I may not be updating my 90 day challenge each and every day but, that’s not to say I have veered off in another direction.
Thirty one days in and I have come a long way. I have certainly challenged myself, made myself uncomfortable, then comfortable. I have looked my lack of confidence in the eye and said, ” What the bleep are you doing here?!” Then moved forward.
Here is a summary of the past thirty one days:
1. Reaching out – This is always easier said than done. I had to really think about what this meant. Did it mean just asking people for their opinions? No. Did it mean that I submit work? No. Did it mean that I kept a vigorous writing schedule, updating my blogs, tweets and Facebook status? Certainly not.
Reaching out means, that in order for me to grow and to learn, that I must be part of the whole process. I can’t be a bystander, or just a listener, but a person that takes action. I have to put myself out THERE, where ever that might be.
When I was in Chicago a few months ago, I met a former journalist who gave me his card. We had a brief discussion about writing, the arts, life, etc. At the end of the conversation, and his words still hang over me like a stern bible reading, he said, “You never know what happens when you reach out, you should really try it. Just reach for once.”
Sounds a bit like something in a fortune cookie, but without the “in bed” tagged at the end of the cliché phrases.
It’s also very true.
I read at an open mic, a small gathering, but still intimidating for the first timer.
I accepted an invitation to a lovely poetry event in town.
I joined the board at the Gallery Vertigo (still determining how I could possibly contribute to this wonderful organization, but I will, somehow!)
Organized a local writer’s group. A well needed little community of emerging, professional and everything in between writers. Let me tell you, this is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Organized (ing) a silent auction event for someone I don’t know.
2. Sharing – I have no problem sharing my ice cream, a sweater or my time. I do have a slight queasiness come over me at the thought of allowing someone to read my writing. It is daunting, nerve-racking, and completely distressing, to me.
I have been so involved in my novel, and just getting it all out is my priority. However, in order for me to progress further with it, I have to be able to start sharing it, even in its infantile stages. If I can’t do it now, when will I be able too? I certainly don’t want to be a closet writer for the rest of my life. I shared it, with a trusted friend, my sister-in-law.
I argued with myself on why I shouldn’t share it, why it would be better to just write it and wait. Then I decided that not sharing it would be insulting to myself, and I would already be defeated. I hit send and bit my nails with anxiety.
3.Paying IT forward – Whatever IT is, IT needs to be done and IT should be done. I started to ask myself how I could really use my talents and skills to come to the need of someone else, or make a difference somewhere. Maybe it was just the part of me that felt like I had not really contributed to impacting somebody’s life, or call it a calling from God, whatever it is, IT happened.
For all the humanity, love and kindness in each of us, I dug a little deeper. I offered more than my prayers, well wishes and positive thoughts. I offered to help, to organize an event, to make a difference in the lives of people I don’t even know.
The offer, the words came out of me before I had a chance to even contemplate what I was actually saying.
Check out Healing Eric on Facebook, and see how you can contribute in any way, shape or form. So much love is flowing, that alone is inspiration.
How else could I pay IT forward?
I joined the board at the Gallery Vertigo. Offering up my time, perhaps talent that I don’t know I even have yet (smirking here), can have an impact on others. I aim to try, and to succeed.
4. Talking to strangers – Yes, some are creepy, there is no denying that. There are also countless other strangers who are eager for a decent conversation, a smile, or to meet people. Here was my catch; I would not talk about myself, even when asked about myself. I would answer the question then divert the conversation back to the stranger.
This was a great experience. I did not end up with a pocket full of slips of paper with email addresses and phone numbers, but did meet some interesting people. I was even shown some pictures from an older gentlemans last holiday, while he gave me tips on natural fertilizer for plants. I met a young woman getting started in her own salon, and a doctor getting coffee for his staff on a Friday morning, because he believes that he should be doing something for them for a change.
Will I tell my children that this practice of talking to strangers is ok? I will likely tell them supervised banter with a stranger is acceptable with mom or dad around, otherwise a smile is sufficient.
5. Learning from others and being RECEPTIVE– One thing I have already acquired is the knowledge that there are so many individuals who think they know it ALL. Rather than correcting them, or diffusing their rant with my own opinion, I summon my tongue to bite itself and listen to them with sincerity.
Difficult. Yes. Worthwhile? Absolutely.
I have found that among some of the bantering whether it is advice on parenting from my own parent (always a touchy one for many), or conversations about movies, opinions on subject matter, religion (why go there?) or anything under the sun, there are useful tid-bits that I can take, or useful parts of the way someone is talking that I can use in my own life, or my writing. I take it all, bite my tongue, even when the smaller person in me is itching to say, “Uh, sorry, you know very little of thing you googled.”
There is always, something I can learn from others. ALWAYS. Everything from coma splices, to how not to nap your children. Grin and bear it.
With 59 days to go, I can hardly imagine what other shenanigans I will get myself into, and who I may drag along with me on my journey.
I am happily writing away, even in the awful weather, with a less-than-perfect limb to distract me, messy floors, counter-tops and laundry that is stubbornly staying in the dryer. I have asked God, the universe, the karma people, the good fairy, and all those with the powers that be, to bestow upon me patience, perseverance, a big stress ball, better curse words and ample ways to let me get it all out, over and over again.
“just because something isn’t happening for you right now, doesn’t mean that it will never happen.” ~Anonymus