Friday, January 9, 2009

My 'perfect' quote?

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

- Mark Twain, American writer

I was all set for this 'huge' start to a new year and new words and lots of very new things, but the moment I sat down to really 'write' my first post, I hit a perfectly blank wall. My usual quick fix for this is a quote...and in my ususal way, I browsed the 'net for about an hour looking for the perfect quote and the perfect way to write an introductory post and all sorts of other, rather pointless things, now that I acutally have to write it out.

Then I checked my email. And found the usual set of things, junk mail, a few replies and this one quote at the header of my 'healthy reflections' newletter. I read it once, twice and then I couldn't get it out of my head. It seemed to sum up what I was aiming to challenge myself with this year. Writing outside the lines, stepping away from my comfortable fantasy worlds and writing without worrying what 'everyone else' would think.

When I first started writing in earnest, about three years ago, I worried about every single word I typed. In the gap from my mind to my keyboard, I worried about all sorts of really ridiculous things, that actually takes an effort to write it as such today. I still want to backspace every two words and write one, a fruitless self-editing effort to silence my inner critic, who shall generously remain unammed at the time of this posting.

By the time the second year rolled around, I decided I was stressing too much, so I would freewrite and then print and edit obsessively on the printed copy. It saved my eyes from staring endlessly at a computer screen and watching the words form shapes while they blurred across the screen.

Last year, I finally let go. While I still edit quite a bit, more for grammar, than anything else, I don't self-edit to the point when I remove my personality and replace it with padding. As you can imagine, this has caused my writing to evolve in very different ways and very decided directions. My rate of writing picked up tremdenously and when I finally went browsing about last week, I discovered I had a lot more short stories and poems written than I'd actually ever counted.

The discovery floored me. I didn't even know I was 'capable' of writing that much. Of writing so many words and of actually sharing it with others. I was further amazed to note the writing I'd already done for the new year as well. Several short stories, plans to participate in my favorite writing events and of course, a new blog, in addition to finishing up my current work-in-progress, my NaNo novel, Tears of Muse.

Reading Mark Twain's quote, the first line, twenty years, rings inside my head. Because twenty years from now, may seem like quite a while, but that doesn't slow anything down. Time keeps moving. Days keep pasing. Years add up. Twenty years from now, I hope to be a whole different person in terms of a one who has grown and learned much. Grown closer to God and learned how to answer the endless questions that float through her head in rapid-fire. It's not a very defined 'dream' because I have not devoted any particular thought towards twenty years ahead, until today. I don't want to reach that day and sit down, thinking back over everything I've done and all the things I have written and wonder why on earth I didn't do, A, B, or C. I want to start from now and build a habit this year, so as the days pass and the years add up, I won't bemoan what I could have done, but smile and keep on writing.