Five days until the half-marathon. It’s crazy, because forever I felt like it was far away. And here it is. And I don’t feel ready. I mean, I can run 12 miles. Or at least walk/run and feel like I’m dying with my breathing or possibly my legs might fall off. The thing I’m most worried about is the heat and humidity. It’s supposed to be 90 degrees in Nashville on Saturday. The thing I’m looking forward to most is seeing my sisters. I love how this journey has brought us closer this year. We are all striving to do the same thing, and the common goal has brought us together. That’s pretty awesome if you think about it.
I haven’t been writing, and last week I didn’t even blog. I have been soul searching a little bit. (Of course, because don’t I always?) This week, my eleven year old told me that maybe he didn’t want to do gymnastics next year. And when I asked him why he said, “Because it’s gotten hard and it’s not as fun as it used to be.” In all my wisdom I said, “Well, if you want to quit you can. It’s your choice. But you have to make sure you’re quitting for the right reason. Are you quitting because it’s hard and you don’t like hard work? Or are you quitting because you’re ready to try something else?”
And then I went for a run with Sean on Saturday morning, and the first 2 miles were fucking amazing. Fast. And then I said I wanted to walk. And we walked/ran the last 2 miles. On the way home in the car I complained about running the half again. “Why the hell am I even doing this? It’s so stupid.” And Sean said, “You may have a bit of Caden in you. You want to quit when it gets hard.”
And he was right: I do. I’ve always had a huge amount of motivation, and I get to a certain point and then I just don’t feel like doing it anymore. So this weekend I was thinking of that in terms of my writing instead of my running. I’ve been in a funk. I started a difficult novel. And I’m 30,000 words in, and I’m stuck. But the thing is–I know what’s going to happen and how to finish it but writing it is hard. It’s hard for a million reasons, because of emotions, and the voice, and all the shit that will make it good in the end. And I also think that’s why I’ve had a hard time editing Little Birdhouses. I’ve always been the type of person who sets a goal, finishes something, then moves on to the next big thing. But I don’t want to be like that with my writing. I want to make it a lifetime of work. I want to work through the discomfort. I want to get to the end and really have produced something amazing that readers can relate to. I want to query, live through the rejection, and, eventually, become a famous writer. I have this incredible talent and this amazing dream, but I can tell you I’m never going to get there if my attitude is the same as it’s been the last few months. No one ever gets anywhere by not working hard and giving up before they’ve reached the finish line.
It’s funny, because after my talk with my running buddy on Saturday I went running with my girlfriends on Sunday morning and I had all this incredible energy. I think I could have finished the half marathon easily that day. My attitude had changed, and I felt like I’d just push through. Now if only I could apply that to my writing.
Innately, I know that success comes from hard work, and part of the feeling of accomplishment is working hard to get there. But in reality, putting that into practice is difficult for me. And yes, I know I have lots of valid excuses: three kids, husband, day job, and PTA, but in the end I need those factors to motivate me instead of serving as a roadblock to my success.
Suggestions are welcome. Do you feel like you hold yourself back from achieving your dreams?
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2 thoughts on “Countdown”
Good post! You made me think. I know I have held myself back. I’m on my third attempt to write the third book of my trilogy. The first two came easy to me, but this one isn’t. I think it’s fear, though. I have started a new home business so I’m working on changing me and building habits. Hopefully, that will help me overcome my fears.
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A couple of weeks ago, I attended this author panel at a local bookstore. I met some fascinating writers afterwards. When I told them I write, they offered the same piece of advice: keep working at it.
For as long as I can remember, hard work has always been an issue. I was so used to things coming to me so easily that I didn’t have to put forth much effort. All that changed when I decided to start writing. Because I wasn’t disciplined and not willing to put in the hard work, I quit writing for months at a time.
One day, after some encouragement, I decided to start taking my writing more seriously. To me, that meant not only writing whenever there was opportunity, but I had to show my work to people and be open to constructive criticism. I started my blog with the purpose of sharing everything about me: my writing, my opinions, my life. And so far, I’d say it’s worked out so far.
My next step is to start working on a novel. One day, this idea popped into my head, and I started to think that this might have some legs. I haven’t started writing it yet, though. I know it’s only the first of many drafts, but I’m afraid to start writing it. I have this fear if I show something this big to someone, they may not like it. But I have to be okay with it. I have to put forth the work it takes to accomplish what I want to do.
Good luck in your marathon this weekend, and good luck with your writing. Maybe we can both spur each other on.
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