Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Fish or Cut Bait

 I can't say for sure when I first decided I wanted to write a book. All I know is that I wrote one in 5th grade. 

I don't remember what it was about. And sometime between the end of 5th grade, when my teacher gave it to my parents and told them (according to my mother) that it "showed promise" and 15 years later (when I dug through the huge box of my school papers she'd collected over the years), it had disappeared. 

For the next 38 years, I talked sporadically about writing a book. But a lack of self-confidence, time, knowledge of the business of writing a book and getting it published were hurdles I didn't know even the first step of overcoming. 

And I was so busy! Once I graduated from college and began teaching, I spent most of my free time attending my students' extracurricular events, grading papers, and preparing for class. I got married, and although I took a break from teaching, I was even busier. Raising children, moving more than a few times (my husband was in the Air Force), attending my own children's activities, and the general busy-ness of life consumed my time, thoughts, and energy. I returned to college to earn a Masters and returned to teaching. It seemed every hour -- every minute -- of every day was consumed by something that had to be done. 

But the dream of writing a book never faded. In fact, it grew stronger.

By the time my youngest child left for college, I was an adjunct college instructor and had time to write.  I'd begun doing some freelance writing of articles for special interest publications my local daily newspaper published monthly. For the first time in my life, I was writing for something other than a class I was taking or a classes I was teaching, and I was ecstatic. It seemed as if, just maybe, I was on the path to seeing if I could make my dream come true.

And then my entire life trajectory changed with the death of my husband. Grieving, returning to teaching full-time, moving, and just getting through each day consumed everything I had.

And before I knew it, 38 years had passed.

I've attended writing conferences (3, in fact). I know how hard it is to become a published author. It's a daunting task. Heck, it's beyond daunting! And if you factor in my age . . . well, let's just say that the odds of my ever becoming a published author would preclude almost any reasonable person from putting any money on it happening.

Yet the dream persists. 

And I've come to a point in my life where it's time to decide. Do I finally pursue it?

Or do I put it to rest and stop writing, stop doing the few but time-consuming tasks I perform daily to be prepared in the event that I ever write a book?

I'm tired of dithering over this, so I've decided it's time to either "fish or cut bait", as my grandpa would say. I'm going to pray diligently for clear direction (and your prayers are appreciated as well, and I've set a "decision deadline" of July 26.

T-minus 27 days . . . 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

After the Adventure

My advanture is complete! In case you don’t follow me on Facebook, let me explain. Between April 8 and May 24 (when I returned home from the third and final leg of travel), I traveled throughout all but 4 of the U.S. states east of the N-S line from North Dakota down to Texas. 

Over the course of 6 1/2 weeks, I . . . 

traveled 7,655 miles

visited 27 states, 11 of which I had never before visited

visited well over 35 individual towns and 1 large city

spent 27 days and 25 nights on the road

camped 16 of those nights in my mini-van (with seats removed and a temporary 

             Murphy bed installed)

drove and ventured out in rain (at least 6 days of nonstop rain), snow and sleet (2 full

             driving days), and occasional sunshine 

stayed put for 5 wonderful days in Florida with both of my adult children/spouses and

             my 3 absolutely awesome grandchildren

I met lots of wonderful people; revisited some favorite places and discovered many new-to-me wonderful ones; had countless hours in which to simply relax and enjoy myself; and had more than enough time to ponder some issues that had been floating around my brain for awhile.

One key takeaway from all that praying and pondering is the fact I I’ve been circling around the topic of my future for far too long. 

You see, for the past 13 years I’ve weathered significant losses and major changes by adjusting and reacting to each one the best I could at the given time. That strategy (or lack thereof) brought me, a year or so ago, to the realization that my life was in need of major change. 

As a result, for nearly a year, I’ve been preoccupied with where I am and how to get to where I want to be in the future. 

I’ve already begun making changes, but I decided  while traveling that it was time to stop dilly-dallying around and make what major changes I can and lay the groundwork for those changes I can’t yet make. 

I plan to share some of those changes, as well as updates on my writing, with you in future posts.

I hope you’ll join me, not just be reading these posts but sharing via a comment your own experiences and reactions to mine. 

Until next Tuesday . . .