First, an extremely important update: I won fantasy football!!! That's right; I never played before, and I took the title (and the cash). It was close; I was sweating until the end. In an ideal situation, one of my two players would have made an awesome play in the first quarter so I could relax. But that didn't happen. I took the lead in the fourth quarter with three minutes on the clock. And I have to say, I had a lot of fun playing. It was a nice way to end the year.
What's that? Nobody else cares? Alright fine; moving on.
There was no rhyme or reason to my thoughts. I actually struggled keeping up. JM Tohline calls this a "thought-spill." I call it a bunch of random junk cluttering my head that I need to blog about in hopes of making some sort of sense out of everything before getting a severe migraine.
I'm much wordier than he is.
Before going further, I should preface that this post is mostly for my benefit. You're invited to read along, but know I don't expect anyone to care. Perfectly understandable.
My entire life, this has been a reflective time of year. I'm sure it's the same for most; the curtain closes on the final act of one year, the cast bows, and we all venture forward with anticipation of opportunity and starting anew.
Before leaving for the gym, I had opened a piece I wrote a year ago. I called it "Reflecting on a Decade." At the time, my blog had not been invented, so it was simply one of those Facebook notes I'm sure only a handful read and most didn't understand.
It was the first I revisited the piece, and basically, I had two thoughts: Why the hell does my writing SUCK and why the hell do I sound so bloody depressed?
After some pondering, my brain answered those questions: Well, Paul, that's because the writing DOES suck and you WERE depressed.
Thanks for the clarification.
The hardest part was reliving the events that brought me to that place in life. I like to think things are better - that the cloud over my head has at least morphed into a lighter shade of gray. I suppose it depends on the day.
Fast forward to the gym. I'm running on my machine, iPod buds in ears, maintaining a steady pace to the tune of something I'm too embarrassed to admit in writing. To my right, a woman screamed into her phone. To my left, an unpleasant stench emanated from a middle-aged gentleman. Hoping to distract myself from the ruckus in my digestive system, I glanced at the television monitor and saw the soaps were already airing their New Years Eve episodes. I expect they'll conclude just before Easter.
Then, all of a sudden, my conscious started screaming that enough is enough. It's been nearly three years. It's over - I'm not starting 2011 in the same place I started 2010. Or 2009, for that matter. It isn't happening.
No more moping about not having a job. No more analyzing my career path or debating how things could be different. No more agonizing over money and benefits. No more feeling pathetic because I enjoy spending time alone. No more feeling the need to explain wanting to be alone. No more feeling my friendships have vanished; I don't need a ton of friends and I don't need to be busy every second of the day. Downtime is acceptable. I've maintained enough strong relationships over the years, and that is more valuable than a zillion mediocre ones.
And, NO MORE moments of feeling I need to justify my writing. Starting now.
What do you do? I write! What do you want to do? I want to write; I want to publish a novel! Well don't you think you should.... Actually, no, I don't. But I do think you should stop talking. Darn haters!
Let me try something new: reflecting on the positives. This year, I've written approximately 90,000 words and cut approximately 40,000. I joined Twitter and met other talented writers. I social networked. Oh, and did I mention I won fantasy football?
I landed a part-time job that introduced me to amazing people. Friends, actually. Together, we support each other in this "It's not a good time to be a teacher" era.
In May, I started a blog. It was a slow start because I didn't quite get it. Now, as sad as this may sound to some, it's one of the most positive things in my life. I truly enjoy blogging; I'm happy for a place I can express myself without judgment. I'm happy communicating and learning from others.
I'm happy writing.
I've met some freakin' amazing people in the process. Each play a key role in my journey.
I've composed a list of some of the blogs I highly recommend, as well as people I suggest getting to know. When asked who they'd like to meet one day, most will list an exorbitant number of movie stars and musicians. I'd list these folks.
Paul's League of Extraordinary (Literary) Gentlemen
I'm finishing my manuscript and editing the heck out of it. I'm pretty close; I've taken a little break for the holidays and am ready to dive back in Saturday morning. I feel refreshed and ready to spill. I'll do everything in my power to make it the best I can, and then I'll query. Beyond that, things are out of my control.
Guess what? That's okay. I've still learned a ton and changed in the process. I set out to do something I thought I'd only ever dream about. For now, that is good enough for me.
Most importantly, I'm going to tackle my anxiety. I'm tired of being afraid; tired of living with panic. Uneasiness blows.
This will be hard and I don't know how I plan to do it. But I'm determined to give it an honest effort. I've been on this boat long enough. It's time to get back on land.
Hmm, what else? My paternal grandfather will turn 100 in July. My brother gets married in August and I'll be in my first wedding. And who knows, maybe the two of us will start getting along in the process.
A new blog design is forthcoming and I started keeping a list of topics to consider for future postings. I'm also drafting up a contest to host when the new site is launched.
Oh, and I'll be working on my first assignment as a beta-reader. I'm pretty pumped for that!
If you're still with me, what's on your agenda for 2011? And sorry for the long post. It was good for the soul.