Monthly Archives: February 2013

Slippery slope

Nothing is impossible, yada, yada, yada. We hear that a lot, right? Usually from people who have already achieved their dreams. The thing is, most of us don’t dream of doing the impossible. We dream of doing things that are quite ordinary, but for some reason we think we can’t even achieve those.

The other day I read the blog of an online acquaintence–a fellow writer, who wrote over and over how unlikely it is that she’ll even finish writing her book much less publish it. And yet, she spent most of the blog entry talking about her book. A book that, to me, sounds pretty awesome.

Now why would a writer who takes the time to come up with a good (even great!) idea for a book and plot it out and tell the world about it in her blog then use self-defeating thoughts to deconstruct everything she’s worked to build?

With the ease at which people today make their books available through Amazon.com or through the wide variety of printing and publishing companies, maybe the reverse problem has started to infect the writing world. It used to be that the hardest part was getting your book published. Now, is it writing the book? A good book, maybe.

Considering that it’s taken me the better part of four years, so far, to write and edit my first “completed” book (a book that at one point had a beginning, middle, and end), maybe my fellow blogger has a fair point. But good gracious, if you’re going to talk down to yourself throughout the entire writing process, it’s going to be much harder than it needs to be, and in the end, you’ll probably prove yourself right. You won’t be able to do it.

Not that I should talk. Until recently, I was doing the same thing. Maybe not so much in my fiction writing, but definitely in other aspects of my life. In some ways, I was more determined to be right about my perceived inability to accomplish things than I was in actually accomplishing them.

Last weekend was the end of a week punctuated not so much by actual occurrances but instead by the lack of anything I was able to notice as good.  It was filled with a lot of nothing, and the nothing eventually boiled over into something–something very bad.

So that Sunday, desperate to feel differently but unable to get there myself, I turned to a book that had been collecting dust for at least two years on my night stand, “10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace,” a gift from someone who told me she wished she had read it much sooner in life because of how impactful it was to her when she did.

I was struck by its weight after one chapter. The majority of its power takes effect in the reader. If you don’t let it impact you, it won’t. I was looking for an impact, and I invited the change.

I won’t recap the book here or anything. If you’re interested in achieving inner peace, check it out.

This blog is about writing, so, moving on, since reading Dr. Dyer’s book I think I’ve been more sensitive to how often people say they can’t do something. Dyer’s first chapter is about having a mind that’s open to everything, and the rest of the book reiturates that idea in one way or another.

Whether or not you think you can achieve anything really is irrelevant. I think I probably could make it to the first Hollywood round of American Idol, if I was still in the requisite age range. But, I don’t have any interest in being a singer, so I’d be wasting everyone’s time by even trying. The important thing is finding out what you want to do, and devoting all your efforts to achieving that, not letting yourself get distracted away from the goal, and not letting anyone, even yourself, say you can’t do it. Because any thing, with belief, is possible. Anyone who’s ever made it safely to the bottom a steep snowy hill on skiis for the first time ought to know that.

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A new day

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In a special Saturday edition of my blog, I voice an issue that has caused havoc here at The Unwritten Chapter: Thursday is not the best day for blogging — not anymore.

In considering the merit of the week’s other days, I’ve always shot down each one. After all, something always can present itself on those days to make blogging difficult. I recently read or heard somewhere that if you want to give God a good laugh, just tell Him about your plans. The same goes for Thursdays.

In recently weeks I’ve been able to contend with the challenges that Thursday brings by writing ahead of time, usually on Wednesday during my Shut-up & Write online group session with Shenandoah Valley Writers. But when I use that two hour writing period for blogging, I’m not using it for noveling, and my novel has a vicious jealous streak.

Then this week, I abandoned all forms of creative writing. My enthusiasm for the writing I do at work suffered. When you’re on deadline and the writing has to happen, you’ll find a way to do it, but it won’t necessarily be good, and it definitely won’t be fun. I’ve been living in a sort of fog all week, and it wasn’t until Wednesday at 8:55 p.m. that I really noticed. It was time for Shut-up & Write, and I didn’t care.

It was the first time since December that I didn’t participate in that Wednesday night session, the first time that I hadn’t been looking forward to it all day. This time, it totally fell off my radar.

I guess we all go through periods of feeling like life — or whatever — has thrown one too many punches and has to expend very little effort to keep us down for the count. It’s the “whatever” that’s so…well, whatever.

To feel blindsided by the attack is to feel like it must have been my fault: Why wasn’t I more dedicated to what I do? How could I have let a whole week go by without breaking out of the wake up/prepare for work/drive to work/work 8 hours/drive home/have dinner/watch The West Wing/go to bed cycle? I guess I should be glad it didn’t last longer than a week.

But now the question becomes, Do I go back to how things were before, or do I try something else? Do I choose a new day for posting my blog each week or return to jumping through hoops in order to make Thursday work? I did choose Thursday for a reason. It wasn’t as menacing as Monday or Friday seemed, and I knew of at least two other bloggers who already have Wednesday, and it’s silly but I didn’t want to steal their day. Likely I’ll have to write the blog ahead of time to make any day work. So I return to Thursday. And Thursday pummels me into the ground. Again.

I remember when Thursday was my favorite–my high school love. It was the only day that let me breathe, the only one not scheduled with an after-school activity or job. Now, 16 years later, it’s stifling, but still I want it to be my day, even though I know it’s ridiculous to think it would be the same. We’ve grown apart, Thursday and me.

So, I’ve come to a difficult conclusion. Since no one day will work every week, I’m choosing a progressive schedule: A new day every week. You can’t see me, but in just thinking of the possiblity, I’m smiling. Really smiling.

Today’s post was on Saturday. Next week’s will be on Sunday, Feb. 24.

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