Start Where You Are

"Start where you are--not where you wish you were. The work you're doing becomes your path." -Ram DassOne of my biggest challenges recently has been to recognize that I have a new, different “normal”. I’m moving more slowly, with more aches; I’m writing more slowly, with more pauses; and I’m weighing more, in heart and body. I’d like to believe I can get back to where I was, so there’s something gently motivating about Ram Dass’ words in this week’s quote.  I’ve been wanting to be done with my latest novel for at least a year now. I’ve wanted many other things in that time, too.

From what I’m hearing from friends and family, the gap between wishes and reality is not uncommon. Last week, after I posted about how stressed so many of us are, I ran across an article that clearly outlined the differences between stress and burn-out. It’s worth considering as a different take on Ram Dass’ words. Stress as over-engagement, and burn-out as pushing past that into disengagement. Wishing I were on a different path is a sure-fire way of pushing toward disengagement. Interestingly, there is a technology that may help train the brain away from stress response. I’m still considering whether that would be worth the investment.

Because there are also technologies for remote pet care. I’m scratching my head on that one, given how much we benefit from direct interaction with our furbabies.

And a technology focused on the opposite end of the personal connection spectrum accomplished its test run last week, allowing SpaceX to re-use one of its rockets to push a satellite into orbit. I also learned more about the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory last week, where tech like Microelectromechanical Systems, wearable and implantable medical devices, and inertial/stellar solutions for GPS redundancy are under development–both of which experiences fired up my brain’s scifi plotbunny generator. Regardless of the fact that I’m supposed to be finishing a low fantasy story.

As this is the post in which we outline our goals for Round 2, though, I’m casting back to what my goals were in January, and discovering they haven’t changed much:

  1. Write a minimum of 2,000 words per week on Fire to Dragon. If I manage this, I will finish that novel in time to make my editor’s renegotiated deadline (May 15) so she can finish her edits before she moves this summer. If not, this book will languish into the fall.
  2. Blog weekly, reporting on my progress to date.
  3. Walk daily, again at least half a mile, though we are, thankfully seeing enough improvement in Tashie’s gait that she managed over a mile for the first time in months.
  4. Enjoy one stay-at-home date night with hubs each week.

Even having been taking the baby steps with words that I have, I’ve managed to get to 75% done. Whether, at some point, I have the time, energy, and inclination to resume sharing book reviews or literary terms posts here remains to be seen. Whether I find a few additional hours to be more proactive with marketing for my books also remains to be seen. For now, I have to keep my focus trained on the one thing I can control: Finishing and releasing my next book. And the next one. And the one after that.

So I will refer you again to the others of my ROW80 group to see how we all do as we keep working our way down this path, and I’ll be back again next week to report on progress.

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2 thoughts on “Start Where You Are

  1. I wish you didn’t need to adjust to a new normal…but I’m glad that you’re learning, and growing, as a result of it. May your commitment become a part of a path that leads not only to creativity, but also to healing.

    And, as someone who was handed a doozy of a new normal almost 14 years ago (no, REALLY?! How can it possibly have been that long!?), I can tell you that there can still be joy and wonder in a new normal, even when it’s one we never would have chosen.

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