This year I have decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The annual event occurs in November and the objective is to write a fiction work consisting of at least 50,000 words within the month.
I have begun to brainstorm plot constructs and thinking that it’s best to start from a base of ‘what-you-know’ I have decided to write about a woman’s life that followed the alternative path to mine. Then I got stuck trying to decide where to veer my character’s life off the course of mine. To make the decision easier, I sat down and mapped out (in decision tree form) all the major life decision points I’ve gone through so I could play with alternative choices. While I’m sure there is truth to the claim that even the tiniest inconsequential decision can alter our lives irreversibly, I wanted to focus on the major choose-your-own-adventure moments.
Here is my tree. Here are over 30 decisions I made which changed my life. When I look back over these decisions I have some regrets of course. I also wish I could reach out to the hurting girl that I once was who seriously contemplated suicide but passed on it only because she was too afraid of disappointing God. I’d reaffirm the value of her life and point her toward the future.
It has been a long and difficult journey just to get from where I started to where I am now and there are many more decisions yet to be considered as I progress toward my life’s end. Putting it on paper has helped me to see how God has carried me through everything all along and provides encouragement to keep striving.
If you have the time to carve out for this project, I hope you’ll consider doing so. I think it’s a useful self-analysis tool.
edit: I also realized post publication that there have been some other decisions that affected me deeply that I left off the first draft of my chart such as deciding to move my parents to VA and deciding to commit to fitness.