A.K.A. Go with Your Gut
March Madness, Day 13.
If you arrived here on schedule, then you know to what Madness I refer.
If your interwebby wanderlust led you to my humble cyber abode, welcome, I say to you, and check out Denise Jaden’s blog to see how blissfully mad we writers are this March (and throughout the year).
We are days away from the midpoint of our journey, how dost thou fare?
I’ve always considered myself a nonconformist, one that goes against the grain. At the same time, I’m a person who doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers. I go with the flow. So, how does that unlikely combo work?
Consider this Expectation v. Reality Scenario:
Ever start your day thinking this?
You try your hardest but you spend your day dodging curveballs and it ends like this:
That’s what my Winter 2015 Semester’s been like on the whole.
Now, I’ve been fortunate. All my deadlines have been met, even though it meant I lost a LOT of sleep. My classmates marvelled at my ability to function. In fact, I had unusual amounts of energy considering I should’ve been knocked out.
You put your body through the wringer when it counts. You have no choice. Somehow, things work out, but it’s not always case. That’s why I believe I’ve been lucky in that regard. I wouldn’t want to push the limits though. The other morning I’d intended on waking up at 04h30 and slept through two alarms. Despite my wishes to stay on top of things, my body fought back.
Me: There’s too much to do. Get up.
Writing is a wonderful, dreadful, exhilarating, exhausting, fulfilling, and draining experience, and we do it because it’s who we are.
This week, we’ve also been talking about taking care of ourselves. We’ve all heard how writers are masochists, but there’s only so much the body can take before we shut down.
Thankfully, my body didn’t hate me that much for all I’ve put it through and my internal clock had me open my eyes at 06h10, early enough to grab a quick shower and get to my 08h30 class on time.
What does all this mean?
Let’s take a look at the first half of the month. What did we do that was good for us as writers and as people? What can we improve? What can we do differently? We’ve got two weeks left in March Madness, but of course, we won’t stop there. We always keep going.
Sometimes we ask ourselves what all this is for. Is there a point to the daily struggle of putting words on a page? Should we relieve the strain on our eyes as we stare at a blank screen for X amount of minutes, hours or days?
We look to the cosmos, look all around, in search for a sign.
You see a plot hole, go in another direction. Hit a bump in your story arc, switch gears. We’re not masochists. We’re writers. We’re not quitters. We’re innovators.
Keep chugging. It’s what we do.
Down to minutes before my class, I finally got my story done, one that kept plaguing me for weeks. I churned it out because I had to. Something triggered in me–the looming deadline was definitely a part of that–and it got done. Motivation, adrenalin, fear, and running on fumes, it got done.
What surprised me was that I wrote outside my usual genre, my wheelhouse. There weren’t any teens or middle-grade protagonists in the story, but I was okay with this new territory. All part of the adventure, right? And taking these literary risks in a writing class is the perfect opportunity for experimentation with feedback in real time. What better way to grow as a writer?
I got through my biggest obstacles so far this semester and I’m looking forward to the brief reprise before I jump into my full-time program this summer: Teaching English as a Second Language. I got accepted into the program (YAY!) and I’ll get the certification I need to help pay the bills as I continue to write (DOUBLE YAY!), but I’ve got an INTENSE semester ahead, so I need to pace myself.
Trust your instincts and be prepared for anything. It’s important to take care of yourself throughout this entire process because we all know that once we’ve reached our goals, we’re gonna do it all over again.
Believe that you’re on the right path and don’t stress out over challenges on the way.
See you tomorrow at Dawn’s blog as the Madness continues.