Hello, my name is Lacey, and I have Aspirations. In particular, I aspire to be an author.
That is the essential take-away of this post. The rest of this is going to be how I got there. Feel free to skip it and move on with your lives 🙂
One of the earliest questions we have to face in life is what we want that life to be. The stories are common of people who knew from a very early age their life destiny. A quick Google search finds no results, but I have fuzzy memories that Jessica Alba loved to act as a kid, and Whitney Houston loved to sing… so there you have two at least.
…. I was not one of those. I have spent half a life-time discovering what I want to be when I grow up (and an excellent way to delay actually GROWING up that can be!).
I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian, a Forensic Pathologist, a Forensic Anthropologist, and a Forensic Geneticist. All of those paths I got a very long way down – some more than half-way, before re-evaluating what I really wanted. I might write on those more later, if I run out of things to say. For now the important thing is that I earned twin B.A.s in Biology and Anthropology, and a M.A. in Biomedical Anthropology with a specialization in Forensic Genetics. The even more important thing to say is that I then did next to nothing with that hard-won (expensive!) knowledge. I took a hard left into Clinical Diagnostics and Database Programming, where I currently am still. I know exactly what happened, and have no logical explanation for how it happened….
I mention those things mostly because it might be of use to someone else – if you need to know how to collect or remove evidence from a crime scene, I’m your gal!… For the purposes of writing about it. Of course. At least get to know me before you ask for a demonstration.
But there is one constant thing I have just done throughout my life, and that is write. In middle school I attended Young Writers conferences and wrote weird stories about necromancers. In high school I took Honors writing courses and the seeds for a novel series sprouted in my brain. In college I took more writing courses – extras on top of all the science courses – and continued to pen little stories when I couldn’t fit any more classes into my schedule. There are notebooks and word documents filled with scribblings about characters and a universe which haven’t left my brain alone for twenty years now.
And yet as much as I wrote, I never finished. To BE a writer was never my goal.
And then something magical happened. NaNoWriMo. 2007. I wrote a novel.
Before I get ahead of myself, if you don’t know what NaNoWriMo stands for, oh BOY are you going to learn in the next month. NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month – more specifically the month of November – and the goal is to write a 50K words in a first draft of a novel in 30 days. That breaks down to 1667 words per day – a pretty do-able word-count if you kill your social life (no issues there), sneak time during your lunch breaks and like to hear yourself talk (also no issues there).
How it happens – ideally – is by bringing together a hugely creative community of people to support, coax, scold, aid and compete with the writer during that month. And if you get lucky, for many months – or years – beyond. A group of people for whom writing a novel is a fantasy… then a reality… then a way of life.
You “win” nothing beyond a handful of writer-oriented discounts and a shitload of pride. And a novel. That you now can try to do something with. More on that later.
This will be my SEVENTH NaNoWriMo. I’ve won most… and I’ve also lost nearly half. More on that later as well.
But one of the things I’ve won along the way is the knowledge that if I dedicate myself to something, I CAN finish the idea. And if I really, really dedicate myself to something, I CAN finish the entire thing. For the past two years, writing hasn’t been something I only do during November. It’s been something I do seriously, year round. I currently have lots of irons in the fire, and a few nearly ready to temper. This has been another two years of my life spent learning a new skill, but I am nearing graduation. And this time, I truly know what I want to do with my life.
Wish me luck *wink*