by Amanda Smith
When it is in my kitchen it reminds me to follow my heart and go write.
When I carry it upstairs to the office, it reminds me of what is essential for writing success.
Heart. Brain. Tea.
During 2014 I participated in a number of online writing challenges. When November came around, I felt worn out from a productive writing year. I had numerous manuscripts in various stages of completion and I almost, ALMOST did not sign up for Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo. Between shopping and packing for a visit to South Africa, and planning for a 14 hour layover whirlwind trip though Paris, I could not foresee room in my brain for 30 story ideas.
And yet, when the time came to sign up, my heart led me straight to Tara’s website. Having participated in PiBoIdMo the previous two years, I knew the joy and satisfaction this challenge brings. During the month I was surprised at how easy the ideas came. PiBoIdMo certainly was not my focus this year, but still, somewhere throughout each day and idea would come knocking and I would jot it down in my notebook, thinking “Well, that’s nice.” Lo and behold, the end of November came and I had 33 new ideas.
On the first day of December, I cleared my writing desk, filed all my works in progress and declared the office closed for December. I somehow remembered to sign the PiBoIdMo Winner’s Pledge. December 8, a mere 4 days before our planned trip, I received an email from Tara announcing I am a grand prize winner. I never win anything. Ever. Except this time! I had a week to “flesh out” five story ideas and submit them to one of her lovely agents for critiques. Can you say tizzy?
We flew out of Boston on a Thursday evening. We whirled through Paris on a wet Friday. We landed in South Africa on a sunny Saturday and reunited with family on Sunday, and on Monday I sat down in a bright corner at my sister-in-law’s dining room table to put meat on the bones of my story ideas.
Here is what I've learned:
- I am a writer. Everywhere. Writing has become a priority. Like breathing.
- To follow my heart. Sometimes my circumstances tell me I don’t have room for writing “right now.” My heart knows differently.
- To take my brain with me. Do the hard work. Participate, plan, plot, draft, revise, critique, tweak, and start over.
Keep writing. And some day, when you least expect it, you might get the “grand prize winner” e-mail.
Click http://taralazar.com/piboidmo/ to find out more about PiBoIdMo. Registration begins the last week in October. Thank you, Tara, for creating wonderful opportunities.