Posted in My Process, The Writer's Life

Breaking Ranks…

If you’ve followed me online, here or elsewhere, you’ll likely recall that I usually take part in NanoWrimo. It is one of the few times of year that I really buckle down to focus on putting substantial word counts on the page along with other amazing writers. This year, I’m breaking away from the tradition. Not because I have no story to work on, but because I need to break from routines that haven’t served me well.

November has always seemed to me to be a bad month for such a major challenge. I mean, it is the middle of the holiday season and many people have extra obligations on their time with family gatherings, travel, end of the year deadlines looming, and events related to celebrations to attend or plan. Without fail, for me, there have just been too many distractions in the month of November to make the challenge without a significant amount of unnecessary stress. This year, when the Preptober videos started to pop into my YouTube feed, I recognized that there really was no way for me to commit to the challenge.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Life has changed for millions of us with the onset of this pandemic. It would be a lie to say that I’ve not seen some significant changes in my own life. Losing a job in April and now finding that, despite the lifting of restrictions, the job market for people with my skills is simply not bouncing back, well, that’s left me in a real predicament that I will need to remedy somehow soon. Now, add to that the fact that I’ve started back to school with a serious focus on study and there are bigger demands on my time creating more stress that factors in. Taking on a big challenge with a deadline like that is not going to make writing any easier and certainly won’t help my mental state. So, I wish those of you participating this year the best of luck in completing the 50K challenge. I’ll be cheering you all on from the sidelines!

I will say that it is not a matter of not wanting to write though. In fact, I’m happy to say that I am starting something new and what I hope will turn into something quite special for my readers. I say it is new, but it is really an older idea I’ve had floating about for a bit that I rediscovered while going through old files to organize my computer. The excitement of new characters and developing back stories is a fun part of the writing process for me. So, I will happily toil away on my laptop in my home office or in local cafes throughout November for writing and study sessions alike. In fact, I’ll probably be spotted doing just that throughout the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. I have found a great little local coffee spot closer to home. I’ll have to post a review when I get some pictures.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

I find myself slipping more lately. I haven’t been completely compliant with the idea of staying home. I can admit that much. However, I don’t get out often either. That’s something that I need to change in my life. You see, I’m one of millions that have depression. Some days are better than others. If I am truly honest, there have been more hard days than good days lately. They seem to come in waves.

For example, I’ve fought insomnia for weeks. I’ve had my days and nights mixed up making it hard to even function normally. I’ve drifted into periods of mindless surfing of social media and videos on YouTube or watching old cartoons on Amazon Prime or Netflix. I’ve read books, played mindless games on my iPad, and started to work on art pieces that never seem to get finished. Then again, I have experienced stretches where I could sleep for days on ened. Get up for just an hour or so and right back to bed for hours. My pup loves these days, mind you. I’ll try setting alarms, even multiple alarms in succession, only to sleep through them. I know that none of this is good for me, but its a viscious cycle and now being out of work, I certainly don’t have the luxury of health insurance to be able to get to the doctor.

I’ve attempted to give myself a schedule. I wanted to find things to do with myself. I think that was partly why I got back on the dating sites. Like maybe if I had somewhere to be, or someone to see and spend time with, it would help me find that motivation. It never takes long before I give up on those though. I’m just not the typical modern gal. What can I say? I’ll blog more on that at a later time though.

One good thing from all of this, I joined a local church and started getting to Sunday School more often. The insomnia has been a problem. Online services have been a blessing for me to keep up with the sermon series when I haven’t heard the alarms. The truth is, I feel like this was a very good decision and that I’m finding a group of people that are like-minded at least. So, that’s a good thing. I’m actually really looking forward to the Fall Fest they are having. It should be fun. But, despite feeling good and motivated when I leave church, it is still a struggle to find the energy and motivation to get up and get dressed to go on Sundays.

