School Year Resolutions

standard August 12, 2010 13 responses

I’ve never stopped feeling like the start of the school year was the “real” start of the year. When the crayons and binders go on sale at Target I start to unconsciously take stock of my life.

This year I’m coming up short. Really, really short.

– I haven’t run once since April 13th.

– For the last two months I’ve worked every night until midnight if not 1am.

– I’ve been working weekends.

– I’ve been dropping the ball on deadlines, promises, friends, family.
 – And worst of all, I haven’t touched my novel since June 30th.

I’m disappointed in myself. I’m losing focus and allowing myself to get sidetracked from my true goals, from the things that really matter to me. I’m fulfilling other people’s goals to the detriment of my health and my family.

It’s not really working for me any more.

I’m a big believer in the adage “Live your passion and the money will follow.” It’s the path of true happiness. All too often though we get confused and reverse the phrase. But you know what? Following the money never leads to passion. At best it leads to more money in the bank.

I love writing fiction. Nothing else makes me feel more fulfilled or content. It’s my passion. Sadly it’s not a lucrative one. At least it’s not a quickly or guaranteed lucrative one. But it is my passion and deep in my heart I know that if I pursued it properly it might lead somewhere. And yet, I can’t seem to allow myself the time to do what needs to be done so I can succeed as a novelist.

The school year is looming. Bright Back-to-School posters have bloomed in every store window. Supplies and cute clothes are on sale. Kids are getting hair cuts and buying new shoes. Everything smells like fresh start and possibilities. I’m going to ride that wave.

Once again I’m going to attempt to take control of my life and my future. Happiness is a choice and I’m choosing happy.

I’m going to lighten my work load and I’m going to resist filling it right back up. I’m going to start running again. I’m going to pick a race to train for. I’m going eat better, sleep more, and generally take better care of myself. And last, but most definitely not least, I’m going to take the time to finish the edits on my novel so I can finally send it out.

As a friend said this weekend, this is going to be the year of awesome. I’m determined to make it so.

It might be time for a blog refocus

standard April 5, 2010 8 responses

When I started blogging years ago it was definitely an escape. I was lonely in the evening when M was studying for his law classes and I turned to the internet for help with my burgeoning knitting passion.

Along with knit one, purl two instructions I also discovered the world of blogs, the friendship, the camaraderie, the support, and the endless sea of words.

For a girl who can never get enough to read it was like being given the keys to an endless library that never closes. 

Always a joiner, I started my own blog which I updated sporadically, taking more time to read than to write. And then, as I started on the road to motherhood, I discovered how comforting it was to blog regularly.

It was place for me to work through the ups and downs of pregnancy and early parenthood. As an added bonus, joining the mommy-blogosphere was a great way for me to connect with a ton of people living the same thing as me. It made me feel less alone, less scared, and better able to deal with the whole thing.

A stint of NaBloPoMo – blogging every day for a whole month – and I was a blogging regular. After that first month, I couldn’t stop. I blogged every single day for an entire year.

That’s a lot of blogging.

But, honestly, it was well worth it.

I cut back a bit after that year, often skipping Friday nights and always taking Saturday night off. Still a lot, but a bit more manageable.

All of that blogging has served to radically improve my writing style. It has helped me find my voice. It has given me the confidence to extend that voice beyond the blog. And even more importantly, it has granted me a priceless treasure trove of memories – a written history of the last five years.

While blogging first fulfilled a need to express myself and a need for a certain community, after a while I realized it could also be a stepping stone to another way of life. Blogging became less about journaling for myself and for posterity and more about becoming a platform for my future – a doorway to a freelance writing career, a window to the life of a novelist, the pathway to a life as a social media “expert.” 

I never lost focus of the fact that I was still blogging for me, but I did get caught up in the “it has to happen” and “it’s so important,” and “I can’t not blog because the world will ennnndd” of it all.

Which, let’s be honest, is absurd. If I skip a night none of you think I’ve died or been abducted. And if I don’t tweet for a day or two none of my 5000+ followers even notices, let alone really cares.

This blog has served me well. It has helped me make new friends, grow as a writer, get an amazing job, and take part in incredible opportunities.

I’m not going to give it up. It’s too big a part of my life.

But I am going to relax my standards.

Instead of spending all of my energy blogging every night, I’m going to refocus some of that energy on editing my book. Because, while it’s important to me to have a blog I’m proud of and I value the blog community and all it offers, it’s even more important to me to see my novel through to the end.

