Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Doors & Windows
The last two years, I've written goals on a piece of paper on January 1st and filed them away in a small decorative box on top of my desk. Then at the end of the year, I see just how well I've done with meeting them.
Last year I did great. I exceeded the number of sales I'd set for myself with the confessions magazines and while I didn't finish writing a book, I wrote 50,000 words of it during the month of November.
On January 1, 2009, I wrote new goals, sure I could meet them. This is my list:
~ Finish writing a novel
~ Get my PRO pin
~ Pitch the novel at the RWA national conference
~ Write and submit 6 stories to the Trues magazines
~ Start a second novel
~ Get in shape and lose weight
I did finish the novel but I didn't pitch it at the conference because I had a chance to pitch it online at eHarlequin, where I got a request for the full manuscript. Unfortunately it was rejected, but the experience was fabulous and I learned so much. That opportunity earned me my PRO pin.
Then in July I added a seventh item: Survive divorce and come out stronger on the other end.
In 2005, we moved and our older son got married, and between the stress of those two things, my muse packed a bag and took an extended vacation to the tropics. She came back, though, in 2006 and I started my selling spree to the Trues. Things toddled along nicely until this year and when my world began to fall apart around me, the muse packed a bag, closed out her checking account, cancelled her subscription to the newspaper and applied for citizenship in another country.
Not only couldn't I write, I couldn't even read. Normally I read 4-6 books a month. I've only read 10 books all year. It's hard for me to sit still long enough to watch a one-hour show on TV even when I fast-forward through the commercials. Stress can be vicious. Aside from the mental effects, it has physical ones too. Remember my list above? I lost 15 pounds without dieting. I also lost a whole lot of junk when I cleaned out my stuff prior to moving into an apartment last weekend (thank you Playfriends, Playfriend spouses and Playkids for helping). The thrift store was excited.
Call it what you will -- a vacationing muse, writer's block or creative silence -- but it sucks, especially when you want to write and the words just won't come.
I recently had a small 2 x 3 inch ink drawing framed. My mom gave it to me and it sat in my kitchen window, still in the cellophane, without a frame, for over 25 years. I decided to frame it for my new apartment. It’s not a standard size so I figured I’d just have a new mat cut and put it in a standard frame. Nope. Wouldn’t work and look right. Soooo, $45 later it’s all framed and double matted and ready to be hung in a special place. What does this little thing say?
“God never closes a door without opening a window.”
I try not to focus on the closed doors behind me, and I've tried not to let my own personal drama spill over into other people's lives. But I figured it was time to say something here.
Rest assured I'm focusing on the open windows ahead. It isn’t always easy, but I’m going to do it.
I learned some lessons along the way:
Life is what happens while you are making other plans.
Don't sweat the small stuff.
There is more than one reality.
Trust your gut.
Good friends and family are worth more than their weight in gold.
And my favorite is from a magnet my sister sent me when the aforementioned crap began to happen.
Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end.
I've no doubt the muse will be back in the end.
And so we end on a positive note, how about Donny "Puppy Love" Osmond and the Argentine tango???