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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Writing, Resolutions, & Courage. Oh my.

Well, Happy New Year, stranger. I didn’t plan to be away from the blog for so long. In fact, I didn’t PLAN to be away from it at all. Around the holidays, I took a nice long stay-cation, and I actually just came back from an extra-long weekend. You’d think I could’ve posted at least a couple times during these past several weeks.

What in the world have I been doing?

Scrubbing floors, cleaning closets, working on taxes?

Um, no.  However, I have been playing games, making cookies, and working on a jigsaw puzzle. Those things, and a few others, I did with my daughter during her winter break while Scott was out of town. It was a blissfully relaxing, go nowhere-do nothing kind of week. I could use a few more of those.

Besides the lovely Mommy/Daughter time, and the usual chores and work, I’ve also been working on my annual New Year’s Resolutions. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned once or twice, I’m a big believer in resolutions. Amidst all the external life-crap over which we have no say, it’s so important to take control over what we can: our very own little ole selves. It doesn’t have to be New Year’s Day to make a new commitment or set a new goal.  But this time of year just naturally lends itself to reflection and planning. So, I’ve been doing a bit of that too.

So, what’s it going to be this year? Exercise more, eat better, get more sleep? Those all sound pretty good. But, actually, I’ve chosen a “word of the year” again. This is a fun little exercise I’ve done the past couple of years, courtesy of Christine Kane, where you think more broadly about what you want for your life and choose a word to be your guidepost.  After some journaling and soul-searching, a word just came to me and it felt right. 

My word this year: Courage. 

This word works for me on a few different levels, but one important one revolves around my secret dream to be a writer.

Ok, maybe it’s not such a secret. But it might as well be. Heck, maybe it’s even a secret from me, for all the lack of effort I’ve made towards doing it. I think certain fears have kept me back; hence, my word of the year….

Anyway, while I haven’t been posting on my blog as much as I’d like, I have been writing nearly every day. First thing in the morning, I grab my notebook and sit down to write 3 pages, stream-of-consciousness style. This is a habit I learned from The Artist’s Way a couple of years ago. It’s a great tool for clearing your mind and tapping into your creativity. I also see it as a symbolic gesture, letting the Universe know that writing really is a priority for me.

Another thing I’ve been doing is making a point to work on my book project at least a little bit every day. This is a book I started—and stopped—writing several months ago. It’s been percolating, though, and I really want to do this. It’s fiction. And… that’s about all I’m going to say about it at this point. Hopefully, with this little-at-a-time approach, I will actually finish it this year. And then I’ll share.

Though, come to think of it, this whole blog thing is about sharing.  I've shared my thoughts and opinions here, as well as my hopes, dreams, and failures. Putting myself out there like that, for anyone and everyone to like or dislike or, more likely, to ignore or not care, requires a little courage in itself. (Or perhaps folly, depending on how you look at it.)

I suppose anything worth doing requires some measure of chutzpah, though, right? Whether the challenges are internal or external, to accomplish anything worthwhile you’ve got to gear yourself up and find the strength to overcome those challenges. You can find this strength from many sources-- other helpful people, your own inner drive, your convictions, your spirituality.

After all, courage is not the absence of fear.  Courage is when you're afraid, but you do it anyway.

So, here’s my two-bit advice for the week: Make a resolution, write it down and, with great courage, get to it. I'll let you know how it goes for me.

1 comment:

Deb said...

Hi Jennifer,
Welcome back! When i used to teach writing, I used to do a definition exercise on the word 'courage.' It gets surprisingly complicated! i do think there is a fine line between courage and folly, but i think the person who defines an act as folly is the same person who doesn't have the courage for it! :) so good luck with your writing! As someone who is risking a lot for writing right now, i can tell you i know the courage it takes!