Over the course of my life, I’ve done a little traveling, gone hiking and camping and exploring; I’ve ridden horses and motorcycles and ATV’s; I’ve water skied and snow skied and jet skied; I’ve climbed trees and hills and rocks. I’ve had some pretty good adventures.
Two and a half years ago, though, I embarked on what has turned into one of the greatest adventures of my life. It all began with three little words uttered so sweetly in my ear that I couldn’t help but give in.
I dare you.
It was the end of October, and my sister, Robin, had just read an article about something called Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month. I had always loved writing and had recently been dabbling a little bit, writing a few articles for an online magazine published in and about the virtual world Second Life. She told me about Nanowrimo and suggested I give it a try.
Ha! I said. Ha. I can’t write a novel. I work! I have children! (Okay, they were grown and gone, but still, they were out there somewhere, and I felt I could still legitimately claim them as time-gobblers.) And I certainly couldn’t write one in a month. Jeesh.
That’s when she resorted to big-sister dastardliness.
“I dare you,” she said.
Oh, come on. That was just childish. We were fifty-somethings now, not in junior high. Honestly.
So now it was, technically, a double dare, and I was bound by the eternal code of sisterhoodom: I had to do it. (To her credit, she agreed to do it with me, although I think she gave up after about a week.)
Well, by the end of that November and that particular Nanowrimo, I was a wee bit off the goal of 50,000 words – about 45,000 words off, to be exact – but I had started a novel. Perhaps, I thought, someday when life wasn’t so, you know, lifeish, I would finish it.
The following spring I took a novel-writing class at a local university, and that got me working on it again. At the end of the course, a few of us from the class formed a writing group and began meeting every other week to read our ongoing work and critique one another’s, and they’ve been the thumb in my back ever since that won’t let me not write.
I’m almost at the end of the first draft of my first novel.* I know I’ve got a long way to go before I’m ready to try to publish it, but still … I’m actually going to finish it. I will have written a book. Me.
And in the two-and-a-half years I’ve been working on it, I’ve also taken a couple of other writing classes, hooked up with a writing group on Facebook, started dabbling a little bit in poetry, and just recently started this blog.
I’m going to be retiring in a few months, and now when someone says, gee, what are you going to do with all that time?, instead of getting that deer-in-the-headlight look and sputtering nonsense about gardening (which, to anyone who knows me even a little bit, is as believable as saying I’m going to build a space ship and fly to the moon), I immediately respond with, “I’m going to write.”
Who knew that finally doing this thing I’ve really loved all my life could be so exhilarating?
How about you? What adventure is out there with your name on it, just waiting for you to have the courage to go after it? So, what are you waiting for? Go get it! And just in case you don’t have that most excellent of all motivators, a big sister …
*Postscript: I originally wrote this several months ago and then “lost” it somewhere in the nether regions of my computer. I found it today! Since the original writing, I have finished the first draft of my novel (closer to three years since its inception than two), and I have retired. I’m now starting the process of editing, and an idea for a second book is germinating.
Gotta go. I’ve got writing to do!