Celebrating the little victories

Have you ever noticed that as soon as you commit to doing something is about the same time that life seems to commit to derailing you? I can’t exactly blame this one on life, but it nearly got me today nonetheless. I shared in a recent post how I had allowed the dream to write to slip away in the past. I said yesterday I had a plan to keep that from happening again. It was during that planning that I about got off track only a few days into this adventure.

Photo by Dave Dunmire

Taken by the author in his hometown.

I was planning the schedule and goals for this week, figuring out what needed to be done when to accomplish having the first short story ready to publish this coming weekend. I had laid everything out, listed the workloads for each day, and was about to pat myself on the back when it hit me. I had overlooked two big commitments this week, completely forgot about them. Now somewhere I was going to have to come up with the time and energy to get the writing done. What a disappointment, and this type of thing would have sent me into a frustrated defeat the last time around.

Instead of tossing my hands, and schedule, in the air and calling it off I made a choice. I chose to put my money where my big mouth (or really fingers, as I typed the words) was and do the thing I had said I needed to do a few days earlier. I wrote. I didn’t whine about the extra time, I didn’t fret about the problem, I didn’t let the hurdles stop me from running the lap. Like a cowboy with a pen I grabbed the proverbial bull by the horns and tossed that sucker at the dirt.

The moment of truth

It was in that moment, the moment I committed to making the time to write, that I saw the changes in myself. I have grown up a bit since the last time I “tried” this. And for that I can celebrate what God is doing in my life. Staring my stubbornness and pride in the face in admitting that needing to be organized wasn’t weakness was just one step in the journey. Now when tempted to make excuses and “skip” a day where it would be easier for me I can take the advice I know I’d give anyone else. I can literally hear myself saying to a friend or loved one “stop whining and get on with it”.

Here today however I can for once see myself in need of the advice I’d hand out but never receive. Too proud to admit that I am just like everyone else wont cut it anymore. I have come to understand that the biggest obstacle to my dreams is and has always been the guy I shave with in the morning.

I urge you all then to come to this realization with me. Whatever you are seeking to do in your life this concept applies. Writing, cooking, learning a language, cleaning your house, being a better parent, whatever you are striving for. Here it is, and it has always been right here in front of us.You have to commit to it, all in. Whatever you are doing you have to make the time to do it. Squeeze out your daily planner for the extra minutes that add up to hours. Make it a priority and guard that time against your own excuses. For me that meant giving up my “me” time Sunday night to write and stay on track, knowing I would be away Monday.

“I have come to understand that the biggest obstacle to my dreams is and has always been the guy I shave with in the morning.”

One last word of warning. In staying committed to your goal, don’t allow the pendulum to swing to the opposite extreme. Don’t neglect the other treasures in your life to reach the goal. Be unwilling to sacrifice family time, time with friends, time to serve others. Make the cuts in the schedule in the areas that benefit you, not those around you.

Do I really need to read the news so many times in a day? Is the world going to freeze on its axis if Facebook is not checked every hour on the hour? Can life go on without the daily stop at the coffee shop? (Hold on there keyboard ranger, you leave the coffee alone!) Find the places to make wiggle room, then take it. And for crying out loud, enjoy the ride!

Staying on track and accountable

  • 2369 words written for my novel
  • 2014 words on the short story I began this week
  • Outlined basics of new story about a female counterterrorism operative with a troubled past
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