Now Brewing: Celestial Seasonings’ Sweet Raspberry Perfect Iced Tea: Spring is here it seems and I felt it was necessary to enjoy one of my favorite warmer weather K-Cups this afternoon. This variety is one of the Brew-Over-Ice options that you can make in the Keurig brewer. It definitely reminds me of summer and keeps me hopeful that it’s not that far off at all :)”There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up,” said Stephen King in his memoir of the craft, “On Writing.”
The path to my own story idea didn’t come in a matter of days. Writing “Second Shots” has been a continuous journey towards the story I WANT to tell. It’s funny really, when I tell people that I’m writing a novel, apart from getting a lot of “ARE YOU CRAZY?” looks, I usually receive typically the same types of questions:
“What’s it about?””How do you have time?””Do you know how it’s going to end?”
Although the first two are fairly simply for me to answer in a few seconds, the third is my favorite. I have always been adventurous. For the majority of my childhood, I lived on a lot surrounded by forest. I was always climbing the trees, going for nature hikes or pretending I was a Native American, needing to gather and hunt to survive. The woods was where I would go to be alone growing up and I think it’s where I first realized that I had this undeniable desire to explore everything–and anything– I could find.
Because of this, I never really know what’s going to come out when I sit down at my MacBook to write. Somedays, it’s completely irrelevant information that will inevitably be added to my “Graveyard folder,” hoping to someday be resurrected. Other days, I write exactly what I need to write to move “Second Shots” forward. I know now (after 2 years) where I want to end my novel and know for the most part how I’m planning on getting my characters to that point. However, up until probably last week, this has all been just another adventure for me.
I am a very goal-oriented person. I like to set a goal for myself to reach and there’s really nothing that compares to the gratification once I reach that goal. I’ve started writing a lot of other pieces of literature before “Second Shots.” I finished a couple short stories, none of which I ever thought were very good. I wrote a couple short novelas based on other books I enjoyed. That was basically a middle school phase on my writing path.
In high school, I started 3 different novels. Two of them had the same main characters but different story lines and the third was a completely different story altogether. I never finished any of them–just saved them in the infamous “Graveyard.” Surprisingly, a few pieces of these stories have lent themselves to “Second Shots” along the way. I’m always amazed when I realize that I have something written for a COMPLETELY different purpose, that will fit perfectly where I need something to move forward with.
When I started writing “Second Shots” I promised myself that THIS would be the novel I’d finally finish. It’s been a long process and I know that even when I do finish–there’s editing and revising ahead which will take more time too. It’s the thought that I am ALMOST finished with this goal I set for myself almost two years ago–before I’d ever taken a college course, before I’d found independence and learned how to cram, before I set foot into a journalism class, before I ever opened an AP Stylebook or realized that I’m more interested in Public Relations than in Journalism–that really gets me. It’s the thought that, after everything I’ve learned and done in the past two years, the gratification of finishing this goal is so close I can practically touch it.
When I first started writing it, I had no idea who my characters were or where their stories would take me. I had no idea that there would be days that I physically was too tired to write. I didn’t know there would be days that all I could do was write. I didn’t know how I’d get there–but I set that goal and set off on the adventure of getting there.
With about a month left until my final goal date, April 10, I’m about 100 pages off of finishing. It’s no longer the question of how I’ll finish writing it; it’s now the question of–when will I finish?
My writing has grown so much over the course of the past two years and as I’ve written more, I’ve realized that I can do this. My dream has always been to publish a novel and I know now that I can. I’m not going to stop trying until I do.
As Eli Young Band recently wrote:
“Some dreams stay with you forever, drag you around but bring you back to where you were. Some dreams keep on gettin better, gotta keep believin’ if you wanna know for sure.”
This dream has certainly dragged me around in countless circles. There were times I felt like I was just writing the same two things over and over for days. This dream is one that I KNOW can only get better from here.
Kathryn E. Weast