On the 69th day, I went to a small group physical training class and the “small group” ended up being me.
I appreciated the one-on-one attention. My first real attempt at pull-ups was valiant and the success was aided by a set of bands I stood on for support. Per my new usual, I left tired but proud of the work done.
Afterwards, I met a friend for my second workout –a walk in the park. She gifted me a lovely book of poetry for my birthday.
On the back of the book there was a quote that resonated deeply with me:
“Nobody warned you that the women whose feet you cut from running would give birth to daughters with wings.”
Many women like me come from silenced women, oppressed women or women who lived as if their feet were bound or cut because of what the world brainwashed them to claim as truth.
And they did give birth to women like me and many women like my dear friend who want to live out loud, feel the earth under their feet on multiple continents, hike, climb, start their own businesses, volunteer, work, raise money, take care of their families, write books and lead without apology.
Women like me who are scared to live without the recognition of their wings.
This past weekend, I attended the 2019 James River Writers Conference. I walked in this year feeling different. I didn’t care I didn’t have a book to pitch and all I wanted was to hear about was quality writing in all of the many forms it takes. I took some notes but I realized what I needed was to be around other writers.
I needed to catch up and laugh with some of my friends.
I needed to be reminded to set aside time for myself each week to put pen to paper and let this particular truth deliver a gut punch: I shouldn’t be devoting more time to my blog than to all my other writing.
Which is exactly what I have been doing for several months now.
Every novelist, screenwriter, memoirist, short story writer, journalist, poet and agent reminded me that there was story still beating inside of me.
The keynote speaker, the incomparable Marita Golden, emboldened us to celebrate ourselves as writers even if we are not published or under contract. This wise woman had me at the edge of my seat telling us how she had been birthed twice. Once on the day of her actual birth and again when her mother told her she was a writer. I also was blessed to hear her on the panel discussing memoir.
Marita shared that sometimes you need to write the memoir to free yourself to write fiction. The vulnerability in memoir panel impacted me emotionally the most. I love how they brought three writers with wildly different tales to share their points of view. I wish I could take classes regularly from Marita Golden (Migrations of the Heart), Mary Bonina (My Father’s Eyes) and Jon Pineda (Sleep in Me).
A special note about this year’s conference: It was beautiful to see the level of cultural diversity this year. James River Writers Conference has come light years in this respect, especially since my first year as an attendee in 2016. Thanks to the chair, Robin Farmer and co-chair Sonia Johnston for not only creating a conference that ignited my fire to devote more time to my craft but for creating an experience where I had the distinct pleasure of seeing faces that reflected the real world around us.
What if no one wants to buy it or display it in their stores?
These (and a few more) were some of the ugly (and natural) fears and questions that came up as I searched sites to determine what I need to buy to get this book distributed.
Then another thought came to me while in the throes of this panic.
The only way is through.
After a much needed counseling session, I accepted I will make some mistakes and maybe a few more dollars will be spent than I anticipated but that’s OK.
I won’t break because of a mistake. I was dramatizing, almost seeing a possible failure like an ancient seaside castle crumbling into the ocean. My first real foray into self-publishing will be a success not only because I believe the people who need it will love it but because I will have gone all the way through.
I have heard several thought leaders proclaim it would be a shame if you are the same person this year that you were last year. They might be right and even if they are not, I don’t want to be exactly the same.
Which is why going through 75hard is non-negotiable as is the book as is creating solo adventures for me, myself and I.
Last week, I completed my second week of #75hard challenge created by Andy Frisella. As I was in the throes of a cycle all week and took it easy on a couple of my evening workouts to heal my ankle, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a slight gain. I actually stayed the same and felt like I had more energy. I even realized I wanted to push myself a bit harder on my workouts. During my second walk this evening, I cut it short, marched in the house and threw on one of my favorite Caribbean dance workouts for the remainder of my time.
As I mentioned last week, I am starting to see my mindset shift in other ways, too. I promised myself I would get my E-book professionally printed and guess what….
I did it! I also now have a couple of leads on print on demand distributors and even though it will be an investment, what’s wrong with betting on myself?
I spent so much time afraid of risk even when I didn’t admit it to myself. This challenge is forcing me to confront my excuses. It is teaching me I am more resourceful and hard-working than I gave myself credit for.
This past Saturday, I went to work, did both workouts, drank my gallon of water and then some, read and enjoyed a comedy show. I know, without a doubt I would have made every excuse not to experience everything the day had to offer just a month ago. I was always too tired.
I am on Day 9 of the 75hard challenge. After just over a week, I was already presented with my first obstacle. On my outdoor walk on Friday, I started experiencing pain in my left ankle and that continued to annoy me into the weekend but I persevered. I chose to wear an ankle brace and did indoor weight training for 45 minutes for my second workout the last couple of days.
Before starting the challenge, I intentionally stayed away from the scale. I chose to get on last Monday morning to have another way to measure progress. This Monday showed a 4.6 lb weight loss. I am proud of it but what really made me happy was having more room in my jeans and being able to go bowling comfortably. I was also happy to see I was able to accomplish this even as my cycle started on Sunday morning.
I also love knowing I have a friend who is keeping me accountable. Just seeing a text message with a progress picture or a workout update drives me to keep up and be a source of support to her, too. Hubby also continues to fill up my gallon water each day, too. I also developed a new habit. I am using the Lose It app to track my food. I have tracked calories in the past but I never liked it before. I used to resent it. I think it’s because I had a trainer checking it and now I am completely responsible, the only judge of what I choose to put in my body.
I noticed it’s starting to bleed into other areas. I am finally turning “What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows” into a paper version which will be ready by next week. I am ready to approach wedding vendors in person and online. I was tired of talking about it and this challenge is showing me how much action truly matters.
