November is National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). I’ve never participated. Mostly because the weight of the autumn is enough to try to trudge through without the added pressures of writing. But during my recent stay in the psych ward I was asked the question, “When did you feel most balanced?” And I didn’t even have to think about it.
That’s when I was participating in National Novel Writing Month. That’s when I was getting up at the same time every day and immediately going for a run. I was regimented, I was in control. I felt centered, balanced, whole.
I’m not a long-form writer, so writing a book in a month was rather ridiculous for me. I’d never done it before and haven’t done it since. But blog posts, that’s a thing I can get behind. So join me for the month of November, when I’ll be posting new material every day.
At some point, I had to finish my book. Had to put down my pen and wrap the whole thing up. Submit my final drafts and walk away. It was a project that didn’t get to go unfinished. That’s what happens when you set a release date.
My stomach is still in knots every time someone tells me their copy arrived in the mail. I’m sure there are things I could have done better. Positive they’ll find all the flaws in my work and be upset they spent their money on it. But the project is done and I have to learn to move on. Have to let good enough be good enough.
But it’s made me wonder what I could have done if I pushed just a little harder. If I was more willing to take a chance. More okay with letting go of the idea it could be perfect. To risk not making the deadline and publish something I was genuinely scared of. It’s like I ran as fast as I needed to run to win the race, but not as fast as I could have. How many times have I cut myself short just because I knew my previous limit? All the times I did what I had to do to get an A, but never wondered what would happen if I pushed further.
When things turn out to be easier than I thought they would, I don’t try to make them harder. When I succeed easily where other people struggle, I don’t try to find the point where I’d be challenged. Even with this blog, I’ve found the safe spot to sit with being vulnerable, but not completely open. I write about the more comfortable scary things and push the rest into journals.
But I don’t want to do it like that anymore. I want my projects to make me uncomfortable. To terrify me. I want to make running plans, and book ideas, and blog posts, and commitments that I honestly don’t know if I can finish. And then I want to do them anyway.
I am sick of being comfortable. Of living up to it all the time. I’m sick of knowing I can do the things I set out to do. I am sick of not having the guts to find out if my dreams are tougher than me. I am sick of only standing at the bottom of hills I know I can run up.
I’m ready to do something mesmerizing. I’m ready to dazzle. I’m ready to stop toying around with the easy, the doable, the fragments of sparkle. I am ready to be valiant.