Friday, September 2, 2016

Incredimazing Drastic Changes!

Holy hell.
Actually, scratch that. It's more like, "Holy blessings!" complete with big eyes. O_O

My life has changed drastically in the last two days. This is not hyperbole. I never expected such amazing, scary, goodness to come into my life.

Okay, brief background. I have a medical condition that was keeping me from working full time. My spouse and I decided that I should work part time with the hope (my hope) that I would be able to look for a full time job in my field in about a year.

So, what happened is this. I would come home from work every day with my medical condition significantly worse and completely drained of energy. The other day, at work, I thought, is it really worth it? I'm so drained and physically worse that I can't do anything for the rest of the day after getting home. Even short work days wipes me out and makes my condition. The longer the work day the worse it is. That means little to no quality time with my spouse and kid. Let alone doing anything creative, or helping/hanging with friends whom I had to cancel on a few times.

It felt weird to be in that headspace because I spent 10 years, ten years, double digits, a whole freakin' decade of my life, accruing student debt to do what I am doing, and now my body is basically begging me not to. I wondered, How did I get through school? Well, my medical condition did get worse and I was operating under a lot of adrenaline with all the school deadlines and the intense school work.

Now my spouse has said in the past that he would be fine if I never went to work. Of course, I would scoff at that because what was all this for then? But then here I was, face to face with this and realizing, well crap, he's probably right, and where does that leave me? I talked to him about it that very night and my spouse basically said, I don't mind paying for your student debt and if you never work a regular job again. I'd rather have you functional and happy doing creative things.

He meant every word. I was deeply moved. Then I went to an inspiring Wayne Dyer seminar and while there everyone was asked what would they do with their lives if nothing was standing in their way. My answer: write my novels and compose music.

I compared that to the question they had previously asked about how you define yourself (I defined myself by my chosen career) and it hit me. I'm doing the wrong thing. A double major of English and Music was my original plan while in community college with the goal to write stories and music. However, people kept telling me I wouldn't be able to make any money doing that, that I wouldn't be able to make it in life doing those things, so I changed up my plans.

When I expressed the previous paragraph during open discussion at the seminar, one of the facilitators said that sometimes our bodies are trying to tell our conscious minds something that our subconscious mind already knows. I was floored and knew instantly that I had to change up plans again.

Immediately upon arriving home I told my spouse everything. His eyes shined with happiness. He even reiterated that he wanted me to do these creative things for the joy of it and not to focus on the money thing because he doesn't mind supporting me. Interestingly, I had recently finished reading the graphic novel White Sand by Brandon Sanderson. There's a note in the front from the author about how White Sand came about. That's how I discovered that good ol' Sanderson had written several novels before getting published.  So, I was, and am, already prepared for not making any money for a long time.

So, I'm going to be quitting my job at the end of the year so I can write. I've already reduced my time at work to two days now to fulfill some obligations. But only two days? That means I can still write more, which I did do today.

I even submitted a short story I had written previously, and finished editing today (the last of several drafts), to Asimov Science Fiction magazine. I hope they accept it! But it's unusual so we'll see.

When I told the kiddo the new plans she was so shocked she literally fell out of her chair and hurt herself doing so. Then she started asking me a bunch of questions about how I was gonna manage my time etc. It was super great even if I didn't have all the answers yet. It's still so new! Gotta work out the kinks and get some advice from the man (read: my epically awesome husband).

So, yeah, my life just completely and drastically changed for the better. I even got into the zone, the flow, where I lost track of time and forgot to eat because I was so into what I was doing today. I haven't done that in so long I don't even remember the last time that happened. It's exciting, and weird, and amazing. I feel like a great weight has lifted off me.

It's time to, "do the thing!" Write! Write! Write!

(Oh yeah, I'll still write that fan fic, but it'll be on the side methinks when I need to break writer's block.)

PS: A cool thing is, that if I feel a call to go back into my field of work later and my medical condition improves, I will still be able to do that! 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Changing Habits

I have been disconnected to my creative outlets for a long time. There are reasons for this. Namely, in the past all of my creativity was done in a sphere of "checking out" of the real world; disassociating from all the things that hurt me. I never did the traditional alcohol or illegal drugs or misusing legal drugs (well, I did have caffeine withdrawals when I gave it up, but caffeine doesn't make  you forget your problems anyway, so I don't think that counts). My Mormon upbringing coupled with all those anti-drug lessons I got at school made sure of that. (Yeah, I was one of those weird kids who actually paid attention to that stuff, even when my friends didn't.)

I thought, hey, Camp NaNoWriMo in July can help me get my act together. Summer was totally free since I am done with school and currently don't have regular work. Boy was I wrong. There are some definite habits I need to break that's cutting into my writing time and writing mojo. (I suspect the same is to be said of music and art and chainmailling.)

But then I started thinking, maybe that's the wrong way to think about it. Breaking something is often seen as harsh and uncomfortable. Breaking a bowl is met with swearing. You can break a bowl while remaining calm (I know, because I did that once and it was quite shocking how I didn't lose my cool). Breaking in a horse is traditionally violent, but you can gently convince the horse to be your friend without beating the horse. Breaking up a relationship is painful, even when you know it's the right thing to do. 

So, I'm thinking about changing my mental state. I'm not breaking my habits, nor am I going to call them bad habits. That's me judging those habits. I have those habits for a reason. At some point they served me. They no longer serve me and now it's time to change it up. It's gonna be hard, but it will be worth it to make those changes.

I'm gonna make changes gently, becoming better friends with myself and the parts of myself that I need in my life right now that just isn't consciously present. In some ways, it'll be liking ripping off a bandaid. In other ways it'll be a long slog like a full marathon. Time to dust off the sprinting skills and the marathon skills. Which are two different sets of skills by the way. You gotta move your body differently when you sprint versus when you marathon. One set of skills is giving you as much power as you can to move as fast as you can for a short amount of time. The other set of skills is a conservation of energy to allow you to keep going as long as you need to.

So, back to writing, and changing things up so I actually get in the writing time I want to get in. I have a fan fic to finish. Yep, I'm writing fan fiction instead of my other stories. Specifically Harry Potter fan fiction with the premise being: what if Petunia raised Harry as a single mother and she and Harry have a positive mother/son relationship? How would that change the story? When I'm done with the first year, I'll let interested peeps read it.

I know I've been a bit vague about specifics, but really, it's about self-assessment and reflection. It's saying, Hm, I didn't meet my goals. Why not? What's preventing that from happening? What was legit and what wasn't legit? What do I need to change from there? Then honestly reflecting on it and doing so without excuses or judgements, and without kicking myself. Why?  Because bullying and belittling myself harms my creative spirit, and no thanks to that.  I'm my own friend now, and I'm not gonna jeopardize that good relationship with myself over some things I need to change.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Dissipating Excuses

I am a writer.
Who hasn't been writing.

Not because of a lack of ideas.
I have many.

But because of "reasons."
That were not reasonable.

Oh, sure some were legitimate.
School, family, mental breakdowns.

But that doesn't change illegitimate ones.
Hours on facebook, fake researching, etc.

Task avoidance is my bane under stress.
Even when writing a college paper.

Not taking care of myself is too.
Silencing my creativity.

It hurts my soul.
It makes the stress worse.

I have many underutilized creative outlets.
All of them need a voice.

A hand to do the work.
An eye to see the work.

A mind to interpret and synthesize the work.
To imagine impossibilities.

And make them probable.
In another reality.

In this reality.
Even if just for a moment.

I am a writer.
Who is writing again.

*inspired by Lor Petrichor after reading this post: