Over the last few days, I've been sorely tempted to launch into the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge of writing a (50,000 word) novel in the month of November. This is true despite my lack of almost any fiction writing experience - (um, except for a few chapters of a Young Adult fantasy started probably 15 years ago and then abandoned).
The NaNoWriMo challenge began in 1999, with a group of 21 people in the San Francisco Bay area. The history of the movement is quite interesting - with the rising popularity of blogs, the information about the challenge spread rapidly in the first few years, as people flocked to join the challenge, and schools and universities joined in too.
For me, imagining doing the challenge is revisiting the old daydream of being a writer full-time. The closest I ever got was when I was doing the serious churning-out-chapters phase of my dissertation, now more than ten years ago. The rhythm of research and writing was exciting - ideas churning in my sleep, as I drove my car, everywhere where I went. I felt that something was moving through me, not that I was willfully making something happen. The ideas opened up to me - I didn't fabricate them.
But fiction? I don't know about writing fiction. I read fiction all the time - I have dreams that could be short stories, of a sort - and fiction feels like a necessary nutrient for me, somehow. Not every kind of fiction though. I'm not very refreshed by writing that reveals the pain of human lives but doesn't offer some kind of redemption.
But - isn't reading a pastime, and not a calling? Or - what is a calling anyway? What is the purpose of the calling of writing? Oh, I guess that's as silly as asking what is the purpose of breathing.
So - perhaps what I can do during the grim, gray, dark month of November is commit to writing every day in some form or other. For me, it can be the National Blog Writing Month (NaBloWriMo). Why not? Just - put my hands on the keyboard and see what wants to pop out of my brain today.
Well, what you see is what you get. I'm at a point in life where it's not worth the energy to try to maintain illusions - for others or for myself. It looks like some of the some-day-I-will-accomplish-that sorts of things may not come to fruition, but I'm still busy doing work that seems useful, enjoying colleagues and friends, and learning how to do new things with computers. I love it when you comment and introduce yourselves!