Knowing

Knowing

We’re halfway through the year and I have been reading a lot about reevaluating goals for the reminder of the year.

At the end of 2017, I laid out my writing goals for 2018. They included finishing the 1st draft of my novel, pitching or submitting work each week, be open to speaking opportunities, apply for fellowships and completing an E-book.

Reflecting on the first half of this year, I haven’t pitched every week but I have had my work published on 2 sites. I was on a panel for James River Writers’ January Writing Show and had the pleasure of speaking to Riverside Young Writers. I haven’t applied for any fellowships but I did apply to be part of a digital storytelling conference (still waiting to hear about it). I haven’t finished the first draft of my novel but I did complete my first E-book available on this site:

IMG_20180516_134322_627

I  am proud of the strides I have made. I am letting go of the weekly submission goal. The goal that is most important to me besides keeping up with this blog is finishing the first draft of my novel. It is the one thing that matters most to me.

I don’t want to go into 2019 wondering what it will be like to finish.

I just want to know.

Be Unapologetic

Be Unapologetic

I went to a movie earlier this afternoon. Two elderly ladies in the mostly empty theater decided to sit right next to me. Normally, I would be a bit annoyed because I love my personal space. However, they seemed sweet so I quickly got over myself and settled in for the show.

And I was glad I did. The woman who sat next to me practically catcalled when an actor she found attractive graced the screen. About halfway through, she belted out a few lines from  “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate as it played in the film.

I had to pull myself together to keep from laughing. After I got home, she stayed on my mind. She reminded me of the little girl I watched throw her whole body and spirit in the middle of the studio floor at the end of Afro-Caribbean dance class a few months ago.

A girl of no more than 5 years old and a woman at least 60 years young with something to learn from and something in common. Their ability to let go and unapologetically be themselves.

I can’t say I am able to do that enough. I think too much. I pour over decisions and ask too many questions to too many people at times. Sometimes, I feel like I am “too much” or ” not enough”–whatever that means.

When I revisit my novel, my brain generally goes through all of those thoughts, those insecurities that seem to want to make a home in my mind. I want to invite those feelings to leave and embody more of what I felt today sitting next to that spirited woman.

I want to invite myself to let it go. Be unapologetic when I sit down to develop my characters and finish telling the story I believe I was always meant to write.

So much more…

So much more…

While I was at Whole Foods today, I ran into an old co-worker. There were the regular pleasantries but then the inevitable question came: “Where are you now?”

And I had to think about it. I knew what he meant and I mumbled something about trying to freelance and we soon parted ways. Not that I had to pour the whole and complete truth out with all the details but after I left, I realize I am probably not sharing enough with my closest friends and family about the doubt I do feel along this journey.

I don’t doubt whether I want to write or that if I continue to write, at some point in time successes will come. I have moments where I let the frustration take over or the uncertainty of the “when” consume me. I know better but in those moments when I am asked what I am up to now, I want to be able to say so much more.

After I think that, I realize it’s up to me to make “so much more” happen. It’s up to me to approach vendors for partnerships with my E-book, pitch more publications and devote more time consistently to the completion of my novel. None of this is news. Just because more effort doesn’t guarantee more success immediately doesn’t mean I should stop being as aggressive with my other goals outside of blogging.

I believe our psyches crave instant gratification especially in our social media age. Patience is a discipline I struggle with the most. I have to remember to revel in the journey and look forward to the time when I can look back and ask “Remember when?…”

Maybe I should take comfort that I am in the same boat with millions of other creatives.

We are all working and waiting for our moment in the sun.

Sometimes we are impatient, insecure petulant children and at others, we are hardworking, giving people who are humbly anticipating the chance to let our art be seen, for the message we are communicating to the world to be heard.

Until then, I will write and wait.

Write and Wait.

Back at it Again

Back at it Again

One of my writing goals for 2018 was to take writing classes again, whether it be a one-day workshop or a 6-week course. I almost didn’t start the year with a class but decided at the last minute that it should be a priority right at the beginning of the year. What makes it even more special is that it is Life in 10 Minutes again. I took a couple of sessions last year. It was my first writing class outside of school. I remember feeling so shy and unsure of myself. At the time, I was also in the throes of deciding whether or not I wanted to continue with graduate school (currently thanking God I made the right choice not to do so).  This class did two things for me: It made me take a hard look at what I really wanted for my future AND it confused me.

Why the confusion one may ask?

After cracking my shell open and reading words aloud I wouldn’t have dared just a few months before, I thought it was time to decide what kind of writer I wanted to be. It seems silly now. But I thought I was this woman trying to finish a novel and anything else was superfluous. I had to confront all of the many colors, shades and textures of who I am as a writer.

I have just come back from the first session tonight. Even with all of the new faces and voices, the feeling is the same. We read our confessions, our musings, our wishes, our regrets, our stories, our characters out loud in communion with one another. We share our art. We share our lives.

It was like I never left.

 

What’s in Store for 2018.

What’s in Store for 2018.

After tonight, the next time I post here will be on January 1, 2018. So this is the perfect time to share my writing goals for 2018 (some of which are already in full swing).

Here we go:

-Submit work to publications at least once a week

-Complete my E-Book. I have an outline. It’s time to execute.

-Complete my novel. This was on my list last year. I know achieving this goal will be a result of my effort and consistency. No excuses.

-Go to more events as part of James River Writers, our local organization for writers. I went to a Writing Show, their annual conference, a book reading and a salon but I can make time for more.

-Connect with and be of service to other writers

-Strengthen my accountability resources (Be more active in my online groups and with my current writing partners)

-Embrace opportunities to speak about my journey (whether that be as part of a panel, as a speaker or as a podcast guest)

-Read more (2 books a month). Some months I read more, some less. I would like to be more consistent.

-Continue to go to book signings (especially for local authors!)

-Continue blogging 3 times a week.

-Do #bloglikecrazy challenge with See Jane Write again in November! (That challenge stretched me and gave me the idea to incorporate Meatless Monday posts).

-Seek more opportunities to guest post (at least once a month).

-Continue to take writing classes, even if it’s just a one-day workshop.

-Write down my goals daily in my journal!

-Remember to keep having fun! This level of commitment to writing is still technically in its infancy so there is no need to compare my walk with anyone else’s. I love that last year at this time I didn’t have a blog, had never taken a writing class, had only been published on one site, never thought to apply for a fellowship, and did not have a writing group. All of that has changed in the space of one year. I feel like my eyes have sprung open. I am already excited about what goals I will get to post in December 2018.

Happy New Year to all of my readers! I wish and pray for the absolute best for all of you!

Your turn: What are some of your goals for 2018?