I've been having trouble starting these posts because well... actually I don't know why. I've been book blogging for almost five years now and I've never had trouble blogging on that front.
But this is different.
Why, you ask? Because this blog is personal. This blog means something. This blog is about ME. And writing. And me + writing.
It's kind of a scary thing, yeah?
I've been writing my entire life. Literally. When my mom gave me a box of my old stuff that I'd packed away during a move, I found notebooks full of ideas, passages and chapters. They were awful. Terrible. But the point is-- I was writing, even then. Buckle in, this is a long-ish post.
In 2008, my sophomore year of college, I discovered NaNoWriMo or to those of you who are unaware... National Novel Writing Month. It changed my life. It's a whole community of writers who share one goal-- to write 50,000 words (which is average length of a novel) in the month of November. The first year I did it, I flailed and failed miserably. But then something big happened to me later that year.
My creative writing professor pulled me aside one day and told me I was wasting my time at the college I was attending. He told me I should transfer to a college that is VERY well known for it's writing program. I won't keep you in suspense...it was University of Iowa he was referring to. But wait, I said. I like my current college. I have friends here. I know my way around the campus. I enjoy the classes. He shrugged his shoulders and left me with a very cryptic one-liner.
IF YOU WANT TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS OF BEING A NOVELIST, YOU KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.
So I did it. I followed my dreams. I wish I could say that everything after that was rainbows and butterflies.
It wasn't. I transferred to the U of I where I knew only one person. It was a new city, new school and I had a new job. I was lost, lonely and confused most of the time. So I turned to the two things that have always made me feel most at ease--reading and writing. People would always mention how much they loved it when I told them about the books I was reading and enjoying, so I decided to join my two loves into one. Book blogging. Thus, Chasing Empty Pavements was born.
You can visit that site HERE. Go ahead, I'll give you a minute if you haven't seen it already.
Back? So once I was up and going with my book blog, I decided to tackle my next big adventure. Another round of NaNoWriMo. This time, I decided to arm myself with all the tools I thought I needed. (Hahahaha. Naive Jade. If only I knew then what I know now). I had an idea--a good one-- so I started an outline. That was my "big" tool. Anyway... I started writing at midnight on October 31st and I didn't stop writing until November 30th. I wrote a novel. My first ever novel.
You know what I learned? A hell of a lot. I wanted to quit so many times. So. many. times. But I didn't. I kept going. I learned that I could actually write a novel that had a somewhat coherent beginning, middle and end. That's pretty much all it had though.
Thus began my love affair with writing novels. I completed one to two NaNoWriMo's a year since then. Which has resulted in approximately 6 shitty novels. Don't worry...they were pretty shitty. But that's okay. That's kind of the point of NaNoWriMo...not to write brilliant, first drafts, (and if anyone is writing those kind of drafts--please give me all your secrets) but to simply write. Period.
So that brings me to here and now. In the past year and a half, I've never taken my craft as seriously as I have now. Which is why I started this blog. To document my journey as I go from aspiring author to *hopefully* published novelist.
I believe it will happen. I have to. That's what this whole blog is about...believing in my passion, my craft, my love so much that I know it will happen for me.
I invite you to join me on this journey. It won't always be pretty. In fact--it probably won't be pretty most of the time, but at least I'm being honest. And warning you. So if you expect cheery posts about writing and novels all the time, you're in the wrong place. But if you're looking for an honest look at the trials and tribulations of an aspiring novelist--one that is here to help support others and share in the belief that "you are not the only one," then you ARE in the right place.
I hope this blog becomes a place of inspiration and motivation for those of you who believe in your craft as well and I hope you join me on the journey.