Week #6 – Finding the right handle to grab

It’s been an exciting and illuminating week.  And yet, it’s closer to remembering than anything.

NaNo stats

First off, it’s NaNoWriMo!  National Novel Writing Month, where writers of all stripes vow to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

MK 4-12 “If you do not intend to do a thing, do not start; if you do start, see it through even if the heavens fall; if you make up your mind to do something, do it; let nothing, no one, interfere; the “I” in you has determined, the thing is settled; the die is cast, there is no longer any argument.”

On the surface of it, NaNo’s not a hard thing, really – I’ve met the challenge the last three years in a row; you need only write 1,667 words per day.  (I aim for 1,700.)  It’s wonderful fun, seeing a new story take shape under your hands.  And it’s challenging; you have to muster the self-discipline to write those words, always advancing the story, developing the characters, regardless of what else might be happening in your life – work, family, good things, bad things, time-eating things.  And it’s fiendishly difficult, especially as you get to the 40,000-word mark and inspiration runs dry and there is only the word count, the incessant word count that must be met; a huge, gaping maw that must be daily fed, else the mouth becomes ever larger, demanding more and more from you just so you can stay even…

My first NaNo year (2012) I wrote a story that had been percolating in my mind ever since the idea had bubbled to the surface in a dream.  I had the outline, the major characters, the significant events, all inside my head, and the novel flowed.  It was beautiful.  Magic, even.  It confirmed that I had  been born to be a writer.

Then I lost touch with the source of the words, and writing became… painful.  And I don’t know how or why.  I suppose it doesn’t really matter.  The odd part is, I’ve never given up thinking of myself as a writer, however little I wrote.  The decision was made, the die was cast.  And that’s a connection I didn’t make until this past week.

imageSo this year’s NaNo novel is one I’d written about half of, years ago.  I’d set it aside when I lost my words, and since then I’ve lost touch with the people who are my characters.  But it never occurred to me not to enter a NaNo novel, and this felt like the story I should write.  But November the 1st came and I had no outline, I couldn’t quite remember all the major events I’d planned – or their order – so it was a really rocky start.  Took me four days to catch up and be in the green on the NaNo site; because of course you can add onto an existing novel, but you can’t count any of those words in your total.  The 50,000 have to be all new words.

But even in the back of my head, there’s no thought that I will not finish – even though I have awful habits throughout the rest of the MKMMA, even though I met none of the dates I posted in last year’s DMP and movie poster.

Now I just need my subconcsious to work on reconnecting me with the words that used to flow effortlessly!

Because I’m a writer.  The die is cast, there is no longer any question or doubt.

(Of course, the next step is to actually do something with all my stories!  Can’t have Recognition for Creative Expression if I don’t publish, huh?)

Now, running side-by-side with my writing has been my photography.  Just a hobby, really.  Something I do because I enjoy it – I’ve had shutterbug fever for half of forever.

I’m not a real photographer – or so I’ve been telling myself.  Real photographers work in studios and have their own darkroom.  Real photographers have been to school.  Real photographers spend hours setting up a shot and then get it right on the first try.  Real photographers have bags and bags of fine equipment, with expensive lenses for all occasions and business cards and special lighting devices and stacks and stacks of filters and the most recent version of the top-of-the-line camera body…

Astonishing, isn’t it, the kind of lies we tell ourselves when we’re resisting – for whatever reason – the knowledge of what we’re here to do.

So, fine.  I’m not your standard-variety version of photogapher, because the one thing I don’t do is people.  And I’m okay with that.  Because I’ll stand outside all night capturing the stars in the faint hope I might get the Northern Lights or a meteor.

Or both.

Big Dipper, Aurora Borealis, and a shooting star

Cool, huh?

