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The Myth of Someday - Guest Post by Amy Nichols


Today we are so pleased to host a guest post by Amy Nichols, author of YA thriller NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE (Knopf), which is out TOMORROW!


The Myth of Someday

The number one comment people say to me when they find out I’m an author is, “I want to write a book someday.” Maybe you’ve even said those words.

I have bad news for you. Someday doesn’t exist.

You see, I used to say the same thing. Someday I’m going to write a book. Someday I want to be an author. When I was little, I loved making up stories. I was an avid reader, gobbling up the books I’d check out from the Book Mobile every week. In high school I wrote dreadful poetry. As an English major in college, I loved learning about the lives of the authors behind the books I was studying. My first job out of college was a tech-writing gig, which was a form of writing, but not the kind I really wanted to be doing. Looking back, my life has always involved books and stories, and for as long as I can remember I’ve dreamed about being an author.

But writing isn’t practical. It isn’t a real job. It’s just a dream. A hobby. Or so I told myself, and I tucked the dream away into a corner and labeled it, “Someday”.

I dabbled in various careers. Graphic design, web design, even politics for a spell. All the while I knew what I really wanted to be doing was writing books.

So, why didn’t I write?

Fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Maybe even fear of success. Lots and lots of fear.

When people tell me they want to write a book, I often ask them why they don’t give it a try. Usually they’ll say they don’t have time, or they will after they [fill in the blank]. After they finish school. After their kids are grown. After they retire.

There it is again. Do you hear it? Someday.

Here’s a story. Once upon many years ago now, my husband and I celebrated Hogmanay (New Years) in Edinburgh, Scotland, with a couple of friends. Being on the Princes Street is their equivalent of Times Square. This was before it was a ticketed event, and the streets were teeming with people. It was incredible. People from all over the world had gathered there below Edinburgh Castle to celebrate the new year. I’ll never forget how the fireworks looked as they exploded in the hazy winter-night sky or the sound of 300,000 people singing “Auld Lang Syne”. Shortly after midnight, the four of us linked arms and headed off into the crowd in search of the shuttle back to our hotel.

We only got as far as The Mound when the crowds grew too thick to move. Before we could realized what had happened, we found ourselves in a crushing mass of people, and there was no way out. Have you ever been on your tippy toes in the ocean, tossed by the waves and trying to keep your head above water? Imagine that, but with people. Bodies crushed against me so tight I couldn’t expand my ribs to breathe. I lifted my face up into the sky, trying to find fresh air as more people packed in, forcing the crowd to move this way and that. I remember staring at the chimney tops and praying. At one point I thought, This is it. I’m 25 years old and I’m going to die in a crowd on New Year’s Eve in Scotland.

Spoiler: we didn’t die. But we were pretty shaken. I suffered panic attacks for a time after. My husband still doesn’t do crowds.

One minute we were singing “Auld Lang Syne” and being kissed by drunken merrymakers. The next we weren’t sure we would be aroundto see the sun rise on the new year.

Hogmanay was one of several turning points in my life. Afterward, I started doing the things I’d always wanted to do. In high school, my best friend and I had made lists of things to do before we die. I found that list and I started crossing things off.

You know why? Because there’s nothing like facing mortality to make you realize “someday” doesn’t exist.

Question for you: what if over the next week, you wrote 250 words of that novel you’ve been putting off for someday? That would be 250 words that before only existed in your head. Over a week, that’s about 35 words each day. This paragraph is 52 words. That’s not very much.

What if you did the same thing the week after that, and the week after that, and kept going? If you wrote 250 words every weekfor a year, you’d have 13,000 words of your novel written.

What if you wrote 500 words instead? That’s about the length of two typed pages. If you wrote 500 words a week, every week, in a year’s time you’d have 26,000 words on the page.

If you doubled it to 1000 words a week—about 142 words a day—you’ll have written 52,000 word in a year. If, like me, you write YA, you’re getting into novel length territory.

Isn’t that exciting?!

And the great thing is, they don’t have to even be the right words. They just have to be an attempt at the right words. You can worry about revising them later. But you can’t revise a blank page. Getting the story down is the first, and most difficult, step.

Until you break down the numbers. 1000 words sounds like a lot. But as of right now, this essay is 940 words long.

Perspective changes everything.

But wait, you say. When am I going to find time to do this? I get home from work and I’m exhausted. All I want to do is eat dinner and watch The Walking Dead.

What could be more energizing than finally pursuing your dream? Is watching a television show more important than your life dream, especially when you can DVR it and watch it later as a reward for having written 100 words of the novel inside you that is dying to be written? (For the record, 100 words is about the length of the last three paragraphs.)

If you wait for someday, it will never arrive. But you have today right at your fingertips. The only question is, how will you spend it?


Bio:

Amy K. Nichols lives on the edge of the Phoenix desert with her husband and children. In the evenings, she enjoys sitting outside, counting bats and naming stars. Sometimes she names the bats. NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE is her first novel. Visit her online at amyknichols.com.

Book trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85PzKa_JTO0&list=UU9LvODN4v9P3dxwOIYlBULA






 



The opinions expressed in guest posts are the views of the designated authors and do not necessarily reflect those of YA Highway members.

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Lee Bross

Lee lives her happily ever after on the coast of Maine where she has written Tangled Webs, her historical YA debut, and fantasy YA books Fates and Chaos under pen name Lanie Bross. She also writes contemporary books for New Adult under the name L.E. Bross, debuting with Right Where You Are.

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4 comments:

  1. Great post! Totally echoes the mantra I have been chanting to myself lately, "Tomorrow begins today." Your New Years experience sounds terrifying but I'm so glad that you found a way to make it a positive turning point.

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  2. Great post with even a greater message! I'm so glad everything turned out alright on NYE for you guys and congrats on pursuing the dream!

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  3. Wonderful post. After years of saying "I'll write a novel some day" myself, I finally realized that "someday" would never come unless I made it happen. Such a small realization, but one that can be transformative.

    (I'm glad you survived New Years all those years ago!)

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  4. What an inspiring post! I got chills reading this!
    I totally agree with you that you shouldn't wait for someday and do what you can today. Although I also know how hard following your dream can be.
    When I graduated university I thought I could do anything, a year later I still hadn't found a job and eventually I decided to not wait for someday and start my dream now. I started my own blog tour organizing company and while it's hard and I am struggling, it's also been really liberating and fun and exciting to do what I really want. And I know that if I didn't take the chance now I might never do it and I would've regretted it my whole life.

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Item Reviewed: The Myth of Someday - Guest Post by Amy Nichols Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Lee Bross