Most of the time life throws spit balls or cricket balls. Occasionally it lobs a whopping big medicine ball at my face, just to see if I am still paying attention. This year I feel that I have been bombarded with balls, from one of those automatic tennis ball throwing machines. This one takes bigger balls.
As you may remember Dear Reader, 2013 has been a very difficult innings for me. There have been issues with my day job , stress leave and anxiety. My Dear Heart was retrenched. There have been trips to hospital with follow up investigations (all clear – phew). Two of my friends have died from liver cancer (what is it about liver cancer?!) and another diagnosed with cancer. 2013 sucks!
But..I have been determined to hit back. This year I have decided to face my fears and heed some advice:
- don’t listen to ‘what ifs‘
- find something that makes me happy (I prefer to use the word content. The modern world places too much emphasis on being ‘happy’. We need many different emotions to make us human…. I digress…)
- slow down
I have merged the first two and gone back to my long time passion of writing. Over the years, I have written articles for various magazines – even won a poetry prize in grade four. When I was a child, dreaming of my future, I always saw myself as an eccentric old writer with long grey plaits, my grandchildren picking veges in the front yard. I lost that dream when entering university. ‘No money in writing; should chose a solid and stable career.’ I listened to my elders. Security won.
This year I have faced some daemons and fought with the what ifs. What if I am no good. What if I get laughed at. What if I can’t think of a story. What if I can’t make money from writing. What if… It is endless and always will be.
While on stress leave, the money was not the issue. I had the time. I decided to use it. I soon realised was that I was much, much more content when writing. I was cheerier (to my husband’s relief). I had rediscovered my itch for writing. When I didn’t write, I was grumpier (to my husband’s dismay).
Then came the eureka moment; the epiphany I had when I was younger and had lost under all the sensible, scientific learning – I had to write. It was in my DNA. It was me. Even as I complained during a third rewrite and edit, I felt complete. There was the inevitable apprehension as deadlines for short stories loomed ahead but, at the same time, there was the excitement of completion, of knowing I did that!
I had faced the fear of rejection and realised the old adage of ‘the only fear is fear itself’. I had some more very good advice: Rejections mean that I am a writer. Then I got shortlisted for one of my short stories. Bang went my other fear of being laughed at for being a crap writer. Someone liked my writing! (other than my dear friends). You Dear Reader, have given me confidence in my writing by reading my blog regularly. Thank you.
Now having hit that ball back for six, I am working on the final piece of advice: Slow down. I have to admit I cannot do six impossible things before breakfast. (Hitch Hickers’ Guide to the Galaxy has some profound insights. I also like their method of learning to fly though gravity gets in the way.)
This year, I have been blogging daily. It was originally supposed to be for daily writing practice and part of my strategy for improving my writing skills. It became a way of collecting my thoughts and has been, and will continue to be, good therapy for me. Hopefully it has been either entertaining, educational or thought provoking for you too.
This week I have been struck down with my old nemeses of allergy, vertigo and ear infection (I think my sinuses are threatening me too). I have been too unwell to do any significant amount of writing. Very frustrating! I have had some time to think (when my head has cleared).
During this time characters have been surfacing, snippets of story have been teasing me and pictures have been forming. I have reached that point where I have to return to my novel and write. NaNoWrMo is next month. While I am not officially attempting it (I really don’t need another major stressor in my life right now), I am using it as another prompt to get writing.
I cannot give up this blog however. It has been great for me to share with others, while sorting myself out. (Hopefully I don’t spout too much drivel.) So, after much soul searching (as they say), I will only be posting every two or three days. This will give me time to do the writing that I ache to do and still let you all know what I am doing and what I am thinking. I hope you will continue to visit. I still have lots of things to say.
Be excellent to one another and party on, dude.
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and the Fallout