Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thank you, Danielle

One of the reasons I started blogging was to keep myself writing as often as possible and assist in writing my novel. Well, here I am and it has been a month since I have posted. I realize that no one is waiting with baited breath for my latest entry but when my good friend Danielle wrote to me on Facebook last night and said she missed my posts, well, I was somewhat shamed into doing it. (Not that you shamed me, Danielle! You simply put out there what I had been thinking) Besides, I went to Catholic school and am from the most Irish Catholic family you can find - guilt, shame, and not talking about things are the way we roll. So, thank you Danielle!
Accountability is important in reaching a goal. I was at a training last night for my Stella & Dot business and one of the things we talked about was goal setting. Apparently, there have been studies done and people who have goals, write them down, and revisit those goals are more likely to achieve them (makes sense) and earn nine times more than people who don't. Absolutely - when you write it down it becomes concrete and not some random thought floating through your head. (I realize this writing is not my most eloquent and not even grammatically correct, but hey, sometimes if you wait for perfection, nothing happens, right? I'm all heart in this post :-) )
When you articulate a goal, you put it out there - and not only does it keep you accountable, but if you're smart enough to put it somewhere you can see it, it stays with you and you begin to think about that goal and how you can get there. And then you take steps to achieve it. One foot in front of the other - or one sentence in front of the other, in my case.
I have put my writing aside. I spent a good six months researching and trying to get a good start on my novel. Things weren't adding up and that was when I ran into a wall of fear. Maybe I really couldn't do this - maybe I should just forget it, it's not working. Or, even, what if I was successful? Fear can be a useful emotion if you recognize it for what it is - either that something is wrong and you need to change it - or, as I believe in my case, that I was on the verge of a breakthrough and got spooked. So unconsciously, I distracted myself. I started cooking a lot, trying to get back on an exercise routine, started Stella & Dot. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Stella & Dot and am so glad I did it. But I think my tricky little brain was trying to distract my from my original goal. Hey, knowing is half the battle, right?
I think my approach to my novel before was all or nothing. Perhaps I needed this break to get some perspective. I don't have to write a chapter a day. Or even 1,000 words. That would be nice, but at this stage, not possible. So, let's start with a sentence:

Today was the last day of Father McCauley's life, but he had not yet achieved his sacred contract.

Ok, so maybe that will go nowhere. Maybe it won't even fit in the story, but it is something. If you're a writer, you may know Anne Lamott's idea of shitty first drafts. Novels don't spring from our minds, fully formed and plotted. They often start with utterly crappy writing but sometimes from that pool of shit, you can pull out something usable. I wanted fully formed and plotted but it just wasn't happening. I'm not that kind of writer, although I would like to be.

I am amazed that my kids aren't up yet as the clock ticks toward 8:00 - this just doesn't happen. Usually I am up to my elbows in diapers and screaming kids by now - and since time is precious and I need a shower, I must end here. So there it is, my rambling somewhat incoherent post. It may be shit, but it's something. :-)