Time for 2013, and a Few Harsh Truths

I’m not very good at this whole blogging thing.

While I admire – and am a little jealous of – those who can pump out a post per day or more, I just can’t commit to it. I want to, but when I get to that Add New Post section and it’s staring back at me blankly, almost defiantly, I freeze up and forgot what brought me there in the first place. Once that nasty self-talk kicks in with it’s ‘you know, you’re really not interesting enough to be doing this’, it’s over. It’s all rather discouraging.

I’d like to say it’s because I was way too busy to blog, but that would be lying. In December, it was true: I was on my way to building what might have been a successful bake-on-demand business, offering to do the holiday baking for those who may have neither time nor inclination. I say ‘might have’ because although it was a moderate success for a soft launch, what happened afterward was less so. Pain is what happened. Over Christmas, I could barely lift a spoon let along beat anything with a spatula because my arm was hurting so badly. As it turns out, a nerve damage issue from my former desk job combined with carpal tunnel AND arthritis were all joining forces to tell me that this is not the path I’m supposed to be on. And don’t even get me started with the city zoning and regulations issues. It’s really a miracle that anyone operates a food business at all.

Which begs the question: what the hell do I do now?

In a way, the forced moratorium on daily baking made me have to do some serious thinking about my motivations. And despite all of my self assurances to the contrary, my obsessive baking was not a healthy tribute to my mother. Quite the opposite, in fact. It was more a desperate attempt to connect with her on some level now that she’s gone, and it was keeping me from accepting her death and moving forward. She had spent most of the day before the stroke took her away from us baking, and no amount of me re-creating that day through a variety of baked goods is going to bring her back.

Unfortunately, it took my best friend basically calling me out on it as well as the death of another loved one – my childhood best friend’s mother, who was like a second mother to me – to show me.

So now, I’m faced with the ugly task of rebuilding. For someone who places a large amount of her self worth in what she does for a living, you can imagine what six months of unemployment is doing to me. When I was baking, at least I felt like I was contributing something of value, building toward something bigger than myself. Sadly most of that value has been converted into inches on my waistline and it’s myself that is bigger, but that’s not the point I’m making. The point is, where do I go from here?

One consolation I have is that I’m about fifty pages away from finishing a complete rewrite of The Novel. I took all of the suggestions made to me from a literary agent who had showed some interest in the story, and changed the point of view from first to third person as well as shaved off a good twenty to thirty pages of unnecessary backstory, and am now on the verge of being able to consider re-submitting to other agents – that first one included. So I guess that’s one thing. But that’s not enough to base an entire future on.

I suppose I could start by changing my perspective. Normally, I am very much a glass is half empty kind of person. Perhaps if I could start looking at it from a more positive spin, like this is an opportunity to start a new chapter and try a whole new direction, I would be way better off both emotionally and physically. But as the late payment calls for bills I don’t have the money to pay at the moment, that might be easier said than done.

Anyone else find themselves in a similar situation? I take some comfort in knowing that I must not be alone in this.

A Slower Start Than I’d Hoped…

Unfortunately, this week hasn’t gotten off to the rollicking start I was anticipating. I was hoping that by today I’d be able to report that I’d accomplished at least one if not two of the goals I’d laid out earlier this week. But sadly, that’s not the case. And as is typical of me, I was quick to blame myself.

“You’re lazy.”

“What makes you think you’d be able to do that?”

“You’ll just try once, fail, and then give up entirely – so why bother?”

And so on, and so on. You get the idea. Last night was the lowest of the low points during which I’d managed to convince myself that I’m destined to fail at anything, and needless to say I woke up feeling pretty shitty. But over the course of the day today, I had a bit of an epiphany. That nasty voice inside my head would probably scoff and say ‘excuses more like’ – in fact I’m almost certain that’s what I just heard again now as I type – but there are actual reasons why I haven’t gotten anything crossed off my to-do list. None of which have anything to do with the ones written above…

1. It’s been hotter than Hades this week – so not really conducive to baking or exercising. However, in of the heat, I did manage to bake and build a birthday tank cake for my little man’s tenth birthday – something that was not on my initial list that perhaps should have been. I will try to remember to post a picture of it later.

2. I’ve been busy with other things – and while that may not be the best reason, it’s a legitimate one. Monday saw me very atypically volunteering for a school field trip with my son, something I’d never been able to do since he started school because I was always working. Considering I’m not fond of children unless they’re my own, it’s not likely something I’ll be doing again anytime soon. And the other days have been spent cleaning up the house, doing laundry, taking extra recycling to the depot and wandering around window shopping with my hubbie; again, all things that we’d never really had the time to do before. So while I haven’t made any headway with my personal list, there are other things that I’ve been doing in lieu of it.

And finally, the third one is harder to admit and the one I’m least proud of.

3. I’m scared – since those other two items don’t inspire much in the way of fear, I’m mostly referring to The Novel on this last one. Because dragging that book out again…that’s a bit of a struggle. I can still feel the sting of all those rejection emails whenever I think about going back to it. But I have to get past that somehow. It’s been long enough and – dammit – it’s a really good story, so it deserves a second chance. Especially since one agent I sent it to really liked the premise and invited me to a workshop he taught to get feedback where I learned quite a bit. And that I’d made some fairly classic rookie writing mistakes, but nothing that couldn’t be undone. And while it’s entirely possible that the agent only invited me because he wanted my money (to take the whole workshop series, which I didn’t) given that it was a small group of five other people, I’m inclined to think that there was something about my writing that he felt was good enough to take to the next level. And yes, he could have had a group like that running each day twice a day with every other naive new writer with stars in their eyes and been raking in a small fortune on the dreams of others, I don’t believe that was what happened. The nasty little voice, on the other hand…

So yes, there are reasons why I’m not where I thought I should be this week. But there are still a few days left, and I just have to keep remembering that we all have our good days and bad days and days where we feel like we should be doing more. The point is to ignore that little voice inside that keeps reminding you that you aren’t good enough to achieve anything and just keep plugging away as best you can. Maybe those bad days will suddenly take a turn for the better.