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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Challenge From A Co-Worker

Okay, so I know that this is the time that I am supposed to do the "Whatever Wednesday" thing where I grab my bag of Clue character cards and just select a topic at random.  But for two reasons alone, I'm flipping the script, and I won't be picking a Clue character card at all today.

Firstly, it's because there's something important that I want to talk about in regards to some recent events that have taken place in life that has made me rethink how I do things, and have got me thinking about doing something that I have always wanted to do, but have always put on the backburner for various reasons.

And, secondly, I can't seem to remember where I put my Clue game, so I can't actually do the drawing this week even if I wanted to.  So, maybe you could consider this the "Mr. Boddy" week, where I make stuff up on the fly!

Okay, so as you might have guessed by the title of the blog entry this week, this blog is all about challenges.  In fact, I'm going to talk about a challenge that someone issued me recently, and it's a challenge that I really want to do.  I've sort of already begun this challenge as a matter of fact, but I don't know if I can actually meet the timeline that I was given.

And, I'm guessing that by now you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about!

Okay, so part of the reason why I began this blog nearly three years ago was so I could always have something in my life that was truly mine, and that I could manage by myself.  I don't have a whole lot of opportunities to do that in my every day life, so at least by writing this blog, I'd have something positive in my life to reflect on.

But another reason why I began "A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life" was because I wanted to find a way to improve my writing skills enough so that if the opportunity came along that I could make writing a full-time job, I could transition easily from one career to another.

(At least, that's what I told myself three years ago, anyway.)

I have a confession for all of you reading this.  I never intended for writing to be my ultimate career goal.  Like most other kids growing up, the job that I wanted the most as a child completely changed from year to year.  At some point, I wanted to be a doctor, a fireman, a scientist, Prime Minister of Canada, and an ice cream salesman.  And, well...the closest that I ever got to achieving any of those jobs was the six months I worked in the frozen foods department.

Hey, I sold ice cream...I just didn't have the annoying chimes or kiddie noisemakers to attract the customers!

And, I want to tell all of you that entertaining the possibility of writing as a career goal was put on the backburner for quite a lot of years!  I mean, growing up, I had always managed to have a keen grasp of the English language.  I was the kid who would rather have played with lined notebook paper and a box of crayons instead of the hottest toys of the 1980s.  I had classmates surrounding my desk in class asking them to help spell words in their journals (and I still regret not charging them each a dime per letter).  I aced spelling tests and English assignments.  And, as long as math class used word problems, I did okay.  But, I suppose that once you got to high school, there were only so many word problems that you could use to find out the angles in an isosceles triangle.

But did I actually consider making it a career back then?  No.  The thought never even crossed my mind.  After all, I was still a kid back then.  I had all the time in the world to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

But you know, as the years passed, and I left school, I realized that out of all of the things that I tried to do, writing was the only constant.  It was the one thing that I knew how to do and do well.  It started off as a hobby to kill time in between classes, and expanded into something that I felt as though I had to do on a daily basis.  I guess in some manner, writing my thoughts out helped me get through some of the worst times of my life.  It helped me get through understanding why I always put myself down, it helped me realize that writing about my dreams was the first step towards making them come true...

...and as time passed by, it made me realize that writing is really one of the only things that I feel comfortable with doing for the rest of my life.

But, I always had excuses over why I couldn't pursue it as a career.  There were no opportunities in my town to write (which sadly is one hundred per cent true), I didn't have the time (which was bollocks, but I'll explain that later), I didn't think I would be good enough to land a book deal (the jury's still out on that one), etc, etc, etc.

But then a co-worker friend of mine issued me a little bit of a challenge while we were working a weekend shift together, and the more I think of it...the more I wonder...can I do this?

Somehow, the conversation that we were having in between serving customers transitioned to the subject of writing, and I think I brought up the fact that there was an actual novel writing competition entitled "NaNoWriMo".  He wondered what it was, and I explained that it was a competition that was held every November, in which competitors had just thirty days to write a manuscript for a whole novel.  You see, NaNoWriMo stands for "National Novel Writing Month".  It's been a tradition since 1999, and the ultimate goal is to come up with a manuscript that has a bare minimum of 50,000 words.  No prizes are given, but the project was designed so that anybody could say that they wrote a novel.  Of course, it would be up to the author to decide whether it is good enough to publish.

Well, I was telling my co-worker that I had thought about taking part in NaNoWriMo at some point, but that I didn't think I could write a novel in one month.

So, my co-worker challenged me to write a manuscript in two months instead.

Now, I've attempted to start manuscripts before.  I think I have like six unfinished projects that I began but never finished because I always managed to get writer's block.  But I've never started and finished a project that would be suitable for publication before because I always gave up on it.  I didn't think it was good enough.  And, I certainly didn't think that I had the time to write a 50,000 word book.

Of course, this was before I began writing "A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life", and I realized that I have probably typed a total of five MILLION words over the last three years.  I mean, writing one blog entry a day for the last 1,000+ days...that takes a lot of dedication.  And, given that the average blog entry has about 1,500 words in it, if I devoted that time that I write the blog to writing an actual book with a beginning, middle, and end...well, I suppose there really is no excuse.

In fact, my co-worker figured out that all I would have to do was write 834 words each day and I would easily have a 50,000 word manuscript in the time frame of two months.

So, that is my challenge.  The question I accept it?

Well...I'm going to think about it for a bit (I have started it by coming up with character sketches).  Can I actually make this a possibility.  And, what will this mean for the future of this blog, given that I already work a full-time job.  Is it really worth the risk?

I'll have my answer in tomorrow's video blog.

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