2011. The Year of No Excuses

In 2010, I turned thirty.

For some people this may mean nothing more than another year of getting older. But, as a person who loves round numbers, and who doesn’t automatically attribute age with physical decay, “2010” and “30” came with their own sense of significance. Something important HAD to happen.

So, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I made sure that my thirtieth year was filled with noteworthy milestones. Eminent among those achievements were that I lost the 20 pounds that I gained when I was 29, becoming as lean as I ever was.  And, I finished a story.

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

I’ll never forget the night that I discovered that not only can I do chin ups, but that I could do five of them in a row. Me. A girl who never thought she could do one, so why bother trying. I was elated.  I was bursting with a desire to do more, fueled by the idea that I could accomplish anything with enough focus, determination, and pure grit-my-teeth effort.

In that moment, I saw another universe unfold, one in which I attained all the goals that I gave myself simply because I decided to pursue them.   I was giddy with this knowledge.

Standing there in the gym that night, I literally asked myself: what’s stopping me?

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

The Litany Against Fear, Dune, Frank Herbert

In my moment of clarity, I had to acknowledge that nothing was stopping me now, and if I thought about it, nothing was ever in my way to stop me from my life goals. Nothing but myself. I was the one stopping me from reaching my goals. By choosing not to act I made the choice not to pursue my dreams.

I was the one who decided that my goals were not attainable.  But, I was also the one who can make them attainable.

It was that point that I started to act. I simplified my life. I focused on finishing a novel. And, along the way, I found peace. Despite the challenges, I was content because I knew that I was finally pursuing a goal that I was passionate about.

Though my novel is not anywhere near presentable, it’s finished, a feat that I never thought I’d see.  Half a year from my gym moment, I’m affectionately calling my work in progress The Hot Mess. It should be ready for my alpha reader soon; I want to have it beta-ready by February.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.

I had so many words to hold on to and encourage me through 2010.  Words like…




These words are still meaningful to me, and so I will carry them with me into this new year.  Because this time, they hold not only the promise of goals achieved, but also a reminder of the results that come from living without excuses.

That is what I claim for 2011. A whole year of no excuses as I press on toward my goals.  Let’s do this.

Polihale beach

Out, Out!

So, as I was typing out some of my pages from my notebook, I realized that the story that I was dreaming of last year came surging back like an all-consuming tidal wave.

Instead of increasing the storyline of the one I was working on for the last few weeks, I started from a different point of view on last year’s story.  (The one I lost interest in because I basically plotted my way through the whole story.)  I still have my notes and history and verbiage from that story, too.  It’s kind of cool, because I remembered the lingo so well, that the words came out very naturally.  Of course, that means I basically start from scratch, but I think since I have a bigger view of this story, and the end is basically in sight (albeit, 95,000 words away), I can plod on like a little workhorse and power through the loose outline that I have.

My goal right now is to finish a story, and get all these clamoring voices out of my head before anyone can suspect me of being a little off (though, it’s too late for my hubby!  He’s stuck with me as is!).  That would be an indicator of success for me.  I understand that my first, second, etc, novels may never get published, and so with each story, I would hope that my novel-writing skills would improve.  I won’t even begin to worry about my (lack of) publishing status until I have at least 3 stories finished.

I think Stephen King said that you had to write about a million words of crap before you can start to write well.  In Outliers, the magic number was 10,000 hours of practice to get to perfect.  Well, my current journey is trying to get those 10,000 hours in and 1 million words out.