Three years ago today, I wrote this blog titled “The Blog Challenge.”
My friend Jay Malone, aka Robert MacDonald, aka The Man on the Mountain had just finished writing for 60-days straight and he’d challenged me to do the same. It was the summer that I decided I wanted to not audition anymore, or do plays. I wanted to write. I remembered how much I *liked* writing.
The timing was perfect, and I decided I wanted to start journaling online for a couple months, see how it felt.
60 days turned into 90 days, which then turned into a year…which at that point turned into “I might just do this forever”…and here we are.
I cannot express to you how much journaling has changed my perspective on my own life. The breadth of its influence is impossible to quantify. I made the interesting choice of doing so in a “public” forum, such as an online website. Not one that many people frequent, but it’s still all here for anyone to read. The reason I did that was to hold myself accountable for my own honesty. If was able to air out my faults here, be honest about my failures…then not only did that provide an honest place for me to share my successes, but it also robbed those failures and those doubts of much of their power.
Shame tends to disappear in the light. If I felt shame about something in my day-to-day, chances are I wrote about it. I’ve felt shame for not writing as much as I was supposed to, or for giving into feelings of depression and anxiety, or for not feeling good enough, or for setting a goal and not meeting it, or for sitting on the couch and watching baseball or taking a nap when I was supposed to be working. If you’ve read even a smattering of these entries, you know that I’ve talked about such things A LOT. Certainly too much for these entries to be consistently worthwhile for others to read them, aside from The Ho, of course…
…but they were the truth. And incredibly cathartic for me.
As I sit here tonight, three years on from deciding to change the focus of my life, I am reminded of how far I have yet to go. I still have dreams of living a different life as a professional writer. I haven’t pushed myself far enough yet. There is more pushing necessary.
I also remember sitting in bed last year, feeling as though 2015 had been a failure. I’d shrunk away from Hollywood and writing for the screen. I hadn’t touched my novel. I hadn’t started my short story yet for the Strange New Worlds competition.
Instead I’d decided to focus on my video editing work and making money. I felt shame because of that. I felt like I was a coward, and that I was hiding.
I don’t feel that about 2016. I *do* still have A LOT of work left to finish this year…but I’ve also FINISHED a lot of work this year. The short story for Strange New Worlds came first. Then the Icarus pilot. Now, it’s the novel, which of course has taken me far longer than I’d anticipated…but I can *genuinely* give myself a pass on that in regards to this is the first time I’m ever doing any of this stuff. I’m not going to be fast at it the first time through.
Where I’ve really had to focus is on the routine. This is the year of finishing, but it’s also the year of the routine. Writing every day at the same time. First thing. The power of letting my body’s internal clock telling me it’s time to go write.
That served me well today, in particular. It was the kind of day that usually throws me for a complete and total loop. Josh came over and we edited into the late afternoon, and then I went and got my hair cut. Normally, that kind of relative chaos would throw me off for the rest of my evening. But not tonight. I sat down at 8pm and clocked in a full hour for writing session #2. I hand-wrote two full scenes today.
I *still* have so much to figure out as I commit to this transition from working four jobs to working just one (writing)…so, so much…but I feel empowered by where my head is at right now. Finishing my first novel is so very close. My daily routine is solid right now, with I was just thinking about today, the one exception of needing 30 minutes of exercise in there somewhere…but it is SOLID. I’m working full days without burning out. That means it’s sustainable, and that’s the key to me finishing this book, and then writing the next two. And then the next two after that, and so on.
Another lesson I’ve really learned this year is that I must say no to other projects…and not just the ones that are easy to say no to. No, it’s the projects that I really, really, really want to say YES to that I must learn to say no to. THAT’S the part of the advice that nobody tells you when they say that. That’s the hard part.
So…man, if I can finish this fucking novel…stick with my routine for the next two months…and then shed myself of some of these extra projects…year three will be an amazing, incredible fucking year…and a big huge step towards that dream of having one job.
Night fuckers. Here’s to three more!
Ps- Oh! And if you needed any other proof that year three is the fucking boss…the Ho and I found this damn cricket that was INSIDE OUR BEDROOM WINDOW tonight! I know! If you’ve ever tried to find a fucking noise cricket, you know exactly how hard those little fuckers are to find. They stop chirping whenever you get close to them! Well…we’re ninjas, and we found him. And now he’s gone. We MacGuyvered the little bastard with some compressed air (Liz’s idea). And we get to sleep. Huzzah!
Artwork tonight is called “Atmosphere” by Joe Tucciarone. I loves it.