Funny thing about the photography, too; that also crystallized this week.  I’ve had a blog that I haven’t done much with – I couldn’t find the right ‘voice.’  I had no idea who I wanted to talk to or what I really wanted to say, and for two years I’ve been giving too much credence to someone who reviewed my site and said basically that it was too ‘me’ focused, that readers don’t care about me, they want to know what’s in my article for them.  And that might be true.  And that’s okay.  But that one remark has colored every attempt I’ve made at a blog post ever since.  So this past week I wrote two photography posts, one about night photography and one about the photographing the Northern Lights.  And I’m talking to my reader.  And I’m sharing what I’ve learned – not to professionals, but to other people like me, who aren’t quite beginners and aren’t really pros but love their cameras and what they can do with them.

I’m not a writer.

I’m not even a photographer.

I’m a storyteller.  I’m a channel of words and images, from the undifferentiated aether of Source into hearts and minds and spirits.  That’s how I’m of service.  That’s how I show my love of the world and what’s in it.  And it was there in front of me the entire time, quietly waiting to be acknowledged.

And maybe… maybe that’s how I lost the words.  I never shared them.  I would write, and rewrite, and re-rewrite, and re-re-rewrite because they were never ‘just right;’ resistance, again.

Well, no more.  Time to share words and images and not care if my words are ‘too me-centered.’

6 thoughts on “Week #6 – Finding the right handle to grab

  1. Pingback: NaNoWriMo 2015 - Journal, day six; world building - Guardian Chronicler

  2. Well said! Just do, and let subby figure out the rest.
    I have the same problem trying to get the juices following as well.
    I think it’s good therapy to share, because we realize that were all the same in many ways., and if we stay disciplined, we’ll reach the finish line.
    Thanks for sharing Ellen.

    “Time to share words and images and not care if my words are ‘too me-centered.’”

  3. Ellen, Your post was wonderful. I have been witness to your struggles to find words and your true self and it brought tears to my eyes when you said you are a storyteller. You hit it on the nose and I am so excited for you to continue to grow the truly wonderful storyteller that you are. Your pictures are amazing and you do not need to be “schooled” to be a great photographer. And technically speaking, because you have sold stock photos, you are a professional photographer. I love to hear your stories both in word and pictures.

  4. Dear storyteller… Wow. I started reading your post and had to look around my house. Hmmmm. I write — but not novels; I have TWO blogs I haven’t (hadn’t posted anything in over a year); I am a professional photographer that doesn’t shoot near enough, and I’ve been gonna write a book for at least the last 5 years — though I’ve never had the guts to tackle NaNoWriMo. Figuring out that you’re a storyteller is HUGE and it encompasses so much. I too am a storyteller — sometimes shorter stories than others, then I joined Toastmasters to make it REALLY official. But within that realm, you know… there’s lots of flexibility. The reader who said ” readers don’t care about me, they want to know what’s in my article for them” was wrong; because lot of people will find their story, inside yours and your insights will help them find theirs and the one’s who identify with your story will definitely find what’s in it for them, as I did as I read your post this morning. I found a kindred spirit; someone much like myself, even tussling with some of my battles — having words disappear; boy could we talk about that one. And the cool thing about photography (and incidentally I like shooting people most of all) is that photography is such an individual art. It IS your vision of the world. I good friend of mine has a seminar that starts out, “a camera is just a box with a hole in it.” Everything that comes out of it is you. Your vision, your interpretation, your story, what your find important. Pure art, in my book. You are awesome and I very much enjoyed your post and I found a LOT in it… for me. Just sayin’ Thank you.

    • Thank YOU, Kelvin! It’s amazing how we find similar people throughout the course; I very much like knowing I’m not alone, no matter what I’m experiencing.
      It’s so cool you’re a professional photographer!! And I love your friend’s opening line – can I use that?

    • Great Post! Consider that a really good photographer has a GOOD EYE and a strong sense of appealing or unusual or attractive COMPOSITION. So . . . mounds of expensive equipment can’t create great photographs — only the skills and observation and composition talents of a skilled photographer can do THAT. . . . Bravo on your persistence! 🙂

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