So if you don’t see me in your blog reader every morning, don’t panic, I’ll be back the day after, or maybe the day after that. Odds are I’ll be happier and excited about the progress I’m making on the book. And who knows, maybe my blog posts will be so much better thanks to the reduced (self imposed) pressure to write every night that you’ll be content to just read them over and over again.

What? A girl can still dream, can’t she?

Just one small step off course

standard March 25, 2010 Leave a response

On Friday I ran the last of the week 4 Couch to 5k training runs.

It was a good run. I felt great about myself as I pushed myself through the last minute of the run. It was the third time that week that I had run a total of 16 minutes (in four intervals, but still!) and I was feeling really upbeat about taking on Week 5 with its first “serious” runs.

I took the weekend off, knowing that my body needed to rest so I could face the tough challenge of the new training runs.  

Monday morning I woke up with a cough and a wrenched shoulder.

I ignored the cough and took some ibuprofen for my shoulder, but I worried all day about the run ahead. A part of me knew that it wasn’t wise to head out for something that would definitely be challenging when my shoulder was bothering me and my lungs were more than just a bit raspy. But, as you know, I have a history of letting small things detract me from my exercise goals, and I was terrified that one missed run would signal the end of this particular road.

All day I thought about my run. All day I felt my shoulder ache. All day I coughed. And yet I hashed out a tentative plan. Heat before the run to loosen the tight shoulder, ice after to make it feel better.

And then at 10, sitting on the couch, coughing every few minutes, I realized it was dumb to push myself when I was clearly ill and hurt. Even then I struggled with my decision to stay put.

I’m an all or nothing girl. I’m not good at rationalization. I’m not good at believing myself when I promise that it’s just a hiatus, not the end. When I diet I’m hard core. I can’t “cut back.” I create a firm plan I never let myself deviate from. Because I know myself. It’s never just “one” cookie. It’s one cookie followed by a “well, I cheated there, so I might as well cheat here” french fry, then a “well, since this day is shot” off plan dinner, and before you know it I’ve deviated so far off course that I can’t even see my way back to the original plan.

This night off felt like that first step off course and I was terrified I wouldn’t know how to get back.

Three nights later my cough is finally easing up and my shoulder doesn’t hurt any more. I’m starting to itch to go run instead of itch to go crawl under the covers. That itch is why, for the first day this week, I’m starting to believe that this really is just a bump in the road and not another dead end in my running career. I’ve checked in with a few other runners and I think I have a plan for my re-entry into the C25K plan.

On Saturday, when I’m good and better, I’m going to start Week 4 again. I’m going to run all three runs over the following days, and then, next week, I’ll start Week 5.

A week late. But not never. I’m not letting a little cough and a little pain derail me this time.

Goals being met right and left

standard May 21, 2009 2 responses

Back in January, when I was still struggling with the first of the winter’s viruses, and didn’t yet understand the extent of the onslaught we were about to face, I wrote a post outlining all the great plans I had for the coming year. I came across the post last night while I was searching the archives for inspiration posts about asthma and I gave myself a mental pat on the back. I’m not doing half badly on the big ol’ plan for the year!

To be specific…
– I wanted to “declutter and organize our home.” OK. One quick glance around might make you think I’ve failed dramatically at that. But! BUT! We did organize the kid’s toys, more or less, and when we actually take the time to clean up the place doesn’t look half bad. Plus, I mastered the laundry, which was definitely on the list of things to take care off in the big declutter project, so there’s always that.

– I wanted to “write my book.” Well, as of today I have 39 388 words written. That’s a lot more, as in, 30 000 more, words than I had back in January. And also it marks the halfway point in my 80 000 word first draft goal. So BOO YAH to me on that! I’m getting the thing written. In fact, my current goal is to have the first draft written by the end of June. I’ll keep you posted.

– I wanted to “overcome my self sabotaging tendencies.” Uh. Yeah, about that… Hey! Look over there! Something shiny!

– I wanted to “write and sell an article to a magazine.” After a couple false starts on that I’ve finally done it. My first article is slated to be published in the June edition of a local journal called Parenting on the Peninsula. I cannot wait to see my name in print.

– I wanted to be “nominated for a blog award.” That ship sailed silently by, but I’m fine with that. Whatever, there’s always next year, and the year after that, and the one after that. In the meantime my readership is growing one faithful reader at a time and I’m more than just fine with that. Because you guys are great and you’re really the only ones who really matter.

So, you see? I’m doing pretty well, no? In fact, I’m starting to think I might need to come up with some goals for the second half of the year. Though maybe just getting the book written and sticking to my diet is plan enough for me. Wouldn’t want to get too ambitious or anything.