It’s the only thing that matters.
Words are nice but sometimes that’s all they are.
And I am truly tired of my words meaning something else: Broken promises to myself.
But enough words.
I have a second workout to complete, pages to read, water to drink and my day 9 picture to take.
I have found the more I move towards what I’m supposed to be doing–writing and focusing on achieving my wellness goals through plant-based eating, the more help I receive. I know there are some who advise to keep your dreams a secret but reaching out to others has been life-saving for me. I would never say not to be careful about naysayers or people who claim to “support” in word but never in action.
Although I have definitely run across people like that in my life, I have seen that it has been more worthwhile to keep opening myself up to people. In general, I think it makes people feel good to support you by buying your books, coming to your events and sharing ideas contributing to your growth. For the people who don’t, I think it’s best to wish them well and let those people fall away in their own time.
I keep finding with those who truly supported me, it revealed their character to me. It seems when you reach milestones in life, people either rise up and support you or find a way to fade into the background. I have experienced some sadness but overall, when I started blogging and then wrote my E-book journal, I experienced so much growth that it was worth a small amount of pain.
So I vow to remain open. Open to people. Open to help. Open to contributing to others’ successes.
When it comes to this, I believe there is no such thing as going it alone.
Today, I thought a lot about promises kept. On my last post of 2017, I made several goals for 2018. Two of the goals were to complete an E-Book and to take writing classes. Although I have many more goals to reach and even more to make as the year unfolds, I realized I achieved both of those goals. I just came back from the last session of Life in 10 Minutes and I released my first E-Book last week. I am happy I didn’t wait to schedule an appointment with a coach to help me organize and provide a calendar for writing or try to put off taking class for later. I believe I would have done both at a later time but I didn’t want to kick it down the road or just assume everything “would work out.” I have been down that road many, many times before.
Tonight after class, I knew I would be back for another session soon. My teacher passed out Valentine’s candies and Dream Big was printed on one of the hearts, faded but definitely still visible.
I don’t think I should be looking for signs in candy but it made me smile nonetheless.
It’s been a couple of days since the release of my new (and first) E-Book: What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows. I am having a range of emotions. The excitement of it being in the world is here, the wondering of what to do next besides talk about it and keep writing and hope–that people buy it, use it and love it. I am processing the entire range of emotions.
I know I am proud of myself and hope that those who use it, whether it be for themselves or for those whom they wish to gift it to, find it helpful and become inspired while answering the questions and reading the prompts and quotes.
It’s interesting what you picture while writing something. I was imagining men and women of all ages reading and writing at desks, on kitchen tables, in break rooms or during quick stolen moments at work or lying in bed, recapturing memories of the relationship thus far. While I was writing, I even started thinking about my own “origin story” with hubby. I believe allowing myself to remember the details of how we met, the qualities about him that still make me swoon and how it was to meet his family for the first time strengthened my resolve to continue writing this journal and better yet, captured our “why.” By “why”, I mean why we fell in love and chose to stay there.
Because loving is action. Loving is an active decision.
Your turn: What have you done lately that has stretched or excited you? If you haven’t, why do you think that is?
Tonight, I had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed by Sharvette Mitchell on her radio talk show (www.sharvette.com) to discuss my writing and blogging journey AND…..to talk about the release of my new E-Book Journal!: What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows.
To say I am excited is an understatement. I have waited to make sure everything came together before announcing the release. The whole subject of vow writing, writing words that are meant to be spoken and helping others have been swirling around in my head for years now. It wasn’t until I was in a coaching session with Sharvette herself did I realize that I was writing a journal all along. My notes were full of questions and prompts and once the connection was made, I was determined to see it come to fruition.
I am incredibly grateful for my husband who ultimately planted the seed, my family for encouraging me and for my God who steadied me when I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing. My faith keeps me lifted. It allows me to see things through and to realize the support I was seeking was there along. I just had to see it through.
So please join me in celebrating the release of my first E-book baby to the world! It is available for purchase on my website only. It is for so many people-men or women writing vows, those planning to propose or those wanting to rekindle romance by taking that all too familiar and hopefully joyous stroll down memory lane in a love letter for Valentine’s Day or anniversary anytime of the year.
Yesterday, I received two kinds of news. We’ll start with the “negative.” I submitted two pieces to a literary magazine. Both were rejected. However, my reaction was a sigh and guess what? I’ll have something else to add to my collection.
Let me explain. Last year, I got my first official rejection from an agent I sent requested pages to after the James River Writers’ Conference 2016. The email was kind and encouraging but she just didn’t connect with the work. I called my sister (younger but so wise and confident–I believe she was secretly reading HR Manuals and Personal Development books while the rest of us were struggling with our ABCs).
After telling her what happened, she practically congratulated me! “You got your first rejection. You should print it out and hang it on your wall!” I was a little puzzled but it quickly became clear: It means I tried! It means I put myself out there! It means I actually had pages to send the agent! It means that this is the first of many so I better keep going!
I never forgot that conversation. I have saved every rejection and kept every pitch I sent out no matter the result. They are my treasures, too. I look forward to perusing them when I’ve “made it.”
On to the second kind of news. I have been asked to be a guest on a podcast! I will follow-up soon with more details. Also, the post I wrote about the 2017 Pop-Up Conference with Sharvette Mitchell was featured on her website: http://www.mitchell-productions.com. For me, the point I want to drive home is to keep going. Look forward to the failures. It means you put yourself in the arena and choose not to sit on the sidelines.
This is all I can ask of myself.
Your turn: How do you deal with rejection? Has your perspective changed as you have gotten older?