Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day #9112 - Esther Day

In the English language, we're taught at a fairly young age that four letter words have the tendency to be very powerful, but none is more powerful than love.

It's a word that gets thrown around pretty liberally sometimes. I love this song or that movie or your haircut. It's a word that we know has big implications when you're romantically involved with someone. To tell a significant other "I love you" is usually a big step in the relationship, or maybe not a big step because maybe you're saying something that you both already know is there. (I'm just assuming here - I've never fallen in love so I can only guess.)

But the term 'significant other' is so misleading in a few ways. I'm not dating anyone, but that doesn't make the people who are in my life at the moment insignificant. And I love them, certainly not in a romantic way because that would be weird, but I love these people who make up my family and friends.

It all brings us to Esther Day. August 3rd was the birthday of Esther Earl, a Nerdfighter who unfortunately passed away when she was far too young at the age of 16 due to cancer. However, before she died, Vlogbrothers John and Hank Green told her the community would make her birthday a Nerdfighter holiday and the day would celebrate whatever she wanted it to. Wise beyond her years (or at least much wiser than I was at that age), she decided the day should be one to celebrate all the kinds of love that Valentine's Day looks over. The non-romantic love. The family and friends and platonic loves that shape our lives just as much, yet how often do we really stop and tell those people?

I'm guilty of not saying "I love you" very often. I feel it, I try to show it, but considering how much words make up my life, saying "I love you" is hard. But yesterday, for Esther and just because I should, I was at a baseball game with my parents, brother, and future sister-in-law. It was a beautiful summer night, we were having a good time, and I was weirdly nervous, but I said it. I told them all that I loved them.

And it was SUPER AWKWARD. Nice, yes, but also kind of FREAKING WEIRD. My parents were very touched, but it was especially weird to say to my brother (we both made a face, honestly) and then we went back to our evening just as it was before, only now I could feel good about the fact that my family knows for a fact that I love them. I used my words.

It shouldn't be hard and it shouldn't take an unofficial holiday to make it happen, but it was and it did, and I'm grateful for it. So thank you, Esther, wherever you are, for making such a fantastic choice. My family and I appreciate it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Day #9110 - Twenty-Five Thousand and Fifty-Eight Reasons to Celebrate

Internet, this really isn't a huge occasion in the grand scheme of things, but it is to me and I've decided to share it with you.

This summer has been hard for me. Emotionally I've had a lot of baggage piling up in a very un-fun way making it increasingly difficult to stay positive. Add on the fact that in just under three weeks I head back to work, turn 25, and my time becomes incredibly crunched and it just makes the pressure levels rise until I feel like I am going to burst. Or collapse. Or break down. Maybe even all three.

So writing should have been my escape, right? I put together the best outline I've ever done for a piece. I had to think so much about how this plot and these characters were going to fit together before I could get started, and I did it. I put in the hours. I have a notebook keeping all my thoughts consolidated. I have an amazing critique partner who helps me figure ways out of tough spots and cheering me on when I want to give up. But my demons wouldn't leave me alone. There would be days where I couldn't even think about this story, so I'd instead retreat into a side project for Stories by SaM. I kept reading and writing (and lately listening to audiobooks. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is a book I liked last year, but am completely loving as an audiobook right now). But this story, code name Bluebird Novel, continued to give me trouble despite my efforts.

It wasn't even a question of why. I know why. I'm afraid I'm not a good enough writer for this idea. They few people I've shared the basic plot with have loved it, so imagine how deeply in love I am. I just want it to be great. I want the vision in my head and this journey these characters go on to be the best it can be. But am I a good enough writer to make that happen? Some days I'm convinced I'm not. Other days, I'm hopeful. The past two days especially I was finally able to get up off the mat and try again. And this afternoon, I crossed over the 25,000 word mark.

Is the pacing off? Probably. Is the dialogue perfect? Not even close. But the pieces are starting to come together. My characters' voices are becoming more distinct. Their situation more dire. I'm actually making myself take a break right now so when I pick up tomorrow, I'll be able to carry over some of today's momentum. Considering how rotten I was feeling about trying to make this story work before, today 25,000 words feels like a miracle. Now only 55,000 to go... I think I can do it.

This book, if I can do it right, has the potential to be something really special. Could it be my 'big break?' Who knows. After my last tour of Queryland, I'm not getting my hopes up. However, I finally feel like a Writer again, which is no small feat. Even if this story only ends up being for me and a few people I choose to share it with, it's still definitely a Something.

So that's a good feeling. In honor of this nice big word count number and good feeling, therefore, click the link here to listen to one of the songs on my playlist for this novel. Not only does it reflect how I feel sometimes (especially with my writing), but it also captures the feelings of my protagonist really well. =)