Monday, November 29, 2010

Vain Repetitions

It has been almost 13 hours since I crossed the finish line for 2010’s National Novel Writing Month with a tidy word cushion thanks to more days than not of meeting or exceeding a daily 1700 word count goal.  And I almost hate to say this as many people have cheered me on, but it all feels, even after a good night’s rest, rather anti-climactic.

Seriously -- what's the big deal?  And I don't think I'm subconsciously looking for pats on the back or a 'well done' or 'but you wrote 50,000 words in a month whereas I'm lucky to write a haiku in an hour' or other such things.  At least I don't think I am, but I've been wrong before in regards to what motivates me, so I may very well be wrong again.

Honestly, though -- there is something not sitting right in regards to this whole endeavor and it's frustrating that I cannot put my finger on it.  This isn't exactly the post-NaNoWriMo post I was expecting to make, but it's where I find myself at this point in time.

"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher;
"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."
- Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NKJ)

And maybe therein lies the rub, to loosely quote Shakespeare.  Were the the past 28 days merely an exercise in vanity for me, a big old "look at what I can do" moment?
Only by bringing this to God, I believe, can my questions truly be sorted out.  But I do hope I'll be more careful/mindful of my motives for taking on projects in the future because this 'meh' feeling after neglecting, really, so many things makes me wonder if what I gained in the end was worth it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dropped It

I have a memory of walking through a parking lot with my mom and younger sister when we were all a fair spot younger than we are now.  All of us had just got an ice cream cone, but as it happens with many kids with many ice cream cones the world over, my younger sister's treat fell on the ground and quickly began to melt on the hot asphalt.  Understandably, she was not amused.  It is never a happy thing to lose a treat, to drop something you were looking forward to having and enjoying.

This memory bubbled up after I came across the following quote today: 

No expectations leads to no disappointment.  

Really?  That is a good outlook to have on life?  Expect nothing?  And then have no disappointments?  But then I take the time to look back on this day in particular, and the disappointments that have coloured and shaded aspects of it (all due to poor decisions on my part), and I do wonder if I had not gone into the day with any expectations of what I would accomplish, if I would not have been disappointed by what I failed to accomplish. 

No expectations . . . no disappointments.

Yet . . . does it not also hold that no expectations indicate there are no goals . . . no hopes . . . no dreams?  Imagine going through life with nothing to look forward to, to anticipate like an ice cream cone on a hot summer's afternoon.  

Pretty bleak, isn't it?

I will agree, though, it is the pits to have something you were looking forward to fall out of your hand to the ground, ruined and never to be savoured or enjoyed.  I will not say life is without its disappointments.  But there is One who has the remedy, who can take our disappointments and bring something good out of them (Romans 8:28).  And He made a pretty spectacular promise way before He sent His Son to die for our sins and open the door once again to an eternal relationship with Him should we choose to accept His invitation and cross that threshold: 

"Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert."
~ Isaiah 43:18, 19 (NKJ)

God isn't promising a life without disappointments, missed opportunities or setbacks.  He knows we're not going to 'get it right' every time.  That's why He says He will set it right.  Lost in the wilderness of the mess you've made?  He'll make a road to help you get out of it.  Wandering lost in the dry heat of the desert, ready to collapse?  He'll make rivers -- not just a river, but rivers.

My sister shed tears over the loss of her ice cream cone.  But they didn't stick around for long as our mom, without any hesitation, gave sis her ice cream cone.   And the melting ice cream was given nary a second glance.

That's how things can be for us, too, if we'll take what God gives us to replace that which now lies behind us.  A road in a wilderness, rivers in a desert, and an ice cream cone on a hot summer's day.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ain't No Mountain High Enough*

Actually, scratch that.  There are probably mountains high enough to physically keep me from doing something.  Like Mount Everest.  Or the one to the left -- it looks really huge.  But I digress.  Slightly.

I'm almost at the halfway point for National Novel Writing Month in regards to the date, and am officially there in regards to my word count with the bit I've managed to type out today.  And I've thought of quitting and chucking my story with all its twists and turns a number of times over the last fourteen days.  But as I've had to remind myself repeatedly (and this year in particular as my Inner Editor is proving to be a tenacious little thing) that is part of the challenge.  The goal is not necessarily to write well, but to just get the words (and hopefully a somewhat cohesive story) out.  The polishing and fixing and revising comes later, once the structure is there.  It's like building a house -- you don't start with the paint and the furniture and all the things that make a house a home.  You start with the mess of digging a hole for the foundation, pouring concrete, putting up beams, mudding and taping drywall.  And even renovations (and revisions when working with a story) can be messy.  Yet not many people would complain about the end results when the mess is cleaned up and order is restored.  Unless they had horrible contractors.  But again, I digress.  This time, greatly. 

But it is easy to do things like talk about writing books or renovating homes,  and even about climbing mountains.  Yet as many people know who have tried climbing mountains both real and figurative, it's another thing to actually get out there and do it.  But is it worth it?

That I cannot answer for you.  I can't tell you if the cost will be worth what you hope to gain (and actually gain) in the end.  And I don't want you to climb any old mountain.  You see, you shouldn't be climbing a mountain just for the sake of the climb.  Consider these words Jesus spoke to His disciples:
"For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him . . ."  --Luke 14: 28-29 (NKJ)
Again, you have to take into account the cost of what you're about to do.  And if you don't, you may very well be mocked.  And who likes that? 

Now I'd like to wrap this all up with some awesome question or insight, but I do have about 900 more words to write and I think my Inner Editor is finally sleeping . . .

*The weekly blog entry is, yes, a day early as tomorrow I work all day instead of my customary half day.  In case anyone was wondering.  ;-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ummm . . .

"Be obscure clearly."
~ E.B. White

It's Day Eight of National Novel Writing Month and I have yet to form any sort of a plot for my story.  I also have yet to have sort of a concrete idea for this here lovely blog (at least I think it's lovely), but didn't want anyone to think I had fallen off the face of the earth.  I'm just stuck between tapping away in my Scrivner project file for this year's NaNo entry and surfing the net, wondering when I'll hit upon some brilliant idea that will leave my typing until my fingers are numb.  Or something like that.

Are any of you tackling the NaNoWriMo challenge?  Or know someone who is?  What are your thoughts on this madcap literary adventure?

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Game, Mrs. Hudson, Is On!

Ah, yes!  It is that time of year where once again people close to me question my sanity and, perhaps, wonder when they will 'for realsies' get to look at what it is, exactly, I have come up with by midnight on Nov. 30th. 

I am talking about this:

That's right -- I'm in the beginning stages of my 50,000 word novel.  For more information head over to .

Now to get another 307 words on the screen before heading to work . . .