Coming into work, I saw a penny on the ground. It was tails up, bad luck. But then the words of one of my godfather’s rung in my ears, “Who am I tell the universe that I don’t need money?” Or abundance.
So I picked it up
That penny sat on my desk at home for a week and then it went into the coin jar. In a couple of months; maybe a year since I don’t use cash much, I will take all the coins out, roll them and make a trip inside the bank to deposit them.
The penny on the ground isn’t going to fill the jar. Nor is it going to get me out of debt or help me save for my next adventure on its own. Just like sitting down to write for ten minutes isn’t going to write my next novella. It will, however, help me get closer to those goals.
Because who I am to turn down the abundance and gifts of the universe? Like the gift of a quiet Sunday morning to write.
The days have grown dramatically shorter in my mountain home. The sun was setting as we walked the dogs. The Autumn Equinox is upon us and it at this time of year that I think of what I will banish my from my life. The idea is to banish something in the fall that holds me back from balance.
There are a lot of things on this list; debt, self-doubt, along with a few bad habits that no longer serve as even inadequate coping mechanisms.
The truth is that I have gotten to the point a lot of American’s do in their forty’s. I am talking about the middle aged crisis. Life has started to slow down or at least I have. The aches and pains have grown into MRI’s and iced knees after every walk. The weekends are too short to recover from the work week.
I haven’t been so lost and so happy at the same time. My home life isn’t perfect, but I love my family. I love the jokes we make and how we work together. I love my boyfriend and the freedom that our relationship gives me to be myself. A year into dating and it is only getting better.
Things are good and they are bad at the same time. An ex used to tell me that I needed to get my shit together. He meant it as an insult. But, The thing I realized is that adulthood is a continuous cycle of getting my shit together, watching and predicting obstacles, trying to avoid them and then the crash as everything comes down. Balance isn’t an easy thing. It requires a lot of re-balancing and adjustments. Yes, I do need to get my shit together just like everyone else.
No one has the perfect life.
I don’t have an answer for the one thing that is going to bring me closer to balance once I cast it out. This equinox, I think is going to be hectic.
Or maybe I do.
I think I will work on banishing the idea that I can do everything, that I should do everything and there is time to do everything. Writing is happening more and more. I am not writing as much as I would like, but progress is being made. Exercise is happening on a daily basis even if it is only walking the dogs. I am getting more sleep than in the past. My life is good. My art is developing.
The start of school this year as been harder than usual. I haven’t gotten much writing done in the last five weeks.
I haven’t gotten much done at all.
No going to the gym, keeping up with family or working around the house. I go in early and I leave late and nothing seems to get better.
And then there is the manuscript sitting on my desk. It is a sad and lonely thing waiting on its author to return. I can hear it crying at night; begging me for attention.
The stress monster took me down hard these last couple of weeks. My body clasping on the bed so many times with sheer exhaustion pushing me down. It creeps up and steals time and energy away from things I love and want to spend time on.
Friday was by far the worse. Friday, I cried at work. Friday, I came home and put myself to bed with a stress induced migraine. I had to cancel plans with old friends.
It is in ways a never ending battle between the stress monster and myself. I try to be proactive and plan, but if you have ever been in a classroom or even step outside your door in the morning, you know that planning doesn’t always workout. You also know that going without a plan also doesn’t work.
Planning helps keep down on the stress monster attacks and if you like my godfather has contingency plans which have contingency plans. This won’t stop the attacks, but it will lessen their power.
This weekend, I rested, did lots of self-care and was able to get my mind back in thinking order. Self-care is important. You need to keep taking care of yourself before and after attacks. Routines like walking the dogs and eating dinner with my family are all forms of self-care. They are like taking vitamins. Life is full of stress and if you think the only way to succeed is to never take care of yourself and just go go go, you might be superhuman or headed for burn out.
Push yourself, yes, but also take care of yourself. Mediate or pray, whichever feeds your soul daily. Yoga and going to the gym on a regular basis. Talk to and take part in the lives of your friends and family. My family life is incredible important to me. I make time for it as well as for my writing.
Last week, I didn’t make writing goal. This week, it is tempting to double the goal in order to catch up. Some sage writing advice from years ago warns against this and over the years, I have come to value it. Doubling the goal isn’t going to get me to a finished draft faster, it will just make me a little crazier and invite the stress monster. However, if I set a reasonable goal for the week ahead and I surpass it then I feel more accomplished.
You can’t get rid of stress or how much is piled on to you from day to day. You can change your reaction to it and take better care of yourself.
This week, my writing goal is to write five pages a day or 2,000 words. My fitness goal is to make it to the gym at least once and my work goal is to leave at 4:30 everyday if I don’t have a meeting planned.
As for the stress monster, I plan to combat him by getting a little more rest, drinking plenty of fluids and leaving my superhero cape in the closet.
I write naked. I write semi-clothed and sometimes just in my little black robe.
The point is I write.
Sometimes I write with wine although this can be dangerous as if the muse doesn’t kick in quickly I end up with an empty bottle of wine and only a few dozen words to show for it. This is a bad thing.
Sometimes I write while watching a movie. I know that I have hit my groove when I get annoyed and pause it. Sometimes I zone in so deep I forgot all about whatever I have playing in the background.
I used to write at the restaurant down the street when I lived in Orlando. I loved it as it got me out of the house and since the manager was a friend often my writing time was fueled by complimentary wine. My goal in those early weeks was a 1,000 words a week.
I have also written in hospital waiting rooms, during my lunch break and when I can’t sleep. I didn’t write when I was sick, but I tried. I read books when I was awake, watched movies and when I felt a little better I took notes. I didn’t really stop for those four weeks so much as a paused so I could heal.
