With my big race behind me for the year, I’ve been refocusing myself on training for the Portland marathon and getting ready for Dave to be in town. Overall, I’ve slowed down quite a bit. I’m resting more, have less on my calendar, and have even seen some movies this week – Begin Again and Obvious Child. Tonight I’ll see Tammy. It’s been lovely. I’m trying to use this period before Dave gets here as a reset of sorts – resetting my schedule, my goals and my mind.
I saw something yesterday at Book People that made me laugh, and I realized its message is what I want for myself.
The print is small, but it says, “I may appear harmless…but inside I’m completely badass.” This card reminded me of something my friend Matt wrote about me after my last race. This is my friend Matt who encouraged my Kilimanjaro climb. He shared a picture of me sitting in a chair eating a slice of pizza having just finished Ironman Coeur d’Alene. His message said, “Iron Woman extraordinaire! She may have a smile on her face all the time, but underneath is a steely resolve to accomplish just about anything she sets out to do.” A steely resolve? I’ve never thought that about myself, but I like that. Very much.
I want very much to be sweet, kind and gentile outwardly and a total force inwardly. I want my goals to be goals, not wishes. I want to have the self-control and discipline necessary to tackle anything, whether it be my work, a race, my personal life, or my writing.
I know I’ve been good about applying myself in some of those areas, as I can identify clear successes of the last few years. I’ve been working as a lawyer on a contract basis for almost three years now, an arrangement that gives me tremendous autonomy and flexibility in my schedule while still allowing me the lifestyle I want to race and travel. Last year, I had my finest racing season and have begun this year off by completing my fifth Ironman. This past year, I’ve developed a focus on my personal life that has paid off in the form of a relationship with perhaps the sweetest man on the planet – a deeply kind soul who is uprooting his life in Iowa to move to Texas for me. Those are specific and wonderful things. But there’s more I want for myself, mostly in terms of my writing.
What have I accomplished in the arena of my writing? I can say that I’ve developed a writing business over the last three years and had articles published regularly in my high school’s alumni magazine. For the last two years, I’ve received 1099s for my writing work. I distinctly remember the rush I experienced when I received my first 1099 for writing. It wasn’t a huge dollar amount, but I felt rich holding that piece of paper in my hands. I’ve also kept this blog fairly consistently and its readership has grown far beyond my friends and family. For that readership, I’m so grateful. But I haven’t done everything I want to do. What I want is to write personal essays and to have those essays published. Eventually I’d like to write a book. What specifically am I doing and what can I do now to move in that direction?
I’m asking myself that because there’s no reason in the world why I shouldn’t be able to become an essayist or a novelist. It might take the next five or ten years of writing and sending things out to make that happen, but those years are going to pass one way or another, aren’t they? Why not build up a body of work in the meantime and muster the courage to ask different publications to print them? That prospect excites me as much as it scares me. That’s how I know that I have to try.