As noted in a previous post, my life fell apart sometime late spring. True, it was nothing disastrous—more like a mini-emotional breakdown—but it was a call to action.
My reading slowed.
My writing was non-existent.
My health and sanity = Scary Carrie.
I’m happy to report the past six weeks have proven productive, as well as enjoyable. I started charting monthly goals, and while June’s targets were a call to action, I’m pleased to share that I met half of them (plus made progress in the other categories.) I’m in a much better place than I was just over a month ago.
And it feels great!
Even though the elements maybe stacked against us—see, even Fernando is battling wilt—fortitude works. Whether it’s through service to others, improving your own health, or embracing faith, life is about making this day better than the one before. Goals help me focus and stay accountable, how about you?
The month is almost over and I’ve not made much progress on my writing goal (one thousand out of five thousand words so far) and I’m three books behind schedule for my reading goal for the year. Plus, I just remembered the yearly goals I’ve made every year on my birthday for the past several years, and that milestone came and went a few weeks ago without me reviewing them.
It’s time to hold myself accountable and get back on track!
One thing I did finish up with was my work on the Third Annual Tracy Hurley Memorial Writing Contest hosted by Mobile Writers’ Guild. The winning stories from both middle and high school students in Mobile and Baldwin Counties are up on the MWG website (see posts from May 23 and 27, 2014.)
As for me, I’ll keep reading, writing, and watering Fernando.
A writing life is full of its own highs and lows and this week, though it’s just beginning, has both.
How do I know?
I’ve already experienced the spectrum of emotions.
Good news first: I passed twenty-five thousand words on the first draft of FORTITUDE. Most days I’m making myself write first thing in the morning and then again at night. That helps me stay focused on the storyline and keeps the characters fresh in my head.
Not so great news: my first rejection from a full manuscript submission. The publishing company gave me the opportunity to resubmit after the a few issues are beefed up and praised my quality of writing, but CORRODED is still looking for a home.
Also on the horizon this week is conducting my final meeting as president of Mobile Writers Guild. (I’ll let you decide where that scores on the spectrum.) Members vote for the new officers at the Thursday night meeting. It’s been a learning experience during the two terms I served and I’m ready to pass the mantel on to the next president.
Through it all, I’m working to keep my fortitude noncorrosive. And, yes, the fern on the oak is still alive.
Did you catch my post earlier this month about ferns? I didn’t have to wait for the summer heat to test me or the fern.
This past Sunday I had a minor freak-out about my writing goal—finishing the first draft of FORTITUDE—while I’m in my seventh month of waiting to hear back from publishers about CORRODED.
First draft goals can be hair-pulling. Waiting to hear back from the publishing industry, also nerve-racking. The two together equals fighting for sanity on at least a weekly basis.
While venting my concerns to MeLeesea Swann via chat room, she gave me the little “you can do it” and “don’t stress the numbers” and “it will happen” friendly feedback that can be easy to dismiss during epic stress moments. But then she hit me with something that made me laugh so loud I scared my kids.
DON’T LET YOUR FORTITUDE GET CORRODED.
Personalized prospective was all I needed. I shared the quote with family and our other writing friends. I even printed out copies of it on purple paper and hung them up around the house to remind me.
Then Monday morning happened.
I went outside to finish up some weeding. When I passed my little fern on the water oak, it looked like this:
ARGH! My little plant of hope, though surrounded in soft, green moss was withering away. If the fern couldn’t make it, then I might be able to keep my goals. Then I thought of fortitude being corroded and grabbed the hose. I soaked that thing and went on with my other yard work.
An hour later, no change.
Two hours, nothing.
Three hours, it looked slightly better.
About five hours later, it was back to this.
What can you do to keep your dreams alive? Be sure to involve a support system.
I’ve been in the midst of a transitional period for the past few weeks. Once again, it’s necessary to play the part of a juggler as my responsibilities shift, the weight of new expectations ruining the balance of my old schedule.
I tossed the objects into the air one at a time. Family first, of course. I wouldn’t feel the need to find the harmony of a well balanced life if it wasn’t for my family. I like to think I’d be a happy hermit among bookshelves, somewhere that the air is crisp and the scenery predominately green. Alas, family demands me to live in a hectic here and now.
Then came homeschooling, which is a different aspect of family—or rather the core of having children in the home. The more I teach, and the more I learn, the more I love it. The added bonus: it’s a good excuse to acquire even more books.
Of course, there was also Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations that needed attention. I even managed to finish a scarf for myself, so I can move on to the next project to be gifted. And I didn’t give up reading. Here’s a sampling of the past month:
(I was lucky enough to meet Laurie on November 18th—for the second time—while she was on tour to support this new release. She’s wonderful!)
Next came the earth ball of the juggling world: serving as Primary President (Jr. Sunday School) for my church’s local congregation. This is something I’ve done for many years, but have enjoyed a lovely 23 months hiatus while serving as the building’s librarian. In the library there isn’t much take home work to do—the bulk of my calling was fulfilled during church hours on the Sabbath. But now I’m working more than twelve hours a week, both the time at church—caring for the needs of over fifty children and a dozen fellow workers—plus the planning, pondering, and praying that goes along with it. The benefits are wonderful, though. Volunteer work is fulfilling on many levels and church duties are no exception, especially when children are involved! Once the new leadership (that’s counting myself) settles into a routine, and the plans for switching classes in 2011 are arranged, the time involved will reduce by about half.
But for over a week I’ve neglected to pick-up an important ball.
It’s down and rolling away.
But I just stopped it with my foot and am ready to pop it back into the air like a hacky sack. The ball is writing and my WIP, Corroded, is smudged from neglect. Time to stretch the five second rule to a ten day rule and juggle for my own sanity.