Last weekend I was a wreck of nerves. I’m a NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison, and I had organized an event for… prospective Wrimos. I was going to talk to them about the writing challenge and why it’d be great if the joined, and also, was going to give them a few pointers about how to start writing their novels.
But for a whole week I obsessed about the content I’d give them, perfecting it and rehearsing what I was going to say again and again. I knew I knew my stuff. I know how to write and I know how to teach that, but… It was just very daunting and nerve-wracking anyway.
The nerves didn’t go away until I put myself in front of the 6 people that had attended (About 6 more arrived later but 6 people at first). And then I started talking, guiding them though characters, setting, conflict, theme… And they participated, and shared examples about their own projects, and I was excited.
It was a great thing putting a group of like-minded people together and watching them exchange opinions and ideas about writing. And I realized then how much they had to give to the world through their words. It was kind of humbling.
We were talking about theme, when someone asked, ‘but, is it necessary that theme be included intentionally by the author? Can’t readers still find theme in the story even if the author didn’t set out to include a particular one?’
I truly loved her question.
And my answer was something like this:
Totally. It’s completely possible for that to happen. But here’s the thing. We have this calling, to write, and the energy and the passion to do it. But with great power comes great responsibility, right? So even though it’s not what I’d say necessary, since stories intrinsically have themes of their own without the author’s intervention, it’s our duty as writers to say something in the stories we tell.
We were nearing the end of the workshop but the whole tone shifted then.
We were no longer merely talking about the mechanics of writing a story but something deeper, something we all shared. The desire to communicate something and be listened to.
That was even more humbling.
And it’s really not just about novel writing. The desire to say something trascends all of that. We each have our own way to do it. I spent the entire week watching TED talks to try to learn something from those who do it head on, sharing their ideas in front a whole shit ton of people and hoping they’ll inspire them.
I just mean to say that it’s important you don’t forget that. That you don’t lose sight of that.
I took a huge risk putting myself out there like that. I’m an introvert so it was a huge challenge to the very essence of my being. But as I’d said before in my post about the things that are not so introverted about me, the one thing that can bring me out of my shell is my desire to say something when no one else is saying it, or saying it the way I want.
And one thing I learned from this is that it’s worth it. It’s worth it facing fears in order to share your ideas and even help people. Whether you do it through a blog, a book, videos, images, getting involved in your community in some way… All these things speak of who you are and what you’re all about.
I want to hear about what inspires you and motivates you to keep doing what you do (blogging, writing, or even just reading…)