Day 151 – Pathetic

These days it’s almost impossible to find time to write. There’s just too much going on. And in the moments where nothing is happening (which are few and usually quite late in the evenings), I just can’t quite seem to corral my thoughts and make much sense of anything. I hate that. Yet, I haven’t been able to find a way to remedy it.

I used to be able to write anywhere, anytime. I used to be able to shut out the distractions and throw a harness on my thoughts to bring out at least a few pages of something.

But somehow, I’ve just fallen way out of practice. Life has gotten busier, and a whole lot more complicated.  The distractions have grown larger and more persistent. So, I’m left with half-formed, mushy thoughts that never quite make it fully-formed and onto the page.

Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing.

The words are just getting lost. I can’t explain it. And that inner critic is barking loudly.

“You’re kidding yourself.”

“You don’t have any ideas. No original thoughts.”

“No one wants to hear what you have to say anyway.”

“Do us all a favor and just give it up already.”

“You’re no writer. Writers write things. You’re not writing shit.”

And repeat.

But my thoughts keep returning to the unfinished manuscripts, the projects that keep getting shoved aside because everything else keeps taking priority. And the new ideas keep coming too, but I just can’t carve out the time to devote to any of them. I hate myself for it. I’ve never been my best when I’m not writing. Somehow the world just spins on its side and feels unbalanced.

I hate sounding like such a fucking whiner. If you want to write, fucking write. Stop blaming the world for not having enough time and admit that you’re to blame for wasting a lot of the time you could be putting pen to paper.

I think the problem is that I’m waiting for the perfect words to come. I’m waiting or some epic inspiration, some magi that will ignite the pen in my hand and burn words onto the page that will somehow change the world.

The blank page has gotten the best of the, and it’s as if I am suddenly incapable of finding a way to turn the tables and re-establish myself as the one in charge.

But I’ll keep going. I’ll keep writing. Because if I’m nothing else, I’m too stubborn to really quit.

Day 106 – Do what you love

Day 99 – Work in progress

I’ve got a confession to make…I’ve been phoning it in a bit with this 365 Project.

I know that’s not coming as a shock to anyone who’s actually been reading this thing.

There have been far too many late nights, far too many days that got away from me and the writing became an afterthought. And wasn’t that the point of this whole project anyway–to get me writing regularly again?

I”ve got no one to blame but myself. No real excuses, other than the fact that life is busy and there’s so much going on during the day at work that sometimes it follows me home and takes over those hours late in the evening after everyone else in the house has gone to bed, those hours when I should be writing or sleeping or doing anything BUT working.

What can I say? Experiment. Fail. Learn. Repeat.

I’m finding my way, slowly. And I’ll get there, eventually. I just have to give myself some time to adjust and find my balance.

Until then, I’ll just keep trying to do some good and do a little better every day.

Bear with me.

Day 89 – What life wants from me

I had someone ask me recently how I got where I am. She wanted to know if I had all this planned. If I’d always had a master list. If I planned this life, step-by-step, and crossed off each task that added up all led me here to this place.

In all honesty, I’ve never been a super-detailed planner, unless the situation warrants it. It’s been my experience that life just never quite goes the way you plan. So I like to leave things a bit open. I like to read the room, to readjust and strategize as needed. I like to respond to the circumstances and be adaptable when life starts leading me in a new direction.

Shortly after Stevie and I moved to Arizona I read the book A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. I enjoyed Tolle’s focus on being present, on separating the “noise” that clouds our minds from who we really are beneath it. It was around the same time I started working on my memoir, and the deep introspection got me thinking a lot about my purpose. You know, the whole “Who am I? And why am I here?”

So no, I never had a detailed master plan for any of this. I never sat down and plotted out my life. I’m just here, every day, doing the best I can with what I’m given, making the choices I think are right as each new situation and issue arises. And I’m blessed beyond measure to have a beautiful family and loving friendships and a job that lights me up and challenges me and makes me feel like I’m spreading some good energy out in the world.

While I may have some goals and lofty dreams and things I’d like to accomplish, I’m excited to see what life has in store for me, where I’ll have the opportunity to go from here, the ways I can continue to grow. And whatever life wants from me, I’ll be up for the challenge.

Day 73 – #Goals

My life goals, in a nutshell.

Day 13 – Two week check-in

Okay, so I set some goals for myself at the beginning of this year. Nothing too crazy (at least I didn’t think so at the time), but nothing ever goes according to plan now does it? After these whirlwind first two weeks of the year, I figured I better do a little check-in with myself and see how things are going.

Goal #1 – Write every day. Surprisingly, so far so good here. Now, I’m not writing the great American novel, or even a whole lot worth reading, but at least there has been time set aside and words being put to paper every single day. Gotta say, I’m proud of myself on this one.

Goal #2 – Write one letter every week. Two weeks down. Two letters written. Boom! Onto the next.

Goal #3 – Read one book a week. First up, Radical Candor by Kim Scott. To be fair, I started reading this just before Christmas, but it was slow going and got set aside with the holiday craziness. I didn’t want to try and start another book until I finished this one, so I decided to count it. (Hey! My blog. My rules.) Great read. Stepping into a new leadership role in my career and hearing about this book from some of the leaders I look up to made me want to read it. A lot of the advice and suggestions should be obvious–things like caring deeply about other people, giving the time and space needed to look at things from multiple perspectives before making big decisions, and the importance of being honest and direct without letting emotion take over. Leadership has become something of a buzzword, and I think a lot of people spend a lot of time talking about leadership without really being able to clearly define what good leadership actually looks like. The book is well-written, and it definitely prompted me to reflect on the people in my life who showed me what a leader should be.

My second book of the new year is Five Plots by Erica Trabold. I found out about this book when I was catching up on some of my writing magazines over the holiday break. Erica Trabold is originally from Nebraska, and the book is a collection of her lyrical essays that explore how her life story was shaped by the Nebraska landscape, just as the Nebraska landscape was shaped by the people who lived and settled there. The writing stunning. Trabold was the winner of the inaugural Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize, and if you take the time to read her debut collection, you’ll see why. Anyone who was born, raised, or feels a connection to Nebraska should pick up a copy immediately. I already ordered one extra copy to send to some family who have moved away and still miss “home,” and I’m sure there will be more orders coming soon. The book is way good good not to share.

Goal #4 – Exercise 30 minutes every day. Well, if I’ve fallen off the wagon anywhere, it’s here. Now, I will say, I was good right up until this weekend when Henry got sick. Some mornings I was waking up at 5:00 to do 30 minutes of rowing and 30 minutes of writing (how’s that for two birds with one stone?). Other days, I was making sure I took a break during the day to get my steps in around campus during lunch, or simply counting the amount of walking I was doing in between meetings and from my car to my office and back toward my daily amount. As busy as last week turned out to be, I’m giving myself a little grace here and saying that I earned two full days of being lazy with my sick kiddo snuggled in on the couch.

Tomorrow’s a new day. Back at it. Let’s go.

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