Cake and Ice Cream Causes Writer to Stop Writing

I accept that when I make a major life decision that there will be an obstacle or two along the way.

The day before I decided that writing was a passion I could no longer ignore, my computer worked, my calendar was blank, and I hadn’t had a health issue — ever.

Life gets interesting fast when you dare to challenge the inertia that comes from accepting what fate has given you.

Telling myself that handwriting my stories, negotiating writing time with my calendar and studying the drama inside a hospital would make me a better storyteller worked for the writer in me. But sometimes I feel like my life is film but with the boring parts added back in!

That’s the trouble.

I can handle the boulder rolling in my path. It’s a challenge. It can actually be interesting. It’s as if Life is asking how bad do you want this? Enough to work through these big challenges?

Let me show you I can do it! All those others who claim to want to achieve something but never get off the couch are going to eat it as I cruise by. In my mind, I’m an admirable warrior meeting the challenges with flair and style.

Badass…writer…(don’t laugh).

So, if a broken computer, not enough time, and health issues are obstacles I can defeat as proof of my will to write professionally, what’s the problem?

Cake and ice cream.

Being a writer I can distance myself from my life events and think this is just like in the movies! It’s what makes life interesting! This is what people write and everyone thinks it’s exciting!

But after awhile trudging through life all day gets pretty routine.

I can recognize the big things as testing my will to work towards my goal.

It’s the other things that come wrapped up pretty, begging me to give them a try.

Cake and ice cream.

I know it’s going to be good.

I have limited time each day to write. Or eat cake.

In 20 minutes I can write a couple hundred words. Or I can eat and oh, I don’t know, have a second slice and then tell the person who made it how I loved it, google the recipe, send it to all my friends. There I go blowing writing time.

It didn’t look like an obstacle.

I had a chance to direct a local group of kids in a play this spring. None of them are professionals—just a community thing but I thought it would be good to start somewhere in understanding how words on paper translate into action. My mind whirled with all the things I needed to do to make it a success.

Seems reasonable.

Except it would cut significantly into my writing time.

There was a time I would have accepted the job without a second thought. Hey, I got asked because someone recognized I could do a good job. I guess I should do it.

No, I shouldn’t.

Cake and ice cream isn’t as always as good as it looks. Right now I need to get words—lots of words—on paper.

I have a low tolerance for boredom. So I have a tendency to mistake pretty opportunities as good things…and not obstacles to writing.

I signed up for an intro to voice acting class. Doing something a little out of my range and maybe find something else I could do to supplement my income. I researched it and realized it would take as much dedication as pursuing a writing career. Still I went to the class. The instructor had us read various copy. She told me later I had potential if I wanted to pursue it. At that moment an invisible hand slapped me upside the head. What was I thinking? Just because I could, should I?

Cake and ice cream.

I need to write.


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Where you aim, is where you land

Where you aim, is where you land.

                                                 ~garet pezz

There are exceptions. Of course.

But if you set out to put dinner on the table for your loved ones, that’s what they get.  Food. If, on the other hand you set out to make it an evening to remember, suddenly there’s wine, great bread, and a dish everyone raves about.  And, oh, dessert.  Yum.

Goals are great.

As markers on the route you’ve chosen. 

You decide to write a book. Then what?  So you decide to attend college then what?  You want to go on vacation.  And? And?

You saved and you went on your vacation to the Bahamas.  You met your goal, no more, no less. Done. What if you’d reached for more?  What if you’d aimed for having the ability to go on any vacation you wanted?  Surely, you would have gone to the Bahamas…and so many other places. Because you went beyond the easily attainable goal. 

You aimed for college. You got it done. Now what? Did you take whatever came as a result of that goal? But what if you’d aimed farther? For a certain career, a kind of lifestyle? You still would’ve attended college but maybe with a different attitude.  Choices would have been different.  You’d have a degree and so much more.

You wrote a book. Terrific. At least you finished.  But what if you’d aimed for more? A career as a professional writer–however you define that. Requires more effort, right? You would’ve learned and sacrificed and pushed yourself. The book would’ve been done but in the process you’d have so much more.

Where you aim, is where you land. You won’t go any further than where you aim. Is that where you want to end up?

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Getting Good

Getting Good

I think one of the most satisfying experiences is getting good.

I know some talk about “enjoying the journey”, “the trip is half the fun”, or “stop and smell the roses”. But what I mean is more than that.

Getting good and enjoying it.

More than “self-improvement”. That implies a negative that must be corrected. Getting good is more about making choices to achieve something and the delight in discovering how it’s done.

What I find is there is so much potential to create something meaningful in my life. There are so many choices. No reason to lack something to accomplish.

There’s power and magic in realizing today I’m doing something that yesterday didn’t exist.

Just a couple of years ago I decided that out of all the things I can do, all the things I could do, what I really wanted to do was write professionally. Writing is a passion that had been, until that moment, like a long lost lover that I’d occasionally fantasize about but never really thought I’d connect with again.

What happened was exactly what I’d said I’d never let happen. Life shaped my decisions. I thought I was making the decisions. But those decisions had already been predetermined by others’ expectations or what I assumed were others’ expectations.

A role was assigned to me based on some decisions I made without realizing others were using them to limit me. But I did my best to overachieve anything handed to me without regard to whether it suited my life.

Sure I spent a few days lamenting the waste of perfectly good potential. Then I realized, well, at least I know one thing. I like getting good at something. The trick was to find that something I WANTED to do.

I suppose when I look back at it all I wasn’t ready to pursue my passion earlier; otherwise, I wouldn’t have let so many things get in the way. Plus I didn’t understand the joy of getting good. Back then I had one thought—the goal of being a professional writer. For some reason I thought it would just happen. I acknowledged it would take hard work but I wasn’t defining hard work in any way that was hard. I was impatient to achieve that goal. I didn’t want to get behind in achieving which meant in the end I never really actively worked towards that goal. I think I never had anything to say in terms of writing because it seemed impossible to reach the goal as I had defined it. I was stuck wondering what would be the point of all that hard work and I didn’t achieve my goal?

I wrote sporadically, never understanding the pleasure of getting good.

I thought it was all about waking up one day having accomplished my goal and discovering the secret key that guaranteed success.

What I know now is if I had somehow achieved that goal so easily it may have been great and wonderful, and maybe full of fame and fortune opportunities and the ever elusive chance to use the F-word at everyone who ever doubted me. BUT the vacuum left after reaching it would have been overwhelming.

The goal doesn’t fill you but getting good does.

I so wanted to rush being good at writing (or art, my other love) and being an impatient perfectionist I did nothing towards getting it. Instead I filled my creative spirit with tasks, projects and work that mimicked what I longed to do. I danced around it.

Fortunately, those skills and traits useful for a professional writer revealed themselves in whatever I occupied myself with at the moment. I’d be asked to review a new piece of legislation and rewrite it in English. Or I’d be tapped to head up a celebration or fundraiser because of my attention to detail all the while keeping an eye on the big picture.

Maybe I needed to be diverted awhile in order to become a better writer. If I had forced it earlier I cringe at what I would have inflicted on the world. Also, I would have learned that I was a truly awful writer and would have believed that the rest of my life.

Fast forward to now.

I can’t get enough of writing. I haven’t sold anything yet. So what. I’m filling my days with getting good. No longer do I see that as a burden. It feels good. I read—books, scripts, blogs. I study and apply it. I watch tv or movies. I look for story in everyday events.

The whole world is open. Beckoning.

It’s all part of getting good.


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