A New Dedication

Seven years ago, July 2011, I participated in the first ever session of Camp NaNoWriMo. The novel I wrote during that session, a quirky, lighthearted mystery, was a big departure from all the unfinished “literary” musings I’d been playing around with since I started trying to write novels. In those books, characters seemed to do little more than sit around in coffee shops and bars, having philosophical discussions. So, I was proud not only to write but to finish a draft of something that felt like a real story.

Over the following months, I edited my Camp novel and self-published it the next year on the day before my 23rd birthday. I have since taken it off sale, but it’s still special because it was my first finished novel.

Seven years feels like a natural cycle of time, so I’m approaching this month as a new beginning. I have a new dedication to my writing. Time management has always been a problem, so I hope Camp NaNoWriMo and this blog will provide me with the deadlines and accountability I need to make some real progress. My goal for Camp is one hour of editing every day.

I’ve been working on my current series, in one form or another, for the past 4 years. If I write nothing else but the books in this series, I’ll feel as though I’ve said everything I have to say. Any other books I might write after that will just be for fun. The problem with writing something so personal is my fear of putting my work out there and, by extention, myself.

My fears have prevented me from working as hard as I should on finishing these books. Will anyone even want to read them, and if not, why should I bother finishing them? What if everyone says there’s not enough of this in them? What if everyone says there’s too much of that in them? Aren’t there already too many novels in the world? All these fears have to do with how people will react to my books, so the easiest solution was to keep my work to myself.

After finishing college, I dropped off the social media radar. A big part of it was that I hated going online to see how much more successful everyone else seemed to be than I was. Another part was that I’d spent so much of my life wrapped up in books that the written word felt more real to me than anything anyone said in conversation. If I posted something, I worried about all the different ways it could be interpreted. After all, I’d just gotten a degree in English, where the whole point was analyzing and interpreting the written word. I’ve been afraid to check my email at work and afraid to read feedback on my homework for the classes I’m currently taking, and even though I’ve brought myself to check my social media after a 6 year hiatus, I’m still afraid to post even a friendly note to any old friend for fear I’ll offend the ones I didn’t write to.

I’ve heard so often that the internet allows people the freedom to interact with others because they can remain anonymous. People who claim to be socially awkward in person can form close friendships and gain huge followings online. But I feel anything but anonymous online because I am my words.

So, you might be wondering, if I’m so scared to be active online, why do I have a blog in the first place? Why am I trying to resurrect it from all these months of silence? It’s time to get over my fears. I’ve heard that every writer has an audience. I just need to find mine. Someone out there will want to read what I have to say, and they’ll never find it if I don’t write.

I’ve learned a lot in the last 7 years. I like to talk about the writing process and figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. I hope to be able to share with you how to maintain the motivation to complete a project and find the confidence to share what you’ve poured so much of yourself into. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m trying to find them.

If you’re reading this post, it means I actually published it and didn’t let it linger in the drafts folder like so many other posts I’ve started. That’s one big step forward for me.