Feb 17, 2011


The past few months have been trying. Exhausting. Frustrating. And I swear, I don't want to complain, but seriously people, I'm ready to throw in the towel.

I knew going into parenthood that times would be challenging. I don't think anyone who intends to become a parent goes into it thinking life with a new baby is going to be like the inside of the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue. Because if it was, I would have signed up years ago. No, I went into this knowing there would be sleep deprivation and illnesses and even the trying toddler phase. Anyone who knows me knows how ill Griffin has been since October (not even counting everything he's had since birth). I'm not even going to list the illnesses because 1) there are too many and 2) I don't want to relive any of those moments.

OK, so kids get sick. I know that. They are constantly sticking their hands in their mouths and they have yet to master the whole cough-into-your-elbow thing. It's going to happen. But so often? And so severely at times? Griffin got tubes put into his ears in July. He did well for a few months, but then BAM. He's had four infections since mid-November. Four. One of which lasted three weeks.

Exactly how bad is it? Our pharmacist knows me by sight. And when Patrick picks up Griffin's medication, she tells him, "Tell Tracy I said hi." No joke. This has happened more than once.

A number of months ago, I spoke with my doctor about the stress in my life - some of it out of my control and other stress that I allow to take over. It turns out that I wasn't taking care of myself very well. Not so much physically, but emotionally. I was doing for everyone else, but not for myself. I wasn't reading or writing. I was eating junky foods and not exercising. I wasn't laughing. When I left her office I came up with a game plan. I joined Weight Watchers and began eating better and losing weight. I started going back to the library once a week by myself and slowly browsed the shelves. I started writing again and completed another NaNoWriMo. I even managed to get back into crocheting - this time I started making something for myself.

And then Griffin got sick. And got sick again. And again. I was forced to miss work. My anxiety level skyrocketed. I missed two Weight Watcher meetings in a row (one because I was in the hospital with Griffin and the next because he passed his illness onto me). I've been reading the same chapter of a book for the last month. That sweater I was making for myself? Still not done. I don't even want to bring up the novel I'm trying to finish.

Is some of this out of my hands? Yes. I wasn't going to leave my son in the hospital with a fever of 106 so I could go to Weight Watchers. I slept when I could (and believe me, I tried to sleep), but Griffin's coughing fits kept me awake. So yes, there were things I could not control. However, I am very aware that I could have done something to counteract the stress and anxiety. Sleep deprivation and a bad case of bronchitis didn't have to keep me from making poor dietary choices (OK, maybe that one Friday when I couldn't get out of bed, but all the other days I could have done better).

The bottom line is that I've been derailed...and maybe I derailed myself a bit. I'm going to go back to Weight Watchers tonight knowing full well that I've probably gained something fierce. It's a starting over point. A getting back on track point. Not just with Weight Watchers, but with being good to myself again. Reading. Writing. Planning our garden for the coming Spring. And laughing. I've really missed laughing. I can't wait to do that again.

Feb 15, 2011

Taking a step back

I hate that my blog has become all about writing. I started this five years ago as a way to log the rather boring details of my life - not for anyone other than myself. I was a journal-keeper. I have stacks upon stacks of notebooks logging the boring details of my life going all the way back to my first years as a teenager. Life got busy and the writing slowed and then eventually stopped. Blogging was a way for me to get back into that habit of writing and tracking all that was going on in my life (even if it was interesting to no one but me).

I wrote about my family, my hobbies, my travels, and my passions. Along the way, I rediscovered my love of writing fiction.While I mentioned it frequently, I never did anything about it. By chance, I met someone who also loved writing. She might have loved it more than me. Or perhaps she expressed it more than me because the love was there, but over the years I just pushed it down. It was just another unrealistic dream.

But here's the thing. It's not unrealistic. I always say, If you don't go in, you can't find out. So a couple of years ago I decided to go in so I could find out. I completed NaNoWriMo in 2009 and subsequently completed my first novel. I'm working on completing Novel #2. I began reading published author/writer blogs and trying to soak up as much knowledge as I could from those with more experience. I've never admitted it, but all that did was make me aware of exactly how much more I needed to learn. I felt defeated and insecure. Not ready to throw in the towel (because you can't get rid of me that easily), but definitely discouraged. Definitely feeling left behind.

Until I read this post by author Jody Hedlund. A light went on! She goes on to say:

"But newer writers today have the pulse of the writing industry at their fingertips. And while there are an incredible number of benefits to being intimately connected to the industry, young writers may also be feeling undue pressure to do too much too quickly. And once under the pressure, they may soon find the love and joy of writing zapped from them.

I think newer writers, those close to the beginning of their writing journeys, need to take the pressure off themselves. And they need to give their creativity and love of the writing process time to develop."
I feel as though I'm in a mad rush to win a marathon. I need to slow down. I need to pace myself. I need to reignite that passion for writing that I've lost along the way. So I am taking a step back - no more reading so many writer blogs, no more trying to keep up with others, no more unnecessary pressure on myself. I just need to get back to the basics. Just write.

Feb 11, 2011

On hold

I knew that keeping up with my daily word count was going to be a challenge, but I thought I was going to be up against my own motivation, work deadlines, family obligations, and love of a good night of sleep. I never thought I'd have to put everything on hold while I tended to a two-year old with pneumonia and a temperature of 106. Griffin was home from day care for over a week and all my time and energy went to giving him tons of different medications, going on follow-up doctor's appointments, keeping him cool and calm (not an easy task), and trying to catch up on my own sleep.

To make matters worse, as soon as he was well enough to go back to day care, I got sick. Really sick. I developed a cold which quickly turned into a bad case of bronchitis. Being an asthmatic, I'm used to bronchitis, but this one is a real doozy.

While I hoped to be done with the first draft of this novel by the end of March, it's looking more like sometime in April. How do I feel about being so far behind? To quote Griffin, who uttered this phrase to me while we were in the ER waiting for his lab results, "I no happy."

I do have a lot of catching up to do, but what really matters is that Griffin got over the pneumonia and is just about back to his regular, crazy self.

Feb 8, 2011

New look and an update

For all three of you out there who actually read this blog, you're thinking to yourselves, "Tracy, why are you changing the look of this blog...again?" Or perhaps you're not asking yourselves that question and I'm just paranoid that people think I can never make up my mind (OK, I confess...I'm a horrible decision maker, but that's not why I changed my blog).

The truth is I got bored and I didn't feel like the layout really expressed who I am and where I'm headed as a writer or wannabe-writer (or whatever the heck I am). I like the look of this layout and I was able to tweak it just a bit (who knew I could figure out HTML?).

As for the goals I posted a few weeks ago, I am working on finishing Novel #2. I was all excited when I developed my word count goal. I even use a nifty little Excel spreadsheet to automatically track everything - even the anticipated finish date. However, last week Griffin developed a horrible case of pneumonia (along with a temperature of almost 106). Yeah, that pretty much derailed my word count for last week. Instead of writing 5000 words that week, I managed to get in about 3900. Not bad considering, but still a bit disappointing.

So here's to a new week and a fresh start...