My whole life I’ve wanted nothing more than to be an author. I don’t remember when it started and last year my mother told me that I used to drive her crazy because I would carry a notebook around and try to write stories in it even before I was capable of much actual writing.
I do remember sixth grade when my reading took off and my writing took off. I remember sitting on the bus with my knees scrunched up on the seat in front of me, writing away in my little jean covered notebook that I got at the Fashion Bug in the county seat. That year I read the first chapter of a story to my mother. Looking back, the writing was heavily steeped in Fear Street novels but my mother loved it. She thought that I was brilliant and every once in a while will still bring up the story I started way back when I was 11.
The funny thing is, I still go back to that story a lot myself. Over the years it has become more than just a story. It has become a series of four young adult paranormal novels with fully drawn characters and an actual town with a mythology and a map. I’ve tried to write it multiple times and it has never come out just right but it is there and someday I will write and polish and finish it.
When I was 11 I also started hitting tennis balls against the garage doors in the front year. To pass the time, I would take out my radio, turn on the localish pop station, and I would tell myself a story. It was a fantasy story about three sister princesses who were more than a little bad ass and really good at getting themselves into and out of trouble. Again, the world building I did without thinking about it was amazing. There were maps and mythologies and histories. Again, it stuck with me and, again, whenever I tried to write it down it didn’t come out right.
I’ve tried a lot of things in my many years of writing. I’ve tried fantasy and romance and mystery and horror. I’ve written young adult, new adult, and adult. I even experimented with using a blog to tell a story. The funny thing is that a lot of the stories I’ve tried to tell, whether completed or rotting away in folder somewhere, have stuck with me. They push at me and pick at me and want to be told BETTER. Some of them just want to be told.
Why am I thinking about this?
As you may have noticed from my Tally Monday, yesterday was a hard day for me. I woke up at 5:15 in the morning and spent the next 45 minutes tossing and turning and freaking out about my life. Every year I get older and genetically I’ll either make it to 100 or 60. I am 31 and there are so many things that I want and that I don’t have. The problem is that every single Monday I journal about all of those things and how hard I am going to work for them from here on out but by Tuesday I’m already back in the same loop of my bad habits.
I spent some time thinking yesterday, while working doggedly and dealing with a migraine, about why I do this and how I can change it and if these things really matter to me at all. What I’ve decided is that whenever I get motivated to change, I think that I need to change everything. When I was 20 I wrote pages in my journal about how to be Perfect, everything from what to eat to how to handle my hair and how to act. I painstakingly broke it down and tried to master it all at once. It was an exhilarating week but, as I’m sure you suspect, I crashed hard. And I kept trying and I kept crashing for a long time. Still I get caught up in that trap of perfection. Every week I think that I am going to master it and then fail right away.
Here’s what I decided: Instead of trying to stop smoking and drinking, eat better, work out more, stop biting my nails, quit interrupting people, write a novel, keep the house spotless, organize all of the closets, be a Perfect wife (whatever that means) and a Perfect daughter and a Perfect kitty mama, stick to a stringent budget, always say yes, make time for everyone who needs me, find the Perfect clothes, master my hair, and master my makeup, along with probably 5 million other things, I am going to focus on two things this month.
Thing 1: I am going to eat better, especially paying attention to the weekend when I tend to gorge.
Thing 2: 500 words per day, every day.
All I need to do are those two things. That’s not a lot. I can do it. I’ve already asked Hubby to ask me if I’ve done my writing at night and I’ve resurrected my MyFitnessPal. By the end of the month, I’d like my pants to be looser (and I won’t weigh myself until then). By the end of the month, I’ll have at least 15,500 words. By the end of the month, I hope to feel better physically and emotionally and spiritually. And this is how.
I will accomplish my dreams. I will put in the work.