Blank Pages

Blank Pages

At writing group tonight, we discussed the doubts that we all face as writers, how sometimes cuddly kittens can masquerade as roaring lions.

This reminded me of one of the books I am reading right now, “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero. She writes about waking up from “The Big Snooze” when you are ready to take control of your life and relentlessly pursue your goals. She says when we start to attack our goals, there will often be unexpected trials that start to crop up. She even used the example of a woman she was coaching who finally fulfilled her dream of opening up a music studio. Soon after, the studio burned down. This woman was obviously at a crossroads. She could have chosen to wallow in her misfortune or focus on fundraising and rebuilding. She chose the latter and has been an incredible success ever since.

This was one of many examples used to inspire her readers to persist even when roadblocks seem to magically appear. Our roadblocks may never be as dramatic as a burned down building. However, the doubts can set our mindset up to destroy anything in its path and leave us with nothing but blank pages.

 

Days Like These

Days Like These

I couldn’t sleep for awhile last night so I migrated back downstairs to see if I could lie down there, in the cold. I can’t sleep with heat while my husband can happily slumber with a heating pad, sweats on and burrowed underneath the comforter. I fell asleep for a few minutes here and there but woke up, rattled by noises I heard. I wasn’t sure if it was a dream but it sounded like I heard faint arguing or whimpering. And since I have neighbors coming from multiple directions, who knows what is was?

I raced up the steps in a stupor and when I settled next to my husband, my heart was racing. I woke him to tell him about what I heard. In the light of day, I am not sure why it mattered. In that moment, I needed to get the words out.

I was finally able to shut my eyes for a couple of hours but when I went to face the day, it felt like a weight was on me. I stayed in bed, read, scrolled the phone, talked to God a little bit, shut my eyes again and then gave up the fight and came downstairs.

The fatigue is physical and maybe a little emotional. I am doing #bloglikecrazy, working on finishing the first draft of my book, thinking about working on finishing the first draft of my book to be truthful, going through a work transition and taking care of regular life and wife stuff.

Even though the day has been pretty unspectacular, I am still grateful for days like these..a chance to recover after a sleepless night, close my eyes, pray and be grateful for tomorrows.

Day 2 of #bloglikecrazy is in the books!

Execution

Execution

I knocked one goal out since last week. I submitted a piece to another publication this past week! I haven’t worked out consistently, hit my water goal or completed two essays. I definitely need to find the balance of working, going to thrilling events like the dance production “Claves Unidos” I attended on Sunday, visiting family and keeping up with my exercise and writing goals.

I wrote half of one essay that I actually really loved starting to write. All I can say right now is that while I wrote it, a lot of specific memories came up that shocked me. My goal is to finish it tomorrow. I can’t wait to publish it as part of my book.

In addition to all of these goals which I did not quite hit this past week, I realized during my See Jane Write Collective virtual coaching meeting this evening that I was not doing everything I can (or anything) to promote how much I love helping people write vows and speeches. Why bother hiding all that I love to do? I answered a message from somebody recently telling them how much I love writing words that were meant to be spoken whether it is a speech, vows, creative non-fiction pieces or poetry.

Even though I did not hit all of my goals, it is already a new week. I can work out for the rest of this week, drink my water, finish my essay, write a new one and publish a new post on Thursday. These are all clearly outlined actionable goals.

It’s just up to me to execute.

Day 21

Day 21

Day 21

It’s here!!! The final day of my Water-Workout-Write Challenge is completed. I am preparing to leave for Columbus, Ohio tomorrow morning so I have been on my feet all day. I am happy to report I barely had a coughing fit today and may only have to use my inhaler once this evening. I have fallen behind on my water intake so I will have to get on that. I know the challenge is basically over but the focus on increasing my water intake is something I want to continue.

Speaking of habits I want to continue, I’ve decided what my goals are for the foreseeable future. I will work out five days a week, publish a blog post twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, drink 100 oz. of water every day, submit to a publication or blog once a week and complete at least 2 essays a week.

The essays will be a new undertaking for me. I could never “get there” with my novel. I felt like there was a truth I was trying to tell but I was poorly disguising it as fiction. I grew up believing that one day I would use my imagination to weave a poignant and magical work of fiction. Except I haven’t been able to do it. With each writing class I’ve taken since the beginning of the year, I’ve drawn closer to the conclusion that my novel should be a book of essays. It made sense that the agent that read my work said that although she didn’t have a problem with my crafting, she didn’t “connect” with my writing. Even though she is just one person, I do believe she had a point. I will always love fiction. I have been surrounded by a lot of personal development books lately which I appreciate and have grown fond of as well. But the magic for me is in the stories. And my essays can be those stories. I am not sure what took me so long to admit it. But there it is.

These past 21 days has taught me what I should be writing right now. It has taught me that I have the discipline to issue a challenge to myself and complete it. It taught that if I make myself accountable, that I will choose not to fail. It has taught me that I need accountability. It has taught me that I want to be a disciplined person. I never placed importance on that notion before. I knew being undisciplined wasn’t taking me where I wanted to go but it never mattered enough until the lack of results wasn’t only staring me in the face, it was slapping me in the face. And the sting hurt like hell.

Outside of the lessons learned, there was a win. The piece I submitted last weekend will be published next Tuesday! I will post all the details next week. There is nothing like seeing the fruit of your labor. I am chasing that high. Even when I may feel uninspired, I am going to remember this challenge—not only the lessons that came from it but the pride I feel swelling up in me as I write these final words to close it.

There is one last thing. This blog is fairly new but I did have a few followers who read it and supported me throughout these 21 days. You know who you are.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Day 13

Day 13

Labor Day was a good one for rest. I spent my time relaxing with my hubby, reading and gleaning wisdom from The Hollywood Commandments by DeVon Franklin, catching up on email and applying for a writer’s group that may take me in the direction that I need. I have been feeling this self-imposed pressure to narrow my focus and become more goal-oriented to grow my career. This is the kind of pressure that I welcome. Earlier this week, I sent a pitch email with some ideas for a guest blog and today, I got a positive response for one of my ideas. I will definitely share more about that in time.

As I was completing the application for the writing group, I became emotional. I do not like to dwell on the past but it occurred to me how stuck I used to be and how willing I was to step in and stay in my own way. I will be eternally grateful for the decision I made to take action over the last year and for leaving the stressful job I was in 4 years ago. I would have never had the mental space to even try to write. As I was walking with a friend at the park today, it occurred to me that although neither of our lives our perfect, our conversation was mostly centered on doing something about the situations we are in. Not just complaining and venting (though we all have our moments). This is the spirit of the Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge. The spirit of Doing. Moving. Trying.

I am behind on my water intake but the night isn’t over and I will continue to sip and chug if I have to. And if I have to grab my 5lb weights again to do some semblance of a second workout, I will do that, too. I just won’t talk or write about it. I will do it.

Stay tuned for Day 14 tomorrow!