A Bird, a Fish and NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo WinnerWhile sitting on the bridge ramp to the drawbridge over the Intracoastal Waterway one afternoon, I turned to look out at the water and enjoy the view.

There, not 10 feet from my car was an osprey. Regal in its glossy black-brown feathers and eagle-white head, it was completely oblivious to its audience.

I opened the windows and shut the car off, a rare moment to just be: to listen to the sounds around me, to smell the river and the marsh, and to watch the large bird who was so focused on looking for his prey in the waters 20 feet below us.

What spoke to me most was its focus. The flashing lights and gonging bells of the safety arms of the opened bridge made no difference. The gulls calling out overhead had no impact. The pelicans soaring above on their way to the ocean, didn’t even warrant a look.

Then, as the masts of the sailboat passed through the bridge opening, the osprey descended out of sight and for a second, I was sad that it was gone. My break was over. But, for almost ten blissful minutes, I enjoyed a timeless lesson taught to me by a bird. To be who I am – and to stay focused.

As I started my car, the osprey reappeared from the river below, a large fish clutched in its talons. It flew above my opened sunroof, allowing me a glimpse of its catch as it passed by seemingly without effort. He had is prize, his reward for staying focused.

For a split second, I wondered what I’d do if that big fish wriggled free and ended up in my car, sliding onto my leather seats through that open roof. Would the osprey swoop back over in search of it or let go with a shrug? What would I do with a big squirmy fish in my car? Ugh. That’s how a writer’s mind works, the “what-ifs” always swirling about, I guess.

But what I remembered in those moments, was that the difference between success and failure in this business – as in life itself, I guess – is our focus.

As many of us head into NANOWRIMO, commonly known among writers as NaNo, (National Novel Writing Month) I’ve decided again to dive in. To use the month to focus on that novel that sits only half written. And focus I can do – for a month, anyway – just one day at a time. In 2010, I finished the first draft of the book that later (yes, after MUCH editing) won several awards, among them the Royal Palm Literary Award. I have not completed (min of 50,000 words in 30 days) a NaNo since then.

To all who are participating in NANO this year, which starts tomorrow, remember to just write, write, write! No editing, no reviewing, no judgments about what is good or not. Just write. It can be the most freeing month of the entire year!

Good luck and keep reading and writing!


About NL Quatrano

Award-winning author, speaker, editor and ghost writer, Nancy owns a full-time editing, writing and specialty publishing business: On-Target Words/WC Publishing. Volunteer/member of professional writing organizations including Florida Writers Assoc., Sisters in Crime, and AWAI. 2010 Professional Woman of the Year by the NAPW. Linked in Editor Pick May 2013. International Women's Leadership Association nominee for Outstanding Leadership 2014. Author of Murder in Black and White, Still Shot, Merciful Blessings, and numerous published short stories.
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