I’ve been thinking a lot about will power lately.
The past few months have been difficult, and I lost my way for a bit. Or so I thought. I learned later that even the paths we choose that seem to meander aimlessly and stop short at a dead end is there for a reason. Maybe we needed to stop exploring for a while and just sit with who we are. Take account. Take a breath. Cry, rage, be depressed, sleep, and isolate from the world. Experience the bad so we can enjoy the good.
Eventually, though, we need to get back to some sort of reality, which means getting out of bed, caring for your children, seeing friends, doing work, walking the dog, and a million other tasks that cannot be ignored forever. Getting back into some sort of routine is soothing. It’s what makes us human.
I chose a career that is built on will power. Will to go into my office every day. Will to stare at a blank page and wrestle words that will create a story. Will to spend endless hours in that room, no matter what happens – good or bad (and trust me there’s a lot of bad in there sometimes). I have to choose writing every single day, and then have the willpower to follow through, not knowing what type of quality I will get or what type of quantity.
I took about six weeks off from any writing. I think I could have gone even longer, but I began thinking about this will thing that drives us as humans and artists to get shit done. I began thinking of the sheer power I can harness just by my thoughts and decision to sit in my chair and open up a Word document. The capacity for achievement and greatness by following these two elements is mind boggling.
Maybe that’s why writing humbles me. I’m the one who has to choose it every day. It’s like re-committing to a lover and my vow to honor, love, and cherish my partner. Six weeks ago, I chose to walk away from writing so I can figure some stuff out.
Now, I’m choosing to write again because it’s what I want. It’s still not easy, and I’m moving slower, but the sheer power of being able to make my choice and create something from nothing is awe inspiring.
What if you’re not a writer?
You’re harnessing the same will power every day. By showing up at the gym. By cooking rather than eating junk. By spending time with your kids even though you have a million other things that need doing. By honoring your creativity even though it’s not practical – whether it’s painting, or jewelry making, or pottery, or acting, or singing, or anything that feeds your artistic spirit. By choosing to try one more time.
Let’s honor the greatness of willpower and the epic things you can accomplish.
A few authors on Facebook were composing and sharing posts on a challenge to name 25 things you accomplished this past year. Not wanted to do, or failed to do, but actually did. Here’s my list. I think as 2017 ends, it’s a good thing to honor the past and remind ourselves we did our best, and most of the time, surpassed even our own expectations. I may not have climbed Mount Everest, but I held my father’s hand every day while he was dying, and I laughed with my kids and cuddled my dog and cried on my best friend’s shoulder. I lived. I tried.
So, here’s my list in no particular order. I’m looking forward to seeing yours. Here’s a hint: Peek at your yearly calendar – you forget a lot!
Make sure you tag me if you post on Facebook or IG!
1. Published my first nonfiction book.
2. Published four other full length books and one novella.
3. Wrote three books.
4. Wrote a proposal for a new series.
5. Attended RWA in Orlando.
6. Was nominated for 2 Rita awards.
7. Went with my family to Disneyworld.
8. Attended my first Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC.
9. Attended BEA in NYC and signed Write Naked.
10. Attended Pen Parentis Salon in NYC and read.
11. Attended Apollycon in Orlando.
12. Spoke at the Dalton College Book Festival in Atlanta.
13. Attended an amazing writer’s retreat in Philly.
14. Hit #1 on Ibooks.
15. Went to a Neil Diamond concert with my bestie.
16. Attended the Harvest of Hope in honor of my charity, Pets Alive.
17. Learned about amazing power of family and friends when I needed it most.
18. Went Ziplining with my nieces.
19. Went to Amish Country and Hershey with my family.
20. Spoke and held workshops at RWA and Writer’s Digest conferences.
21. Wrote and read a eulogy for my Dad.
22. Sent a Xmas box to a family in St. Thomas.
23. Donated to numerous charities.
24. Watched my boys grow up happy and healthy this past year.
25. Learned how grief can also bring great love from people you never expected.