Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Bravery & The Conception of My Writing Year

It was less than a month ago when I sat down to (yet again) analyze what to do with my life.

It's been a puzzle.

Stay at home parenthood creates this strange balance of helping your children develop their identities while working to maintain and improve your own. Naturally, through those evolutions, I've chiseled away at the raw materials that make up my life to find what actually exists at the core. The things I've wanted to do - as accomplishments, careers, contributions - have all changed (as much as they've stayed the same). And I'm finally approaching a crossroads where I get to choose what I want to act on.

It's consumed a lot of me.

Here's a journal entry of spilled thoughts from July 7th.

The subject of what I'm going to do with the rest of my life (now that all my kids are school-age, or will be in the fall) has been a reoccurring theme. Usually, I flounder with the thoughts, but I think I may have figured something out. Finally. For once.
Like any relationship, I need to (once and for all) give my connection with writing a real commitment to see if there's anything truly there.
I've considered going back to school and what exactly makes sense for me, and after talking with Matt, I have carved out my own path: 12 months of dedicating my time to writing - in all forms.
Including: studying it, practicing it, participating in challenges, editing, researching publishing, dedicating writing time, keeping my blogs active, creating a writing resume, talking small courses, and (gulp) sharing.
Oh, and the big one: finishing a book.
Children's picture books are bonus. I've written one! Only a few people know. I need to polish it up and then see what I can do with it, but as I'm sure is predictable: I'm scared.
Anyway, this idea is a lot, I know. I'm going to do my best to organize the tasks and timelines into manageable pieces per month (a la happiness project) and track my progress as I go. Maybe that old book blog? I'm going to treat it like the job it deserves to be and see where it leads me. My year has three objectives. 
1. Have a finished manuscript as well as [title of my children's book redacted] ready to work with in the publishing world. 
2. Make a decision about school. Do I need it to continue a writing career based on my feelings on how I did? If so, is English the right major?  
3. Is writing for me long-term? Or should I pursue something else?  
The last question to answer is: when do I begin? I love the poetry of ending my year of writing on my birthday in 2020. And I need time to organize the year before I begin, which gives me the rest of the summer if I start on Sept 1st. Such a fitting start time with school, as well. There's the added bonus of not eating up the last of my summer (and the last of my time of having a child home with me daily) with work, and I want my kids to have as much of me as I'm able.
It feels so good to have a plan. I have felt directionless for so long - always hesitant to dedicate myself to one thing. It's not quite a 5 year plan, of course, but it's perfect for a rebel like me. Options, chances to reassess, flexibility, but within structure and commitment. 
And so my writing year was born.

During this phase of preparation, I'm equal parts thrilled and terrified. I enjoy looking for resources and compiling my own personal syllabus, but when I consider the actual act of writing, I start to feel a clamming up - right in my throat. I have a defined throat center and a clear throat chakra nearly always, but the subconscious fear of exposure creates a reaction that feels a lot like hiding.

I'm realizing that I'm scared of being understood. Of being seen as too human, too emotional, too strange. When you write, your mind is made tangible. I see writers as being brave above all else. Above talent, ability, and creativity. They willingly put their inner self on display - often disguised in fiction, but still there.

I'm not yet sure if that level of bravery is a part of who I am.

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