First, a Public Service Announcement:
If you entered my last contest (and you know who you are), please reply to your email by Friday, February 25th so you can claim your prize! Otherwise, signed bookmarks will sit here feeling lonely with no one to love them. (Well, until the next giveaway, anyhoo.)
Look at those eyes! She's pining, I tell you!
In other news:
I am so sore, I can barely move. Of course, this won't stop me from going into the dojo today for another 2-4 hour stint in preparation for my "gateway" exam on Wednesday; it's either the first part of the exam or the last hurdle before I enter the final round. Just so you know, this is not about determinism or stubborn will winning the epic fight over couch potatoness, but rather zombie-like, habitual masochism. It's me looking at the clock and going, "Time for karate," in my head, getting suited up, grabbing my keys and going. It's almost automatic at this point. Same time nearly every day. Up, dress, dojo. I am supposed to write an essay about what shifted or changed for me in order to become a second degree black belt and, essentially, this was it:
Because I said so.
*I* decided that this was the year it would happen. It had to happen. (Technically, this is the third time I've decided to have it happen, but both previous attempts at Nidan were interrupted by impending parenthood.) And an interesting thing happened: I put my proverbial foot down, and then I became a second degree black belt. This is also exactly how I became a writer with an offer. Sound simple? It both is and isn't.
It was easy to say that THIS was when I was going to train and be ready at THIS date for THIS exam with the goal of testing by THEN. It was much harder getting into the habit, the point at which it became rote, easy, unconscious and WAAAAAAAY harder to convince the universe to comply. There were last-minute appointments and kids getting sick, birthdays to plan and playdates to juggle, previous commitments and surprise opportunities, major events like going out of town to a Moose Lodge and my beloved parents coming in from out of state, then there was the dietary restrictions of training going head-to-head with Thanksgiving, Channukah, birthdays, New Year's...and all of it were reasonable reasons for not doing what I needed to do. Everyone would understand. Anyone else would do the same. But the truth was, I couldn't do it. And I didn't. I had to be unreasonable.
And—here's the weirdest thing—the universe *moved*.
The world and all its denizens gently shifted to accommodate my completely unreasonable, wildly selfish and bizarrely headstrong request that for 1-2 hours I train and stick to my commitments. Appointments got rescheduled, my husband took the kids, we scraped the money together for a precious hour of babysitting to cover the gap. Work understood, the kids understood, folks at school understood, YA writers on retreat understood, and even strangers who randomly asked why I looked like I was going to keel over and die while wearing black pajamas understood. I'm am on the brink of success because I made a choice and stuck with it and life adjusted around me to fit.
And that, my friends, is writing in a nutshell. Decide. Sit down. Write. The universe will move to allow you to do so. And when it becomes a zombie-like habitual masochism to sit at the keys and belt out your word count at the same time every day, I'll be cheering for you from the dojo wearing my big black belt with two red stripes.
Go! Write! FTW!