Year is Halfway Over, Book is Halfway Finished, I’m Halfway Between Homes, and I Don’t Have an Accountability Partner

What a weekend! We packed up my childhood home and moved into an apartment an hour away. You don’t realize how much stuff you have until you have to pack up a four-bedroom house. I’ll be honest and say we were not prepared for the house-selling process. We did not think ahead to sell the good furniture or donate the decent items we didn’t plan to take with us. We didn’t purge enough of the fluff. Also… my mom has a lot of little items—nurse figurines, cruise souvenirs, unopened crystal dishes from her wedding 35 years ago, a stash of gift bags and bows, etc.—that were stashed around the house.

This was my parents’ first house, and we lived there for twenty years. I was in middle school when we moved in, so I grew up in that house, and it was the center of our larger family gatherings for much of those twenty years. Most of our stuff is in storage (which still needs a good purging) and there are boxes and bags around the apartment that still need to be unpacked. It took the entire weekend to move, and it was exhausting. I still haven’t unpacked most of my clothes (also needs purging), and I haven’t quite caught up on sleep. New adventures are exciting and frightening, but I’m trying to lean more toward the exciting.

This week marks the halfway point of the year. Surprisingly, I haven’t seen too many Instagram posts asking about what I’ve accomplished so far and demanding I make the best of the second half of the year. Maybe the events of the past fifteen months have reminded us that hyper-productivity is not the purpose of our lives. I don’t keep a record of my accomplishments. Of course, I remember the biggest ones—getting a Master’s degree, having my short story published in a literary journal—but there are other accomplishments that I forget have happened. I’ve never been in the habit of running down a list of things I’ve done, but it’s mostly because I’ve never considered the things I’ve done particularly impressive.

For instance, I’ve been running this blog for almost five years. I haven’t always been consistent, and I don’t have a large number of people reading or interacting with my content, so I don’t list it in my catalog of accomplishments. It’s practically a long-lasting hobby. It is still growing into something in my head, though, and maybe it’ll become my greatest accomplishment, but it isn’t yet.

Lately, I’ve been more focused on publishing my first book. I am in uncharted waters here, trying to gather adequate information from the millions of sources on the internet to guide me through the process, and uncertain of all the next steps. I’ve started working with a Developmental Editor, and received her Edit Letter and notes over the weekend. With my weekend being as hectic as it was, I have only managed to read through her Edit Letter. I haven’t opened the manuscript yet to review her notes.

I’m excited about her feedback, though I’m weary about making the necessary changes within the next two weeks. Can I get it done? Tell me yes, please, somebody.

I don’t have a person to go to with writing challenges or to seek constructive encouragement in this process. I don’t have a person to confide in about my self-publishing doubts and stumbling blocks. I don’t have a person who says, “let me do that so you can go write.” I’m telling myself it is okay to not have that person. I’m encouraging myself and supporting my own dream to be a published author, but sometimes it would be nice to have a bit more outside support in this process.

As you know, if you’ve been here for any period of time, I am not great about posting on socials. Photos, captions, and hashtags are not high on my daily to-do list and often get forgotten. The people on the internet tell me I have to post multiple times each day in order to build a social community around this thing we’ve got here, but I don’t want to contribute to the hamster wheel of consumerism that Instagram has become. I don’t want to just sell you things.

Moving has confirmed for me that I have too many things. Things I like a lot, things I like a little, but things nonetheless. I have clothes and shoes I don’t wear, but because I might wear them eventually, I feel they should be kept in my wardrobe.

One of the desires I have is to produce something that is tangible, practical, and beautiful in conjunction with NINE & TWO. The thing is, I don’t want to just give you more things to keep in your home. We have enough t-shirts, mugs, and canvas bags to last a lifetime. The book is one item I do want you to have in your homes, but I feel there needs to be something else as well.

As I sort through my own things (physical and mental) over the next few months, I’m going to be thinking about you. I’m also going to figure out what an active Instagram page for NINE & TWO looks like. One of my more recent instructions from God is to expand—expand my thoughts, personality, emotions, reach, community, capacity for love, confidence, voice, etc.—and I know that by expanding myself, everything I touch will grow as well. I’ve also been reminded recently to slow down so I will not be rushing through the process of expanding. Besides, things that expand too quickly usually blow up!

For those of you who have been here a while, thank you for riding with me. For those of you who are new, thank you for joining me. If you have no idea who I am, click here to find out a little bit more. Who knows, I may expand that part as well. I appreciate you.

Happy Reading/Writing/Summer-ing!

Writing My Life

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I want my life as a writer to look. I’ve been thinking about how much writing I should be doing, what kind of writing I should be doing, when I should be writing, where I should be writing, who I should be writing for, what kind of income (if any) I want to earn from my writing.

Part of me feels incapable of committing myself to any kind of career, part of me is afraid writing will become less fun, and part of me doubts my writing would be profitable in any significant way. I deal with a lot of self-doubt at times, and not just about my writing… I have to change the narrative. Because, honestly, if I never write anything else on “paper,” I am writing my life. Every day, I am writing my story.

It’s been pretty boring lately… a lot of she wakes up, gets dressed, sits at her desk, works for 8 hours, makes dinner, watches some TV, journals, and goes to bed. Every day, the same story. Some days there’s a little more adventure… she goes to the furniture store to find a chair for her new home office space, she meets a really cute salesman, she spends more on a chair than she wanted but decides it was worth it, she goes home and can’t get the salesman out of her head. What does she do next? She wakes up, gets dressed, sits at her desk, works for 8 hours, makes dinner, watches some TV, journals, and goes to bed.

Recognizing that I can change the story is powerful. However, I’m not particularly good with change. The redundancy of life gets comfortable after a while, even when it’s not exactly welcome. I can get reckless with characters in a story because I know I can change the narrative at any moment and make everything comfortable again. Being reckless in my own life isn’t so simple. But here’s the thing… what I’m referring to as “reckless” is really just taking a chance. What if I started viewing myself as a character in one of my stories? What if, as the writer of said story, I made my character (me) take more chances? What if I stopped being so afraid of getting my feelings hurt?

Of course, as in any story, there is a higher power controlling the events that take place, but it is possible for me to take more control of the narrative. It’s possible for me to shape myself as a character, push myself toward action rather than complacency. What kind of life do I want to write? I guess I should start by writing myself as a writer… as an active writer… as a self-publishing writer. The story doesn’t move forward if I don’t move it forward.

I’m sure there are some flaws in this idea of treating myself like a character in one of my stories, but I haven’t pinpointed them yet. I’m intrigued by the idea, though. In general, I create situations for characters in my stories to do things I typically wouldn’t do myself. Their hurt isn’t as tangible as my own, so I take bigger risks with them. I’m interested, now, in discovering what’s possible for me if I stepped outside of myself a bit and started writing my life differently.

We’ll take some small steps toward that. First, though, I have got to get out of my own way in finishing this book. Keep it simple. That’s what I keep telling myself. Yet, every time I get to the next step I make it more complicated than it probably needs to be.

What kind of writer do I want to be? The kind who isn’t afraid to write. The kind who doesn’t get stuck in her own head. The kind who rips herself open so that other people can feel her words in the pit of their stomach. I want to be the kind of writer who gets a little messy… but for the greater good. You know?

Happy Writing!