Monday, October 18, 2010

Time Has Come Today

Transitions have been on my mind lately. The onset of fall color and cooler temps is one reason. Another is that a dear uncle, almost 90, is ready to die but his body hangs on. Still another reason is that I celebrate my 45th birthday later this week.

These transitions remind me that much is out of our control including aging and death. This realization doesn’t make me sad. I’m comforted by the things I can control. Such as:
  • How I use (or waste) my talents while on this earth.
  • How I appreciate (or ignore) the universe’s plan for me.
  • How I nurture (or harm) my body and spirit.
  • How I treat (or mistreat) others.

My new career path (writing fiction) is a daily lesson in letting go of control. I cannot force an agent to read my manuscript more quickly or to offer representation. I cannot will a publisher to be excited enough to make an offer. I cannot guarantee that readers will buy my book.

I *can* carve out time to write and make it a priority. I can do my best every day, learn what I can, improve my craft, and enjoy the process instead of lapsing into “wait until” thinking.

What things have you tried to control in the past and have you found ways to release that control?

Here's a song to get you thinking: Time Has Come Today by The Chambers Brothers and covered by the Ramones.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oh Yeah, That Bird-in-Hand Thing

Yikes. There goes my goal of writing a blog post weekly. I'm going to blame my apathy on my sugar detox which has left me cranky, tired and demotivated. (Oh, my day job does that to me, too. Hmmm... is there a detox for that?)

I'm feeling sort of poopy about writing right now. (I know, same old story!) At least there are waves of productivity to counteract the blue periods of self-doubt.

A vice president at a major publishing house gave me phenomenal feedback on my writing during the Taos Writers' Conference this past July. She asked what else I was working on and I described "23 Conversations before My Funeral," a manuscript I've started and stopped a hundred times. She LOVED the idea and offered to review the first 100 pages when I got that far. She gave me her personal email address. Bazinga!

So, what did I do? I jumped into writing on my young adult novel "Hannah's Half" and didn't touch the manuscript that interested her.

My husband (Logical Science Man) reminded me recently that the VP is actually a bird in the hand. He wondered why I wasn't jumping all over "23 Conversations." I don't know why. I'm not "feeling" it? It's a tough story with tough themes? Crap. I don't have the answer. But I know he's right. And so, I started back at it again this weekend.

Have you ever put off something you knew was in your best interest because the next steps were hard or ambiguous? How did you re-motivate yourself to do what you knew was best for your personal life or career?

ADDENDUM: Holy sychronicities! I did a search for the bird photo for this post and downloaded the one above. Then, I just saw the page it came from: an article on procrastination! Check out this quote:

Lack of confidence, sometimes alternating with unrealistic dreams of heroic success, often leads to procrastination, and many studies suggest that procrastinators are self-handicappers: rather than risk failure, they prefer to create conditions that make success impossible, a reflex that of course creates a vicious cycle.