Last night, I was lucky to reconnect with an old friend from home whom I hadn’t seen in about two years. We met after work for margaritas and $1 tacos at a local Hollywood watering hole and caught up. I told her about my move to LA, my new job, my apartment. She described her (very cool) development internship, and her plans following graduation in December.
As I walked her back to her car afterwards, the question of “what do you want to do far, far down the road?” came up. As in, where do you see your career going? I want to produce, she said. I could only nod in agreement – she had the perfect demeanor for a good producer. And me? Writing is still the goal, I told her. A staff writer on a TV show.
Then, I told her about an idea I was working on. It’s one I’ve had for a while that’s been gnawing at me, begging to be written. It’s not quite right for TV or film, I said, so I’m thinking it’ll work best as a novel. One, I hoped, I could possibly write over the course of November during NaNoWriMo. It’s an annual November novelwriting project that “brings together professional and amateur writers from all over the world.” The goal is for you to write every day, and at the end of the month have completed the rough draft of a novel. It was an idea I’ve toyed with for many Novembers, and I felt like 2014 might be the year to start.
My friend was excited by all of this. Once the book was finished, I could adapt it into a screenplay if I wanted! I laughed. Or it could be some freebie eBook.
This is when my friend got very serious. “That’s been something I’ve actually been trying to curb,” she said. “Laughing at what could be. Why not dream big? Why not be serious about it? We’ve already come so far, the only place to go is up.”
I was dumbstruck. She was right! How often was I guilty of telling people my aspirations for the future – traveling, writing, owning a bed and breakfast, publishing a novel – and then minimalizing those dreams in the same sentence? I do want to write a novel, very badly in fact. But I couldn’t even get through telling a friend that I wanted to without sounding flippant and noncommittal. Perhaps it’s a safety net, so as not to have my feelings hurt if someone thinks my ideas sound terrible.
Whatever the case may be, I am pledging from here on out to be more careful about how I present my ideas to others, and I urge you as well to make sure you never trivialize the things you’re truly passionate about. Making my ideas and myself seem smaller is nothing but detrimental.
With that, I am so excited to announce that I have officially signed up for NaNoWriMo & will be working on my first novel! Don’t be surprised if November leaves me a little sleep deprived 😉