Write a Book?

View of Zion National Park, looking west (or down canyon) from along the Angel's Landing Trail
View of Zion National Park, looking west (or down canyon) from along the Angel’s Landing Trail. That’s the Virgin River below – it’s cut through seven layers of rock in Zion over the years. 

I’ve always wanted to write. As far back as I can remember. In fourth grade, after my parents split, it seemed like I wanted to write fiction – plays that my friends and I could act out. I liked creating these worlds where things could be different from mine. Things could be better. Problems could be solved with just the flourish of my pen (we only had typewriters back then. Yes, I’m one of those people who lived before the age of computers. Don’t call me old though, or I may just have to smack you. 🙂 )

Why would anyone want to read what I write? And actually pay for it? When they could read part of my blog and get the same gist of things? Will they think I’m doing it just for the  money? What if they hate it? What if it gets bad reviews when I finally put it up there for the world to see? And worse, what if no one wants to buy it??

These are the self-doubting thoughts that immediately start to come to mind when I sit down to actually start writing. I start to over-analyze every sentence, every word I put onto paper (or in this case, my chromebook’s screen). I try to fight through it by just continuing on, knowing I can always edit later. That’s what I would tell others in my situation, so why do I find it so hard to follow my own advice?

What should the book be about? My journey into learning more about myself? My journey through depression? My attempt at minimalization? My drive across this country in a car with five cats and a dog? My 180 degree change from working at a well paying job in the Ivory Tower, to a world where I get paid to clean up after nonstop-pooping rabbits and clean poopy butts with my bare hands every day? (This, from the woman who never wanted to change a baby’s diaper because I thought it was so gross.)  Some of these, or all of these? Or something else? Should it just be a work of fiction instead?

I’ve read through books on how to write in the past and usually come away feeling even more self-doubtful. Which scares me, because I know from many therapy sessions that I can sometimes have a very harsh inner voice. It’s one I’ve learned to quiet over the years but from time to time, still rears its ugly head (most recently, just a few days ago at work. I could tell I was being irrational but also couldn’t stop myself from feeling hurt when I knew the people around me were only trying to help, with their words of advice.)

Why do I find it so much easier to let the words flow on this blog than when I start to actually type onto a blank piece of paper? 

I’d love to hear any and all thoughts any of you might have on this subject – please drop me a line below, and thank you. Even if it’s to tell me I’m insane and shouldn’t do it, I’ll understand. I appreciate candor in all things, even if it’s sometimes hard to hear or take in at the time.

Why I Keep On Keeping On: Life is Just Too Short

A friend of mine posted a video on Facebook earlier today and it just reaffirmed my decision to keep taking steps every day toward realizing my dream. Even if some days it’s just a small step, it still counts. Because some days, you take huge steps. Like this past Monday, when I went to five different RV dealers so I could take a look at a variety of travel trailers. Some conventional, some expandable. I’ll explain what conclusions those visits helped me come to in a later post, but first, I want to share this video with you:

Woman with Terminal Brain Cancer Decides to End Her Life Nov. 1  

When I hear stories like this, and think of how many more years I have been fortunate to live than someone like this woman, it makes me feel a few different emotions: gratitude (there but for the grace of God, go I); sympathy for this woman and her family; regret at having wasted so many years of my life living the way I thought I *should* live it, thinking that the only measure of success in this world was to achieve the conventional ideas of what is a successful life. You know, being married, having a house, a good paying and stable job, etc.

“Seize the Day. What’s Important to You? What Do You Care About? What Matters? Forget the Rest.”

These are all statements made by Brittany Maynard toward the end of this video.  Think about them, and I mean, really think about them. And then, do something about them.

I spent so many years of my life just *thinking* about what I might want to do, but that’s all I ever did was think about my dreams. Didn’t take any action beyond the dreaming part. I kept myself in debt. Kept trying to ignore that little nudge my insides would give me when I felt like something was missing, but was too afraid to really figure out what that was.  What I knew was safe, and safe was supposed to be ok. It was supposed to be enough. And a few years ago, it just wasn’t.

A few years ago, I was terrified I couldn’t make a go of things on my own. But I did. I have been terrified to make mistakes in the past, and let myself stay rooted in place. Toward the end of this summer, as you know, I bought a scooter. It was a mistake, and one that really stressed me out there for a few weeks and I felt a lot of self-loathing for having been so stupid. And then I realized I was beating myself up for being human. I made a mistake. I could keep beating myself up about it, or I could learn from it, and try to move forward. (And hope that I can sell it in the spring when people are more likely to buy one.)

Life is too short to keep beating yourself up. So, don’t do it. Life is too short for fear to be given the power to hold you in one place. So don’t let it. Life is too short to keep caring what other people think about you and let their opinions form the way you life your life. So stop caring.  Life is too short to waste it by doing things you don’t want to do. So stop doing them. Start doing what you want to do. Start doing what you love. Start doing what makes you happy.  

When you’re outside and see something beautiful, really take it in. Really absorb it and see how it makes your heart feel. How it expands. How it makes you feel at peace. That’s what I do when I hear the wind blowing through the leaves of the trees. That’s what I do when I see the waves the wind causes on the reservoir while out walking with Osito.  It’s why I get such a huge smile on my face when I see my 13 year old, blind dog start running on our walk, with no fear whatsoever.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to look at freelance jobs for research and writing. Because they are two things I’m good at, and want to be able to do next year when I’m living on the road. And to read a book that has really sucked me in, because it’s something I love to do. Read, and expand my mind.  Reading takes me into another world. It’s something I would like to do for others.  And I write this blog now because it’s something  I love to do. Writing is cathartic to me. It helps me to say things I might not otherwise be able to express. And to connect with others, hopefully.

Thank you so much for reading. Please leave me a comment below if you have any thoughts on the topic, or hit like or subscribe.