Writing fiction. Yep. I’m giving it a shot. After I write this blog post. You don’t have to point out the procrastination. I’m watching myself do it.
You never know what you are capable of if you don’t stretch yourself. Yep. True enough.
I’ve written non-fiction for over thirty years. I enjoy reading fiction stories when I allow myself a break from non-fiction, but the desire to write fiction never kindled in me except for a children’s book or two. Too many topics I wanted to learn and teach tempted me like cookies on a cooling rack.
I’m in a new season in my life now. Fiction has been peeking at me like a shy kitten from the corners of my creative jungle gym. I observe the kitten and leave it alone.
After a particularly difficult emotional struggle recently, my spirit needed to go to a safe, happy place. I bought a few romance novels and found delight again in reading stories with a happy-ever-after ending.
At writers conferences over the past two years, I chose one or two fiction workshops to attend, dipping my toes in the water with no commitment to go in for a swim. I took notes. I stored them away.
This year, I signed up for an online Deep Editing course by Margie Lawson, taught by friend and fellow writer, Suzanne Purvis. The course was excellent. After the second or third lecture, I realized the course focused on fiction writing. I applied the lessons to my non-fiction articles, the only works in progress I had at the time.
I noticed the universe’s pattern of subtle nudges toward fiction.
The course deepened my appreciation and long-neglected love for a good story. Presented twice a week online, the lectures encouraged all self-regulated students to find an editing partner and post assignments for feedback and critique from the course instructor.
Meanwhile, in my morning devotions, I read a profile of a person that held a tiny undeveloped detail. That little detail niggled and wiggled around in my mind. It squirmed and affirmed its desire for my attention. In other words, that little detail wanted to play.
NaNoWriMo kept popping up on my computer as November approached. NaNoWriMo stands for the National Novel Writing Month in which hundreds of thousands of writers participate in a fun-loving, happy-to-create community to write the first draft of a novel—50,000 words is the common goal—with prizes, games, encouragement and a line graph tracking your word count.
I’m following our family’s dinner rule. When my five siblings and I sat at the dinner table, the rule was to try what was being served. You didn’t have to like it, but you were expected to taste it.
Without enough experience to know if I had even the remotest chance at achieving 50,000 words in one month, I signed on. The goal was a big one which always motivates me.
I wrapped a little thread of ego around my baby finger to hit the goal. The timing felt right. I had a pesky idea wanting attention and a world-wide community inviting me to jump in. “The water’s fine,” they said. “It’s fun!” they said.
We shall see. I’m in.
Jumping into Writing Fiction
Fiction floats in the water kinda funny. It doesn’t have the same weight and girth of non-fiction. It takes new muscles to move it around, adjust to the waves. Fiction feels funky to a non-fiction writer at first.
I’m standing at the edge of the ocean with a large, cumbersome surfboard I’ve decided to ride. Like learning how to surf, I’m on board with fiction and I will learn how to write it. Right now, I’m still on my knees.