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Written by Karen D. Swim
I awakened in the middle of the night, my cheeks wet with tears. I wiped away the tears and felt the crushing weight of grief. The grief was, however not mine but Nikki’s. Ah Nikki, so that’s her name! I had toyed with other names but last night she emphatically declared that Nikki would be her name.
All week I have pushed away my fears and anxieites about National Novel Writing Month. Yesterday, realizing that I was two days away, my characters fought to be given life. They are demaning that I get to know them so that I may tell their stories.
Nikki made me feel her loss at a time of day when I could not push her away and tend to other business. She tapped an old experience and forced my heart to feel her pain. My challenge is to tell her story so that you feel it too.
For years I have written for others. I have cloaked myself in their words and adopted their voices. I have written their words uncredited, a shadow in the background as they made the rounds as published author. I enjoyed birthing their vision. When my part was done, I silently retreated ready for my next role and costume change.
I had my own stories but feared I had lost my own voice. I reasoned there was no time for the foolish dreams of writing a book. I had to earn a living. I had responsibilities. There was always someone needing something from me. Where would I find the time?
For the month of November, I will selfishly carve out time every day to write my words and tell my story. I am both terrified and exhilarated. I am gripped with doubts daily – what if I run out of words, what if I really suck, what if the story is no good, what if the story is good and I can’t tell it. Today, on the eve of my writing challenge I lay those doubts to rest. I am committed to this time of focusing on my voice and my words. I am less concerned about the end result than I am with simply showing up for me everyday.
I may not have a best selling novel at the end of November but I am certain that I will have a better me. The draft of my story as a writer will have more words, more experiences and I’m sure growth.
Today, as much of the world dresses up in costume and engages in treats and trickery, I am chasing away the ghosts and gremlins that yell “Boo” in the night. My treat is not a sugary confection wrapped in pretty paper but the knowledge that I am taking on a challenge not because I have to but simply because I want to do it..just for me.
We all have those things that we want to do, right? The list of longed for goals that we tuck in a drawer rationalizing them away as silly fantasies or fun dreams that maybe, could, will happen someday. Today, give yourself a treat. Pull out that list and make time for one thing for yourself. They are only silly someday dreams when they are “out there” in the ether unattended to and undone. Chase away your own ghosts and goblins and take action on your behalf. Life does not have to be one long serious pursuit. Your desires and dreams are not silly, they are important because they are uniquely yours.
So, how about it, will you join me in treating yourself? Trick or treat? What’s your choice?