Today I was really tired. I'm not sure why, but I yawned all the way through work, lunch with a friend, and checking my email when I got home. I felt so drained. I scrolled through Facebook, and saw several video clips and things I normally would have taken the time to watch/read, but it was just TOO MUCH. I decided I really needed a nap, so even though it was 5 p.m. and even though I should probably have started making dinner, and even though.......whatever, I decided to take a nap.
But first, I read this. I love this author/writer/mom blogger - she is SO entertaining and down-to-earth and just so full of love for her little girls, it's refreshing. I can relate to so many of her posts and her writing is laugh-out-loud funny. She totally deserves this amazing honor - her e-book "Ketchup is a Vegetable" hit #3 on the NYT best-seller list for e-books. Plus she's lost a lot of weight and started RUNNING, of all God-forsaken things.
And I realized - these are all things I want to do. I'm not ashamed to admit I felt the pang of jealousy and wondered if I might ever know the joy of getting such an honor for my writing or know what it's like to be fit and healthy? I know "I can do it" because that's what everyone says (including Robin!). And I know it's up to me - no one else can do it for me, no amount of encouragement will fabricate results - only I can make it happen.
And it's SO HARD. I love my writing - truly, it's my passion - the one thing that fuels me. I write for me. If someone else enjoys it, that's a bonus. I've always been a writer, but until this blog, my writing was a necessity - an assignment, a letter, an email. Sure, I've kept journals for my kids, written a few anecdotes. But when I started this blog, I realized I had a wealth of material right in front of me. My family, blended and blessed, and all the challenges we faced, all the joys, all the funny stuff. I wanted to memorialize it. It was like a journal for everyone.
This summer I started getting the stories in my blog organized to see if I had some book material. I have a couple of book ideas sprung from my blog, and I figured I needed to organize my nearly 900 posts into some sort of categories. Plus, I'm sure I've repeated myself over the years. But even with the stretch of summer and freedom that I enjoy from working in the school district and having summers off, there never seemed to be enough time and I didn't finish it. Yet.
Once school started, I found myself in a pattern - work part-time, spend a couple of hours each day running errands or occasionally meeting a friend for lunch, come home, stay busy for several hours with "home stuff" and finding myself too tired to work out, write, or do much of anything. I don't like it. I would like more than anything to stay home and write. My newly-graduated daughter is doing that - and has spent every day since her graduation doing just that. I'm glad she's pursuing her passion, and I don't want to discourage her, but as all writers know, writing does not pay the bills - at least not right away! In her case, she has no bills to pay, but she's an adult now, and will have to enroll in school or get a job - that's just reality. That's my reality.
I want to write like it's my job, and then make it my job. And as Robin said "what if I never started?" I feel as though I've started but I'm stuck. I've started working out, eating right, and then there's a birthday or a holiday or just coffee with my friend where the pastries are all too tempting. Or I get sick. Or injured. Or any number of things that derail me. And I KNOW I can't stop, I have to jump right back in, but it's so much easier (and less stressful) to take it easy on myself. To allow myself the excuses that keep me from moving forward.
I do believe that a lot of people "get lucky." That they know someone, or have a money source, or some other way in which they are advantaged over the rest of us. But I also know there are so many who are just like me. People who love to write. Someone who wants to get in shape, to learn to run, to DO something different and shake things up. And there are those who have so much drive - they won't stop until they meet their goals, and then they create newer, bigger goals and just keep going.
Goals scare me. I feel like they are failures on a list. I feel terrible when I've set a goal and I don't achieve it. I stopped making New Year's resolutions years ago, because it seemed they only lasted a day or two. Where people get that drive and determination confounds me. Of course we all slip up. It's being able to jump back in with even more resolve than before that eludes me.
I tell myself I am my most productive in the mornings. Maybe it's true, but that means I spend my most productive times at my job. I'm also rather inspired at night and a lot of my writing happens late. But I have the pressure of needing to get to bed because I have to wake up to an early alarm, so I cut myself short. I'm tired almost all the time. I know regular exercise and a good diet would help that. But I come home too tired to work out, and my meal times are all wonky because of my work schedule. I try to tweak things and get exercise wherever I can, but it's never going to be enough to see real change. Just like writing a blog post every few days is never going to write my book.
I applaud Robin, and others like her, who have done this and more. Even with their children (younger than mine!), their laundry, their errands, carpools, soccer practices, and all the never-ending details of daily life. Not surprisingly, this is where their material comes from. Their daily life, the funny things their kids say and do - these are what fill the pages of their books. If I never write anything but the blog book of our lives only for my children's eyes, I will be happy and feel accomplished. I don't need a ton of praise or kudos. Those are the icing on the cake. But what I do need is to fulfill a really big goal. To know I can do it. To "kick life's ass." Just like Robin. You go, girl! And with any luck (and hard work), I'll be right behind you, either with a keyboard or my running shoes. I just can't stop. I can't get stuck. Gotta keep moving.