Standard Inspirational Morning Post

When I was in high school, my friend always repeated the same mantra:

Expect the worst, hope for the best.

As a cynical teenager, I loved the phrase. I repeated it too because I liked knowing that if something went wrong, I was already prepared for it. This way I was never disappointed. And when something went right? Well, it was just perfect.

(And then came my second favorite quote: “If you start out depressed everything’s kind of a pleasant surprise.” Thank you, Lloyd Dobler.)

Over time, though, my cynicism was lost. I hated the idea of looking at situations negatively. Why would you do that? Why would you prepare for something bad to happen?

Which is why I’ve decided to change the original quote. I don’t want to expect the worst anymore. If you expect the worst, why try for something great? Really, it’s setting yourself up to fail.

So how about this: “Know the worst, but shoot for the best.” 

With this, you understand the worst that can happen. You can analyze it from every situation and, in a way, still be prepared. But you’re not settling. You’re not telling yoruself that it’s okay to fail. You’re still going for the best in the situation.

Because rather than looking at things cynically, I’d rather be positive. I’d rather see the best in my future and do everything I can to reach it. Sometimes, I’ll even throw away the worst feelings. Leave them at home with all other doubts, and just keep climbing until I get what I want.

Because I’m done being prepared. I want to reach and hope and shoot and keep going and actually believe in the best. Because I know it can come.

And you should, too.

2012 Update

Remember my resolutions from January 1st?

Well, beside the whole “work out” one that I never keep, I’ve actually managed to – for the most part – conquer the rest! Let’s observe.

1. Learn to knit.

Done and done. I’m not fantastic by far, but I’m really enjoying it. The above project was originally going to be a scarf for my friend’s baby, but I messed up a bit. So, rather than gifting it away, I made it into a bracelet for myself. I’m excited to start my next project. Knitting seems to relax me – go figure.

2. Do everything in my power to get TNWSY agented.

I am! I’ve sent quite a few queries out, and entered two contests. Right now I’ve had a few rejections, and a few partial/full requests (which is, might I say, extremely exciting).

3. Start Book 2.

While it might not have had the best of starts, Book 2 is in progress! It has a plot, all mapped up, and three characters I’m absolutely in love with. And most importantly, I’m excited to be working on it. Takes my mind off the rejections, too.

UPDATE:

S reminded me of our fourth, unofficial, resolution. I must include it.

4. Do something different every week.

S and I have decided that each week we’ll go somewhere new or try something new. It’s an easy way to better explore the city, or at least have a mini adventure. In this effort we’ve: tried new restaurants, gone to new areas in town, and, most oddly, went to bars in both a grocery store and a furniture store. Also, we stumbled upon a Civil War reenactment behind an antique complex. It’s true. Orlando has some where places. We’ve really been enjoying this little addition to our weeks.

So that’s where I stand, almost two months in. I feel good. I’m nervous, of course; it’s scary how much I want TNWSY to succeed. But I take everything day by day. I’m still new in the game, after all.

What about you all? How are your resolutions coming along?

Fear

Let me admit something – It took me 7,000 years (or so it felt) to finish a novel because I was afraid. So so afraid. What if it wasn’t good? What if it didn’t live up to other books? What if people hated it? Hated me? What if I start to doubt myself? Doubt my story? It was all there. Every fear bubbled inside me for days, weeks, years. Every book I’d start, I’d look at and think “oh, well this sucks,” and then scrap it for something new. Or, I’d like a part and keep re-writing it until I thought it was perfect. But it was never perfect because I had such high expectations. Let’s be honest, I’ll never be the next Bronte, the next Fitzgerald, the next Twain.

As a writer, my degree in literature kind of set me up for failure.

But thanks to NaNoWriMo, I blocked out that fear and kept going. I knew what I was writing wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t care. I barreled through, writing page after page. I knew at the end there would be the big boss, like in every video game, and I knew I’d have to punch my way to the finish line, but I was ready. Because in that month, I finally believed in myself. I believed that, even if the book never sells, even if it sits on my computer for all of eternity, as long as it was finished, I won.

I’m starting this year without fear. I’m editing madly, making the book as clean as I can. I’m stomping all over fear and toasting to my accomplishment. Because I did win. I completed my ultimate goal.

I read the article “25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing” this morning and one part stood out to me:

 But being a writer is nothing worthy of fear. It’s worthy of praise. And triumph. And fireworks. And shotguns. And a box of wine. So shove fear aside — let fear be gnawed upon by escalators and tigers. Step up to the plate. Let this be your year.

And so I shall. I’m diving head first into this year, not worrying about the sharks that may be swimming around in the water. I’m going to make mistakes, and learn from each one. Because with each mistake, or each victory, it means I’m trying. It means I’m actually doing something, and that, for once, I’m not afraid. I’m not hesitating and wondering what may be waiting around the next bend. I’m running forward with my chin up and eyes open. And I’m ready for anything.

And I hope you are, too.

Let’s do this thing.

No Touchy

I think i’m going crazy.

When I was young, I had this weird thing where I HAD to sleep with blankets covering my neck. I couldn’t even get comfortable if my neck was exposed. I blame this on early viewings of Robocop. While I don’t remember the movie much (as it traumatized very little me), I do recall a scene where someone was stabbed in the neck with a syringe. Of course, this memory could prove to be false, but I’m holding onto it. Anyway, I figured blankets would stop a would-be drug injector from getting to me. Behold the power of blankets!

Around college, I grew this weird aversion to anything touching my neck. Anything. At. All. Goodbye drug blockers, blankets couldn’t go up there. Neither could turtlenecks. I was extremely ticklish, but that wasn’t even it. I just didn’t like things touching me.

So of course over time, sleeping got a bit harder. I had to ensure my hair was pulled back before bed. Shirts had to be loose. Weird, right? But if I abided by these new rules, I slept fine.

That is, until this week. Now, shirts have become a problem. I can wear a tank top fine, but a t-shirt? Oh no. I wake up with my hands literally grabbing at the neck of my shirt, pulling it down. It’s weird. And kind of frightening. I can’t fall asleep if the t-shirt is anywhere near my neck. So, back to tank tops despite the colder weather.

So, please, do tell – I’m going crazy, aren’t I?