I always wanted to be an author who had already published my first novel. When finally I overcame that feeling, I decided to write. My choice becomes a little clearer everyday. By posting in this blog, I remember how much I love to write; on the other hand, I have learned that, unlike my first few months, during which I wrote four or five posts a day, my writing persona lives by a much more relaxed schedule. And while, initially, my intent was to make this blog wholly lessons of and information about Diabetes, I quickly learned, with a little help, (and Thanks!,) that I write more naturally when I write from my heart. In my heart, I have a very different scope of feelings about Diabetes.
I learned, with not a little apprehension, that just because people read my writing one day does not say anything about their reactions to my next post. During the first six months of this blog, I had up to 210 readers in one day. I average 35 now. Obviously, my initial posts were the most personal, and came from stories I’d told myself for years. At the end of that period, I took a week break, and came back to a much smaller group of readers, and to posts which required more and deeper thought.
I faced at this time my innate laziness, a characteristic I was too lazy to change. I say this with a light heart now, but I struggle quite seriously with the desire simply to quit. My entire life was a collection of escapes from doing the hard stuff: I certainly ignored my diabetes, and I think an unwillingness to do the work was at the bottom of that; I never stayed long in a job, or a marriage, because I can do anything for the first few months, until I faced a need to learn and grow, or to quit. I usually quit.
But I stuck with the blog; I even started another blog, for poetry; that second blog still exists, though I post poetry only infrequently. I enjoy writing poetry, but don’t feel called to write it often. This felt, at first, like failure, though I quickly learned to stop punishing myself. No one has an interest in my success or failure greater than mine. In fact, no one is judging my success but me; I spend some time everyday practicing a moderate, supportive effort to overcome my judgment of myself. That task is becoming a little easier every day.
I have always performed well in the face of a challenge, and my choice, to participate in National Novel-Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, presented to me a schedule to meet: 1600 words a day, or 50,000 words in the month of November. I started with a couple of ideas for a novel, but I quickly gave up on them, and began a memoir instead. After that, actually writing the words became easy once more. Another instance of laziness — instead of working, thinking, and finding a story line, I fell back on the story I already knew. On the other hand, I completed the challenge a couple of days early, with pride and happiness.
Even in my rough draft of a memoir, I wrote each event or idea into two- or three-page anecdotes. By the end of that month, I had rediscovered my love of that short-chapter format, which I first discovered by writing sermons. With another helpful suggestion, (Thanks, once more,) I began over the last week to explore the idea of writing essays. As I read more essays, by different writers, I am able to see the similarity of essays to my blog posts. And there I am, back where I started. My new understanding of life, moving in cycles as it does, allows me to let go my need to do everything perfectly the first time. That simple, vital change has set me free.