The Long Haul

I’ve had to learn that if I want to succeed as a writer, I need to show up and write every day, even if I don’t feel like it. If I am going to be in writing for the long haul, I have to dedicate myself to it. That means sitting down to write even when I don’t feel well, like when I have a horrible headache and can barely see. Or when I don’t have any ideas. Or it’s the wrong time of day.

I have found that just by showing up every day my brain will give me something to write about. If I am stuck, the act of showing up gets things moving again. It’s not enough to just mull over my ideas. I need to commit to them by writing about them.

When I was a teacher, I had to show up every day, no matter what. Some days, it didn’t matter if I had a fever of 103; I still had to show up. I am trying to treat writing the same way. It’s my job. I might not be earning anything with it right now, but I am still a writer.

via Daily Prompt: Haul

Brain Freeze

Embed from Getty Images

Sometimes, when I sit down to write, my brain freezes. My ideas are frigid, locked behind a wall of icy fear. What if I’m not good enough? What if the final product doesn’t match the image in my head? On these days, my writing stutters across the page, like feet trudging through the slush. I can’t get a foothold on the story I am trying to write. I slip as I chase my elusive character. She won’t tell me who she really wants to be.

Other times, the ideas race from my brain into my pencil, like a river rushing after the Spring thaw. Everything is so clear. I race ahead of my character, my hand barely able to keep up with the words tumbling from my brain.

via Daily Prompt: Frigid

Triggered

Embed from Getty Images

I hate the word, “triggered.” It seems that everyone, whether they have suffered trauma or not, has something that triggers them. As much as I hate the word, it is the only word I can use to describe my reaction to Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen by Hannah Howard. Feast is Howard’s memoir about her undergraduate years and her battle with body image and eating disorders. As she described her feelings of inadequacy and shame about her body, I couldn’t help but think about my own life-long struggles with these same issues.

My stomach churning, I went to bed and almost cried. I thought of all the decisions in my life. The times I thought I should have turned left, but instead turned right. Then, I heard my son, Hunter, laugh. He and my husband like to stay up late, so I was in bed before they were. Hearing him laugh shook me out of my misery. I realized that all my decisions have lead me to this place, with my son and my husband. My life isn’t perfect and my career didn’t turn out as I thought it would, but I can still be proud of everything I accomplished.

I wanted to quit reading Feast, but I made myself finish it. By the end of the memoir, Howard learned to deal with her issues and to become a powerful advocate. I felt, if she could do it, as young as she is, I could do it, too, with all the experiences of my 52 years behind me. That is what I am trying to do. Always moving forward, never backward, like a shark, carving through the water of my present and my future.

via Daily Prompt: Churn

Bucket List

Embed from Getty Images

I have been reading this series by Lillianna Blake called Single Wide Female. In the series, the main character, Samantha, has a bucket list of things she promised herself she would do when she lost weight. After losing 80 pounds, she finally decides that she is tired of waiting to explore the items on her bucket list. She is still working on weight loss, but she is tired of putting her life on hold until she is thin enough to live it.

I found this series at the right moment in my life. Something just clicked for me in my 52nd year. I finally felt ready to lose the weight that has plagued me my adult life. I started exercising a couple of weeks ago. I ignored all the little nagging doubts (and the pain in my hip) and just started. I lost five pounds. It doesn’t seem like a lot but  that is the first weight I have lost in over a year. Last week, I joined Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time. This time around, I was ready for the structure. I don’t view my diet as a limitation any more but as a stepping stone to a healthier life. I have now lost seven pounds.

Another dream I have always yearned for is to become a writer. Like my weight loss, I started slow. I started writing in my journal. I found a book that would help me tackle the idea I have been thinking about. I started to write more regularly, maybe not every day, but enough to keep the flow of my writing going.

While I don’t have a bucket list that compels me to skydive or walk across hot coals, I am feeling like I want to move out of my comfort zone. I want to see what is out there for me.

via Daily Prompt: Explore

Radiant 52

I have never thought of myself as a radiant person. I am more like a hide-my-light-under-a-bushel-basket person. As I grow older, however, I feel less inclined to hide behind the expectations of others. At 52, I want to be who I am with no apologies and no hiding. I am tired of apologizing for who I am.

This is the year I am going to make my life reflect who I am on my terms. My 52nd year will be the year that I make the changes I want to make. I have stopped the self-recriminations: why didn’t I do this at 32? or 42? The important thing is that I am doing it now. I am going to come out from under the bushel basket and be radiant.

Embed from Getty Images

via Daily Prompt: Radiant