Friday, November 07, 2014

Dancing Leaves

Leaf drifts
It's the end of autumn (or fall) and the streets and open spaces around our house are filled with fallen leaves. It's been a mild autumn and the trees have stubbornly held on to their leaves longer than usual and then dropped them all in one go. There are leaf drifts everywhere, and the wind has been making the leaves dance across the streets in swirls and whirls - I wrote a short piece of prose inspired by this earlier this week.

On a related note I've been thinking about another type of leaf recently - the leaves of a book. Regular readers may know that I'm planning to release a book on Amazon Kindle this side of Christmas, and whilst this e-book won't have actual paper leaves, it helps me to visualise it by pretending it does.

November is national novel writing month (NaNoWriMo), a fact I only learned a few weeks ago. Whilst I'm not writing a novel this year, and I've finished writing my current (non fiction) book, I'm still following the action through social media. A characteristic of NaNoWriMo is the sense of community and accountability for those participating, a bit like weight-watchers for authors!

For so many people, dreams like writing a novel are something that get put off and put back, continually shelved by the urgency of daily life. NaNoWriMo helps writers to start, persevere and finish a novel - the target is 50000 words, and some writing communities encourage participants to post daily word count totals, the equivalent of weight-loss weigh ins. 

Helpful advice and motivation is available from established authors through Twitter and other social media channels. Even physical space - places to write - are made available. I was pleased to see that our local libraries service were supporting NaNoWriMo too and encouraging writers to write in the libraries. 

On the train this week I spotted a lady typing furiously away on her laptop, which was emblazoned with numerous NaNoWriMo stickers! I *almost* went up and asked if I could take a photo for this blog post, but she was plugged into earphones, the train was just arriving at my stop, and frankly I thought it might weird her out, so I refrained.

As the eminently quotable Mark Twain said, 'the secret of getting ahead is getting started'. Starting out is crucial, but there's also something important in persevering in our dreams, and learning to complete the process. It's often more important how we finish than how we start.

How we give space to our dreams, deal with disappointment and help them grow is the subject of my book, just to whet your appetite! Please sign up here to get the latest news on my writing.

Even solo tasks like writing a novel are often better done in community - motivation and encouragement from others are like the wind which makes our dreams dance, like the autumn leaves we started with.

Have you shelved your dreams?
Maybe you're not planning to write a novel. But maybe there is a dream you've been putting off, gathering dust on a shelf, or stuck in a proverbial leaf drift. Finding an encouraging community could be the wind you need to get you started, keep going and then finish off! 

Perhaps this week you can seek out people and groups who will help you - and where you can also offer help and encouragement. It's a biblical principle that you reap what you sow, so while you're waiting for your dreams to dance, why not encourage others around you in theirs? Perhaps you could commit to pray for someone for their next step?

I'd love to hear from you - what dreams have you been putting off? Let me know in the comments below and I promise to offer some encouragement!

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