Posted in Family Life, Lessons Learned, The Writer's Life

There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow…

Sometimes, even writers, have to contemplate something other than writing and story lines. Every life is its own story. In fact, it is in living your own life to the fullest that you’ll find the greatest story you’ve ever read or, in my case, written. But, you have to truly live in it and accept it to see the gem of a tale that it is. I spent a lot of time in my life not accepting who I was and it caused me a lot of heartache, confusion, and ultimately taught me a good many lessons about myself and where I belong in the world.

556559_433592586691099_690937278_nI spent a lot of time trying to be something I wasn’t. I mentioned it before but, it warrants repeating. I tried to confine myself to labels that weren’t even remotely a good fit for my personality, beliefs, or goals in life. I explored, yes. In my exploration I was enthusiastic and wanted very much to understand. This often led people to think that I was a perfect fit in their world. For me these experiences were part of my life and part of my research for stories that I felt I needed to write. There are experiences that will turn into books as time goes on for me.

Just as everything that happens to you serve as a lesson, so too do the people who come in an out of your life. I’ve had many of these people in my time. I will never doubt their sincerity or their acceptance of who I was at that point in my life but, the fact remains, I am no longer the person that I was when they were there. I changed and so did they. And though I may wish them the best as they move forward in the adventure before them, I know I cannot be a part of that leg of their journey. So, you let go and you move on. It really is all that you can do. 

Letting go is hard. It causes pain because you lose a part of yourself when you do it. Doors close and another opens for you to walk through. In fact, I think that life is a lot like these “pick your own adventure” books that I used to love as a kid. You come to the end of a scene and you’re faced with a decision about what path to take. If “A” happens, turn to page 45. If “B” happens next then go to page 94. If “C” happens turn to page 59. We chose a path, the other doors close and we move on to the next chapter. In life there are no do-overs or going back to make another decision based on knowing the outcome. You have to learn from the experiences and push forward and make the better decision next time. That means looking at where you were, what happened, and how you reacted to it first.

There was all sorts of hype about the year 2012. It was supposed to be this turbulent time of global disasters and upheaval. My ex-husband was obsessed with all of the end-of-the-world scenarios and it was practically the only thing he ever really spoke about with any degree of passion or intelligence. So I had a healthy dose of all the focus on the dark side of that. And 2012 was indeed a year of upheaval and destruction for me. But it was also a year of rebirth, growth, and acceptance.

I can almost pinpoint the day I knew that my relationship was over with my ex-husband. It was long before the final straw that had me moving out and the truth is, I likely should have left him long before I did. Though letting go and moving on from that was painful, there was something better waiting on the other side of it all. Yes, I grieved. But, I also picked myself up, remembered who I was before he came into my life, and I went on.

timeinlifePicking up the pieces of my life wasn’t easy. I had to make some hard decisions and come to some tough realizations. It is true what they say, it is in your darkest hours that you’ll know who your true friends are. In that lowest point, I found out that people I’d once considered to be like family to me were nowhere to be found. But, I also found that the voids get filled somehow and you just press on.

The more of the baggage I lose, the more amazing things start happening. The book started flowing again. Ideas for marketing started to come. Ways to make things happen for myself became clear and doors began to open. My personal life took a dramatic turn and now, I find that I look forward to every day. Some of those days I’m working at a day job. Other days, I’m writing and marketing my book or spending time with family and friends. But, for the first time in a long time, I am the one calling the shots. Sometimes I still feel like I am floundering but overall I know that I’m putting emphasis on the right things for a change. My family, my faith, and my writing.

I can tell you that I won’t be relinquishing control over my life again any time soon. Of course, I find that my life isn’t filled with people putting expectations on me that I don’t have for myself. I am surrounding myself with people who build up my creative side, encourage me to follow my gut, and accept me and love me for who and what I am instead of what I might be or can be. That, dear readers, is really the best part of life; finding those people and enjoying the time that you’re given. Life is too short to be full of depressing thoughts, what-ifs, and people who only hold you down or degrade you.