Try Harder. Fail Better.

blur close up focus ground

Photo by Gelgas on Pexels.com

October is right around the corner, stores have Halloween merchandise displayed (and our winter holiday decorations and gift ideas to follow on the heels of that). The year has flown by so fast and it will be time to ring in the new year before we know it.

Check in time! 

Where are you with your goals this year? Feeling like you’ve made the best of the time you’ve had? Or are you looking back over the last nine months wishing you had balanced things better?

For example – I stated at the beginning of this year that I wanted to write six book reviews and six articles. I wanted to write more short stories, work on my NaNoWriMo novel, and start getting my podcast back on track, as well as maintain regular posts with this blog.

I can safely say I have completed multiple short stories this year, and am looking at a few writing competitions to submit them to. I’ve managed to stay on top of the Sunday night posts.

But … I have not completed a single article or book review (or even finished reading a single book on my list I compiled in January). I have opened my podcast notes twice this year.

While I still have some time left before the end of the year I really have to consider what went into the goals I am attaining, versus the ones that I have not come close to completing.

I have to admit time has been a huge factor this year, or rather, the lack of time. It seems like over the last nine months there have been more activities, more work hours, more stress, just more everything. The concept that hours in a day can be quantifiable is man-made, and also enforced by the human ideas of the meaning of time (and all the things that entails). While time itself isn’t tangible, the things that are done with that time is, and we use that as a measurement of our success.

When we don’t have a tangible product we identify that we have failed.

And product is important.

Yet we can’t ignore the lessons we learn when we fail.

So if you aren’t where you expected to be at this point in the year look instead at what lessons you have learned.

And don’t let failure stop you.

Try.

Fail.

Try harder.

Fail better.

 

Welcome, Autumn

autumn autumn leaves branch bright

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There is a certain romanticism that comes with the first day of Autumn. Many authors have written love letters to the season, or wistful notes to the end of the vibrancy of summer. What does the transition from hot summer nights to cold autumn days make you feel?

Do you create more when the weather cools and you’re drawn indoor? Or is it harder to focus with the days beginning to grow shorter?

Perhaps you find yourself drawn away from one genre to another? Perhaps the poetry of the season pulls out your lyrical nature? Or is the lure of NaNoWriMo teasing a novel from your songwriter’s fingertips?

Do you read more when it’s colder out, finding this the ideal time to take in the work of others?

Whatever your traditions or habits this time of year, remember that now is the time to harvest the seeds that were sown in the spring. I hope that your gardens, be they literal or figurative, are plentiful and take you well through the winter and into the next spring planting season.

Life is What Gets in the Way of Living

frozen wave against sunlight

Photo by Hernan Pauccara on Pexels.com

Do you know that feeling when you can’t quite articulate what you’re feeling? Not even to yourself? And the harder you try the further you get from what it really is?

There is a Buddhist teaching that the harder you reach for something, the harder it is to see, and once you stop trying so hard to force it into focus the easier it becomes clear.

That’s an easy thing to think about, when you aren’t trying to make things happen. But that’s the point right there, isn’t it? It’s easy to believe when you don’t try so hard? That’s the point that is overlooked when the sensation of being overwhelmed kicks in, when you feel frustrated and lost. That it’s easier when we stop struggling quite so hard.

This week has felt like a test of sorts. Hot water stopped working last weekend, missed a day of work to see what the options were to get it working again, and then it was a week before it could be resolved. That’s a week of organizing trips to the folks for hot showers, a week of working extra hours to make up the missed time, a week of waiting and feeling let down.

During that week it felt like a struggle. Like an uphill battle, both ways, in the snow, and darn it I was lucky I had shoes! But now – after taking a hot shower in my own bathroom and feeling relaxed it becomes easy to put the week into perspective.

Life happens. That’s what gets in the way when we’re living. And it’s going to keep happening. I might have preferred extra time to work on my writing – but I made the choice to stay home and work extra hours later in the week. Life is a series of choices that create a path. What we do today will indeed identify what the next twists and turns will look like.

So the moral of the story? Quit struggling against the twists and turns and instead let yourself see from the perspective of life happens.

I Create, Therefore I Am

close up photo of book pages

Photo by Ravi Kant on Pexels.com

I tell people all the time I’m a writer. My business card declares I’m a writer. My web page says I’m a writer. So there you have it. I’m a writer.

And yes, I’ve written some things. This blog, an article or two I’ve stashed on my web page, a short story I submitted to a contest (and then also stashed on my web page).

When asked what I write, though, I become a lost child. “Oh … Ummm … a little thing, not really much to talk about, really an immature little story.” All things I have said in the last couple of weeks.

FOR PETE’S SAKE!! WTH IS THAT?

Do you find yourself making excuses or becoming awkward when referencing your talent?

Do you fumble for words when your brain is screaming for you to instead climb to the tallest nearby structure and scream into the sky “I’m a creator! I create things! Amazing things! You should look at it!”

So this week I’ve been looking at ways that I can branch out more. Become more confident in what I do and how I introduce these skills to people.

For me this is looking at poetry open mic nights, or a short story contest. For other types of creative talents it might be submitting your photography portfolio to a company, or stand up comedy open mic nights. The list of creative endeavors and our options to showcase them are unlimited.

UNLIMITED

So why do we shy away so quickly?

Is it a long standing tradition of parents fearing that their less logical child will not succeed in life? That without a “real” career they will never find their footing to survive in the vast world ahead of them?

Today stand up and shake off their fear. Don’t own it. Instead own your confidence.

Be you.

Be amazing.

Be enough.

 

Like a Rushing River

silhouette of tower

Photo by Maël BALLAND on Pexels.com

I turned 35 this year and maybe it’s existentialism clawing at my very being, but I’ve started to look at my life and I’m feeling a little torn. Torn over what it is I’ve actually accomplished, where it is I’m going, and if I’m really happy with who I am when I present that who out into the world. (The who that is presented out in the world, in question here, is certainly different than the who at home.)

It’s a lot to reconcile.

It’s a heady emotion to feel. Like a rushing river. And now the dam is full, ready to burst.

For well over a year I have begun to walk down a road that makes me really take a hard look at myself, my life, and what it is I want.

Some will say “Oh! You have a husband, three great kids, an established career …”

That’s all true. And I’m grateful for all of it. Yet none of that is an accomplishment – even though I love my husband and children very very much.

THEY ARE NOT an accomplishment. Their lives will be THEIR accomplishment. I will be very happy for them, and I encourage them, but aside from biology I am not about to begin taking credit for what they will accomplish in their lives.

As for the career?

I just happened to be standing in the right place at the right time to fall into a career that paid well and that I was pretty okay at. Top it all off? They lauded me with praise and I had my father’s approval.

Today? Daddy is gone and the praise feels hollow.

So now, who was it all for? And where do I go from here?

Those questions have fueled this blog on many days where I wondered exactly what I’m doing.

So today I sit here and find myself trying to understand how to find happiness in completely overhauling my life. How to align 15 years of experience in a career with only an Associate’s degree under my belt and a hope in my heart.

And then I remind myself that a hope can help light the path while I find my way. That for any one of us trying to figure out how to take a love for the creative and turn it into an accomplished career all we have to do is take the first step.