Doors Closed, Doors Opened

Hi friends. I’m having a bad, hard day. One where it was a battle to even climb out of bed, and in fact, one where I didn’t climb out of bed till early afternoon. Things have been going much better with my sleep since meeting with the insomnia doctor two weeks ago, but then I have a day like today, and I feel like a failure.

I know I’m not a failure. But there’s still this weird shame for me to not be able to get out of bed. I feel like I let everyone, including myself, down. But I’m trying to show myself grace. So I decided to look through my goals for 2016 and see where I’m at. Even though I know that I have not met most of them, I still feel good about my progress.

collage photos of doors on the old districts of Europe

Behind Door 1: a final manuscript of Salt Novel 

I have finally gotten back in the groove of writing. I am writing every day and loving it. I feel like that hadn’t happened yet in 2016. Eight months in, I have found a rhythm. I feel good about what I’m writing. I want to write. I am sitting down every night to do the hard, fulfilling work of wrestling through a manuscript and its issues. I am solving them as I encounter them, giving myself time and grace to find solutions. I have hope that this novel might be really special.

Behind Door 2: a first draft of my next novel.

I realized I already have this. It’s called Yes Novel.

Behind Door 3: three new story ideas, just the bare bones.

I have very thin ideas for Fox Novel, Ivy Novel, and Glass Novel.

Behind Door 4: a writing retreat.

I did this, but very, very low-scale. I usually go to Duluth for around a week each summer, but it just wouldn’t work out with finances and PTO this year, so I did a long weekend in my beautiful home office, and even though it was all brainstorming and plotting and no actual writing during those four days, I ended up about a thousand miles from where I began. It was amazing.

Behind Door 5: a day of creative exploration.

Does it count that I went to a really cool restaurant the other day? I still really want to do this. Okay, I just asked on Quora for some ideas.

Behind Door 6: a pruned TBR shelf, via reading and weeding.

I started off the year STRONG. I was brutal on my TBR shelf and made several trips to Half Price Books. I was also really good at not buying new books unless I really, really, really wanted them and had a gift card. In the second half of the year, I’ve gotten bad again, buying buying buying. Though I am using the library more than I have since I was in high school, so that’s smart! Okay, I am recommitting to being smarter about my book-buying habits.

Behind Door 7: a book of poetry every month.

Not happening. No matter how bad I want it to happen. I’m just not in the right spot to make this a thing right now.

Behind Door 8: a healthier writing lifestyle.

See Door 1! I feel like I’m doing so, so, so much better. Trying to be smarter about writing in small, two-hour chunks instead of killing myself with a twelve-hour writing marathon. Just trying to move forward every day. Reading The Art of Slow Writing was so good for me.

Thoughts

Okay, so I’m not a failure. I’ve plodded through deep waters this year, and I haven’t drowned yet. In fact (if I set aside how low and icky today was), I am on my way toward tremendous health. My OCD is in check. I haven’t needed to see my therapist in months. I am taking real steps to solve my sleep issues and those steps are, for the most part, working. I have healthy relationships. I have a writing project that fulfills me. I have committed to staying in my role in admissions for now and have lots of ideas to improve my recruiting. I’m not a failure. Today was a setback, but those are normal. Back on the horse, Sommers. Forward.