you, so that way you can cheer each other on and remind one another that yes, this is possible.
So, for those of my readers who are tackling this challenge: Yes, this is possible and you can finish in time. Just keep writing. Just keep writing.
Or as Dory from Finding Nemo says:
Writing, swimming, they’re all the same, right? Just keep at it.