A New Plan

Maybe it's this Texas Cold Front that has me feeling clear-headed and inspired.  Maybe it's the fact that September's arrival helped me find my school rhythm and ended my bout of August Anxiety. Whatever it is, I'm grateful for it.

I've been struggling to write since August. Actually, "struggle" is an understatement. I have been downright scared to write since August. I blamed it on going back to school, the lack of time, and all the stress that this time of year brings, but I think I was just using that as an excuse. The truth is that my Demons, Fear and Insecurity and Self-Doubt, came back with a vengeance. I thought my Summer Streak destroyed them for good because I was able to push them away during the summer and focus on my writing goals, but for some reason, I hit a major wall at the beginning of August that allowed them to creep back in to my consciousness, and I listened to their evil whispers of doubt, erasing all the progress that I had made.

Allow me to digress into the issue of time. I used to blame everything on my lack of time. It was my default excuse. "I don't have time to exercise...I don't have time to write...I don't have time to (fill in the blank)..." Blah, Blah, Blah. It's so easy to blame everything on a lack of time. But then I saw this on Pinterest:

So when you put it this way, that whole "I don't have time..." argument kind of falls a part.

Thanks for the inspiration and slap of reality in my face, Bey.

This chilly air and Fallish feel has made me formulate a new plan in my Writing Life. I was so focused on finishing the first draft before going back in to edit that it was causing me to freak out and lose my groove.
I rushed it because I know how it's all going to end, and I so desperately want to get to the end of this part of the process. And that's causing anxiety. I feel myself starting to snowball my words just to reach the bottom of the mountain (I've compared this process to running down a mountain). I know how it's all going to end, and I just want to get there.

The truth is that we do this in life. We rush through one season to get to the next. I know teachers who do this--count down the days until the next break...Thanksgiving...Christmas...Spring Break...Summer (guilty). I know parents who do this--wish away the days until their kid will sleep through the night...stop the tantrums...be able to take a bath unassisted (guilty). It's in the rushing that we lose the moments that matter the most. It's in the rushing that we press the fast-forward button on life and then wonder why it all went by in the blink of an eye.

So today, fueled on the promises of Fall, I declare, No more rushing. No more snow-balling in a frantic attempt to get to the END. No. more. I'm going to stop. Regroup. Breathe in. Breathe out. Relish in the progress that I've made so far. And make a new plan.

Here's my progress: I've written close to 300 pages. I have plotted all the way to the end. I know how it will end. I just don't have a clear path to get there.

I'm proud of these 300 pages of HOT MESS. I proud of what they represent--my dream put into action--my battle with my Demons of Doubt and Fear--my desire to NOT GIVE UP.

I'm going to start back at the beginning. I'm struggling to write at night because I'm so damn tired. My brain can't produce words because it's consumed with other stuff. I need to get lost in my own story again and find ways to make it better. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to read my story and use the beginning to write my way to the end.

That's my plan. And I hope to be ready to start the query process in the New Year. But that's another goal for another day. I'm not going to focus on that part of the process because that's the part that FREAKS ME OUT with all the "what ifs.." So I'm going to focus on the NOW. I'm going to focus on this struggle. For now, I'm just going to enjoy this moment of editing. Yes, enjoy editing. It's a hard season in the life of a writer, but I choose to find the joy in it. Right now I need to wrestle with the words that I've already written in order to find my way to the end.

I know we aren't all writing books. I know that my "struggle" might seem trite to some. We are all facing some kind of hard season in life, some harder than others. I was reminded of this reality in conversations that I had with people this week. Some of my friends are really struggling with balancing work and family; some are feeling overwhelmed in their jobs; some are facing serious health issues and family illness. So many of my friends say, "I just have to get through this." Absolutely. But let's remember this:

Whatever your struggle is, my friend, I pray that you will find some way to dance in the rain.


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