Tag Archives: motivation

Running down a dream

Today, I ran my first half marathon. It has been a goal six years in the making. I came close in 2008, but then a stupid injury sidelined me. Illness, a couple of surgeries and pure laziness kept me from succeeding.

Last January, when I was on a trip to LA with my sister, I knew I had to make a big change in my life. My health had to become my priority.

After nine months of training (with a 2 month break because of travel and a mild case of laziness), I ran the Niagara International Half Marathon

After the run, with our hard earned medals.

After the run, with our hard earned medals.

with my husband, who has also been my awesome and patient coach. It was hard. My legs are not fully functional and probably won’t be for days. My head hurts. And I feel awesome.

I finally reached this goal because I had a plan: “do this much running on these days for this many weeks.” I had to start with a walking plan to build up my fitness. Then my running had to increase to be able to run 10 minutes and walk 1. And then my mileage had to build from 3 km all the way up to 20, and finally 21 km today. It meant running when I didn’t want to. There was a lot of swearing, I won’t lie. A bit of whining too. The couch would be calling, but Dave would be in his running gear and I knew I had to get my ass in gear.

At the beginning, I was scared that I would fail again. That it would continue to be this illusive goal. Right up until I went over the finish line, I was afraid I couldn’t do it.

Stickers helped me to celebrate my progress. Apparently, I'm 8 years old.

Stickers helped me to celebrate my progress. Apparently, I’m 8 years old.

But I did it.

And now I know I can apply the same approach to writing. I went back and re-read my notes and outline. I’m pretty happy with a lot of it, but I’ve also forgotten a lot of the direction I was heading. I’ve been intimidated by the historical research I need to do. Intimidated by the character sketches and plot points.

No more. It’s time to at start by walking, not just talking about it. So it will start with dividing the work I need to do into one month chunks, researching one key topic at a time, then developing character sketches, then moving on to those plot points.  I won’t do it if I allow the intimidation to stall me or if I try to do everything at once.

I know today won’t be my last half marathon (not quite ready to commit to a full marathon yet). I am thankful for how it has prepared me to go after the biggest goal of my life.

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Creative Outlets

Earlier this summer, I decided that, come fall, I would join a choir and play hockey. I was hoping that being in a choir would give me a creative outlet while hockey would allow me to hip check to my heart’s desire. Well, fall is here here (September 22 – not even the calendar will let me deny it), and the thought of strapping on skates has me heading straight for choir practice.

A few people have been shocked by this turn of events. The hitting of hockey they could understand. But choir? What the what?

Their confusion can almost be excused (just barely). I’ve never had aspirations to be a rock star, although I did have an outfit when I was 7 years old that made me feel like one.

I may look ready for story time - really, I was ready to rock!

I may look ready for story time – really, I was ready to rock!

I have always loved to sing and usually I only subject my husband and my best friend to my voice. A choir will give me a place where I can blend my voice with others. And just like the exercise I’m supposed to be doing, it will also give me a healthy release. A way to express myself out loud that won’t get me in trouble.

I’m hoping to use this creative space to help keep me going through the research phase of the book. Being the super active person that I am, I like to think of it as cross training. I need a creative kick in the ass. I caught myself choosing to clean instead of studying up on character development. That’s just wrong.

While it does seem that there are a few characters in the choir, I doubt I’ll find the blueprint for Amelia sitting next to me. But maybe the challenge of spot reading music and managing to actually stay in the alto part enough to kick start an obviously dormant part of my brain.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll see if I can somehow integrate hip checking into the mix. It won’t motivate me, but it will make me happy.

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A break through

I love a great breakthrough. My favourite kind is when I’m writing and the ideas fall in to place and it feels like the story is writing itself.

This breakthrough wasn’t like that. I don’t have a finished manuscript in front of me. The beauty of this breakthrough is that it will let me eventually get to that goal.

I took a break from writing. Well, that’s not completely true. It wasn’t as much a  break as it was giving up. I got completely stuck on “oh my god, do I have an adequate concept.”

I spun. I twisted. I fretted. I didn’t t write. I didn’t move forward.

To be fair, there was also a little matter of my mom ending up in the hospital. Between the back and forth and spending copious time in the depths of fear and worry, I didn’t have the time or energy.

While that’s the truth, I also had to ask myself, “Self, do you have the will?”

I was going to give it another week of laziness, using the fact that we’re at a cottage as an excuse. But then I was left alone for a few hours. The book I’m reading wasn’t calling me. I found the perfect place to study.

Instead of moving ahead to the next competency in the book, I reread the  section on concept. Maybe it’s the fresh air or the fact the sun is finally shining or maybe it’s the rice crispie square I ate with great gusto. What ever the reason, this time I was less uptight about the whole thing. This time different words stood out to me:

“At some point”
“During the process”
“Can’t ever know for sure”

You mean I don’t have to be perfect?

With that breakthrough, that bit of permission, I could move forward. I was able to see that I can’t be married to every element of my original idea and came up with a couple of ways  to improve my concept. The rest will continue to unfold. I’m early on and need to take my time – as long as I keep going.

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A place of inspiration

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