Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time to Fish or Cut Bait

"It's time to fish or cut bait."

This was one of my wonderfully wise father's favorite phrases. The great fisherman, he used this line on my sister and I more times than I care to remember. From boyfriends to career changes, he said it simply to grab our attention. I never really enjoyed the words when they escaped his lips as the simplicity of them reels one in. Then, when one realizes they are indeed snagged by them, it's all a bit disconcerting.

But, I guess, that was the point. Life shouldn't be so difficult. You either want to do something, or you don't. You either fish, or cut bait. I miss his simple - yet oh too true - philosophies and the ease with which he sauntered through his own life. I tend to think too much about where I am going, what I am doing and why I am doing it, rather than just doing it because it's fun.

Such is the matter of my writing these days. I spend way too much time wondering which type of writing I should be creating, what avenues I should explore, rather than just doing it. Which leads me here at the end of October with only a few days left before I buckle down to be part of November's NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month.

It's one month to get my crap together. To write only one thing and see if I can eek 50,000 words from it. Three years ago I came close with a young adult manuscript which I am just now putting the final touches on. The last couple years I've crashed and burned about half way through. Why? Because I thought about it too much, rather than just doing it. I cut bait and fast.

Not this time. I am fishing for the big one. There's this historical fiction piece I have wanted to claim as my own for nearly three years. The characters are all in my head. I have researched and researched and even have a cork board covered in the myriad of faces of my main character. She stares at me daily from the confines of my laundry room, waiting for me to make my move.

The stare has turned to a glare these days - "Fish or cut bait," she's saying. And it's true. She deserves to have her story told and I can tell it. Time to get the old cane pole and dough balls out. The big one is within reach.