Currently, my goal is 400 words a day. It is the same number of words that Terry Pratchett wrote each day according to his friend, Neil Gaiman. 400 words a day is manageable even with my day job. I can write that in a hour or two, maybe less depending on how the inspiration is flowing. I am not a particularly fast writer.
The thing that I am working on is writing even when it isn’t flowing. Writing when conditions aren’t idea. Writing by pushing out the story regardless and not judging myself. Writing is always hard work.
Finishing what you start is the advice from other talent writer, Neil Gaiman. It may take some time. But finish it.
Do what it takes to write and to finish what you start.
Write naked if that is what works, it does for me.
If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook. Her novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon. You can also find her on Instagram where she posts random pictures of critters and other adorably evil things.
I ran out of spoons on Monday when forces combined to make my normal day, mentally three times longer than usual. There were some physical challenges as well. All of which resulted in this writer feeling like she had been run over by a semi. A semi that backed up and did it again and again for three hours straight.
First, I went into to the day job on Sunday. Four or was it five hours later, I walked out the door without having accomplished what I had come to do. There was no time when I got home to commit to my normal self-care/maintenance. The morning rolled around and the list of undone things was weighting me down before I even got in the car for the drive down the hill; unknowing leaving the dogs unsecured which would lead to the demise of some unattended baked goods. I wouldn’t know about that until after my workday had ended.
The spoons ran out, because they aren’t limitless. No one has limitless amounts of energy in adulthood when it comes to doing our day to day tasks; especially people dealing with chronic illness. Think about your day and what exhausts you the most. Everyone has task they do that wear them out.Now, sprinkle some anxiety and depression and the number of spoons you have in a given day may not be as many as you think.
Even if I had been able to come home and do my thing on Sunday night, the spoons would have run out. No matter how carefully you take care of yourself, bad days are going to happen. It is like that expression, you can’t change how people treat you but you can’t change how you react. You can’t change the bad day,but you take care of yourself afterwards.
So Monday night, there was a detour on the way home to replace the baked goods and get a bottle of wine. After talking the dogs for a walk and declaring that I had no spoons left, I retreated upstairs. I did the bare minimum of writing work, mostly composing the first draft of this post, played some Minecraft and went to bed. Yesterday, I did much the same except for making sure that I took twenty-minutes to eat my lunch and compose myself before tackling the second half of my day. The day went much better, still exhausting, but better. We had pizza for dinner. Although I was prepared to make dinner as plan, I did not turn down the offer to eat out.
This morning, I woke up rested and feeling much better with eight hours of sleep under my belt. The day is going to be long. There is a meeting first thing and then the day gets into full swing. I may feel drained at the end of the day or I may be alright. Either way, there will be self-care tonight in the form of dinner with my family, a walk with the dogs and a glass of wine before curling up with a good book.
How do you take care of yourself? Is self-care a part of your daily routine?
Lucinda Rose is an author and teacher living and working in the mountains of Virginia. She is the author of Blood Child, a paranormal mystery and is working on her next project, Shadow’s Tale. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagam.
Two weeks in France and I was writing everyday. I am twenty pages and a few plot wholes away from a finished draft of The Devil’s Due.
I wrote well when I was away from my writing desk.
Back at my writing desk for two weeks and I have two pages. Not so good when I was averaging a page a day and a blog a week.
Travel is good for me or at least getting away from my house where I intend to write and settling in to some place I do write. Next Spring, I plan on spending a week in Richmond researching and writing a new book.
Do your thing.
If you write best at 4:30 am when everyone else is asleep in your house, then get up and write. Or maybe you work best at the local cafe. Where ever you work best, go there and do the work. Neil Gaiman wrote parts of American Gods on a train going across the country.
Some people have writer’s rooms or corners in their house. Others go to work early and write in their offices before the hustle and bustle of the day.
I wrote parts of Blood Child on the sofa of a friend’s house. Whole chapters were composed sitting at the bar of a friend’s restaurant. They gave me wine and food, in return when things got busy, I ran food and drinks for them. I miss that place and the friends who tended me to while I worked on my dream.
I’ve written on my front porch and in airports. Sometimes a new place to write is perfect because it gets you out of your head and lets your creative brain free.
Write where you are inspired or in my case where you aren’t distracted.
First Friday in weeks that I have been home. First Friday in weeks, I haven’t been sick although truthfully, I am not completely well yet.
My first thoughts on this evening entailed going to bed early and rising in the morning with intent. Instead, I played some Fallout Shelter, practiced my Spanish and tried to see what dog I would be on Facebook. The results of that particular quiz will not be shared.
There is writing to be done. Writing and editing that has been on my to do list for over a month. Writing, I want to do, but somehow whenever I sit to do it, something else always pulls me away.
My favorite pair of boots died, today. The soles are coming falling off. Some glue may fix them. There is money to replace them. Funds that my brain says should go else where. My mind was considering all the sensible options when the phrase “Fuck my life” popped into my head. I’ve heard it more than a dozen times something goes wrong and suddenly everything goes. My shoes aren’t a big deal. The deal comes in the fact that I just played off a credit card, this is the second pair of boots that have suffered damage this week that will be need to be replaced, along wit some other expenses another new set of boots would drip the budget in red ink. Combine those thoughts with the ones where I am no good at my job, a fraud who is about to be found out and dozen more demons poking around in my noodle. It would have been easy to say “Fuck my life”.
Not justified, but easy.
Easy to think that everything is crap, because life has a way of doing that just like my cold turning nasty and spending that couple of weeks sick.
Life is still pretty good. Actually, it is damn good. While I am not where I want to be and far from accomplishing my goals and dreams, I am a good place. A place, where I can write on a Friday night undisturbed. A place where I can make mistakes and work way back to where I want to be from where I am.