A few months ago, after we’d all realized the world had changed and turned our eyes toward the hellfires of Mordor, Michaeline and I got into a discussion about change in the comments section of this post about writing as our superpower. She mentioned she’d put a tarot card app on her phone and ‘change’ cards kept popping up. Around the same time, I’d had a tarot reading (I was in Salem, MA; it seemed appropriate to do something ‘other-worldly’) during which I’d gotten three change cards (which I gathered from the tarot reader was a lot).
The card reader told me so much change so fast would be…unsettling might have been the least disturbing word bandied about, and warned me I wouldn’t be able to control ALL THE CHANGES. I should learn to change and control what I could and learn to adapt to the rest. Which is definitely a life lesson I seem to need to learn over and over again.
Luckily for me (she said sardonically), I always seem to have some plans for change on the horizon. So here, in a nutshell, are the things I’m doing a little or even a lot differently so far in 2017, and a little update on how it’s going with two months down, 10 to go. (Or, you know, 1.5 months of Sauron-ruled chaos down, 46.5 to go. Ugh. Seeing it in black and white somehow makes it worse.)
A Professional Change. This change technically occurred in 2016. But for the entirety of 2017, I’ve been saying the words, “I’ve retired from that industry.” Does that mean forever? Frankly, I don’t know. We’ve all probably learned the life lesson by now that you should never say never. But as of today, and all the days thus far in 2017, I have embraced the life of the full-time writer.
A Writing Change. Which brings us to the next change. Once I’d dealt with all the details of extricating myself from that other professional life and some minor health issues and larger house projects I’d postponed for years, I was staring down the barrel of long, unstructured days available for writing. For those of you who believe more hours in your writing day are all you need to become a 100+ page per week, Stephen King/Nora Roberts-emulating, unstoppably productive writer: HAHAHAHAHA.
Turns out, it also takes discipline. And planning. And learning to say no to the thousand other things you now could do for your family, friends, community, and the world at large. I’m still working on getting my writing legs under me and setting my mouth in default ‘no’ position. But, as with all other things writing, it’s a process.
In the three years between the end of the McDaniel program in December of 2013 and December 2016, I:
- wrote a novella and book 1 of a romance series and built the story world and bare-bones summaries for the remaining books in the series
- desperately tried – and failed – to revise my McD project book into something saleable
- built a world and wrote and revised the first book of a potential urban fantasy series (which I’ve never mentioned here before because I haven’t been sure I’ll actually do anything with it)
In the first two months of 2017, I’ve:
- completed the post-critique revision of the novella
- am dangerously close to the book 1 first revision for the romance series
- completed the discovery and planning stages of romance series book 2 with plans to finish writing it by the end of May
- am working on planning/discovery for a Women’s Fiction story I hope to finish by the end of the summer
If my plans hold, I’ll have improved my writing pace significantly. And regardless of my word count, I’m now enjoying the hell out of my work days!
A Physical Change. While I entered the year feeling relatively healthy, I did set a goal of meeting some physical challenges. I have participated in extreme fitness programs in the past, which have left me with pretty clean eating habits and a 6-8 workout per week exercise habit. But the eating wasn’t quite clean enough, my body was pretty used to the workouts, and the pants of a few of my suits, which were tailored to a very fit me, had gotten more snug than I’d like.
I knew it was time to mix it up, so I cut my daily caloric intake and eliminated non-nutritious food from my eating habits (with the caveat that I don’t see an occasional small portion of pasta or store-bought crackers as evil incarnate, as some diet purists do.) As for workouts, I added power yoga, which was a type of yoga I’d never done before. And then, after years of talking about it, I finally signed up for Krav Maga classes. Krav is kicking my ass, literally and figuratively. And I love it. I now have a fighting stance, can throw a mean hammer fist, and know how to break a choke hold. Cool stuff, and definitely a positive change.
A Political Change. Time for a true confession here. I’ve always been a bit of a political junkie. My daughter grew up and went into politics. That did not happen by accident. She learned that
bad behavior somewhere. We’ve discussed candidates and elections and policies for years as a family. We’ve always researched candidates’ positions and records and voted diligently. I’ve occasional discussed or even argued policy with relatives, although I had to abandon that a few years ago for my sanity’s sake.
But suddenly, after decades of believing the universe bends toward justice and progress, none of those actions seemed like enough. So, on January 21st, I joined hundreds on the streets of Baltimore/millions on streets across the globe to remind the world we still believe in human rights, bodily autonomy, and respect for our fellow citizens. Since then, I’ve participated in action calls, local huddles, and have become a thorn in the side of the aides who answer phones in the offices of my senators and representatives. I’m doing everything I can to stay informed and ‘woke’, as the youngsters say. It’s exhausting and I might be overextending myself. I probably need to focus a few pertinent issues and regularly scheduled volunteer work. Hopefully, that will be the next stage of this new level of political engagement.
That’s it, the sum total of what I’ve done differently in the first 58 days of 2017. What’s been happening in your life? Big changes? New challenges? Prescient tarot readings? Let us know how you’re coping with 2017!