The Habit of Bravery

Young woman in tree holding rope

At present I’m fighting jet lag, caffeine withdrawal and a family who doesn’t know when to settle down for the evening. All that aside, I don’t think I would have difficulty writing a blog post. I’ve fought through similar circumstances before to meet my self-imposed schedule. I love blogging. I have ideas I want to convey, some of which might even be helpful to you. Yet my fingers and brain conspire to halt every sentence I write, and my internal editor is so active, she must be training for an Olympic meet. Why should that be, exactly?

I’ve entertained several theories over the past twenty-four hours, and the one that seems most true is that I’ve fallen out of the habit of being brave. The very conditions which made our family holiday so relaxing have atrophied my mental muscles. So today, rather than throw in the towel, some baby steps forward.

I’m going to make a few declarations and just get the worst of it out there. A few points will receive full press treatment in later posts, so consider yourself forewarned. If you don’t value honesty, bluntness and a tendency towards pessimism, this blog’s probably not for you this week.

  1. The Tart is not a Disneyland kind of girl. Not.
  2. Though I learned a lot at RWA Nationals, and count wonderful moments as part of the experience, I cannot precisely say I had fun
  3. I envy people who sail through writing conferences without acute self-consciousness, shyness, or interference from people-generated drama. Since those are probably mythical beings, I envy those who appear to sail through writing conferences without acute self-consciousness, shyness, or interference from people-generated drama.
  4. Maui is teh awesome.
  5. My family is teh awesome.
  6. I cannot wait for the ToolMaster, Frank and Molly to be teh awesome elsewhere — that is to say, their workplace and schools. They should share their many gifts with other people who will appreciate them, and let me get back to my routine.
  7. If I had any self-discipline, the last statement would be entirely unnecessary. My family should stay home long enough for me to develop a routine that includes them.
  8. The Tart occasionally experiences ambivalence.

There. Having struck a blow against the dark forces of cowardice and inertia, a video which puts my own struggles into perspective.  Also, it contains James Blunt, which is never a bad thing.

How are you doing with your holidays? Were they all you hoped? More? Are you ready to return to “normal” life or comfortable exactly as you are?


17 thoughts on “The Habit of Bravery

  1. My life returns to normal during the first week of September. We’ve got one more season of Dexter to finish, then I’m back on my writing schedule. AT&T has finally agreed with me that there is a bad cable from the terminal box to my house. *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* I am using short sentences because my brain is fried.

    Most important sentence: GLAD YOU’RE BACK! 😉

  2. I think one of the reasons we have to “get away” is so we’ll appreciate the rhythms and routines of the daily life when we come home. 🙂 This summer has been probably the nicest I can ever remember, with absolutely perfect weather (until today — LOL — today feels like November).

    I had a bout of second-guessing recently — the internal editor wanted to make sure I used every bit of the craft and technique stuff I’ve learned the past few months. Unfortunately her timing was horrid — I was expected to do all that BEFORE I’d even drafted something, rather than AFTER, like I usually do. LOL I think we’ve come to an agreement finally. “Story First” is my new motto. The second guessing is well, second. 🙂

  3. I’ve heard of these mythical ideas called ‘holidays.’ I’ve often wondered–should I give my alien characters a holiday? (When I never seem to get one?) Where would they go? I’m sure they’d fit right in with many of our society’s complex social circles. Put a few of them in a scifi convention and see how they fit in. Yes, how many of those people are really ‘in’ costume, anyway? What if those aren’t really ‘fans’ following William Shatner around?

    I use the concept of a ‘holiday’ to give myself inspiration. “Keep on writing until one of those novels becomes a best seller and THEN you can go to Hawaii…”

  4. “…honesty, bluntness and a tendency towards pessimism” OMG, you could be living in my brain. 🙂

    Agree with Donna that part of what makes getting away so great is that it makes us appreciate returning home.

    I need to get brave again soon. My blogging hiatus has to end, and I need to start querying again. Got any courage to spare?

  5. Donna, good job on establishing your hierarchy of writing. Can you speak to my internal editor? And how interesting about the weather. We’ve a nearby maple tree whose leaves have just turned.

    Phyllis, no holiday? Not even a staycation? Yikes. Our family holidays are usually camping, but this year, with my daughter entering college, we wanted to do something special. It’ll be a while before we go back.

    Tracey, I’m good with whips… No, seriously, from the outside looking in, you have plenty of courage. Just start small and tell yourself it doesn’t count. 😉

    Lisa… I— Congratulations? 😉

  6. Hilarious 🙂 Although I’ve not seen the tendency toward pessimism, so do let me know when you start that up. 😉

    I’m just nervous about my first writing class–I can’t imagine the awkwardness I would feel at a conference. 🙂 I bet you seemed like one of the sailors, sashaying her way seamlessly through everything 🙂

  7. Sputnisa, really? I’d have described myself as cynical 99% of the time. And trust me, I didn’t sashay, even alone in front of the mirror.

    As for the writing class, if you’re referring to the one we’ve discussed elsewhere, don’t worry. You’re going to rock it and have such fun.

    1. Not another one! People, people, you must leave your Puritanical instincts behind on occasion.

      As to where, what would you describe as your best holiday ever? What kind of geography do you like? What level of pampering? Would you consider anything outside the States?

      1. No, I seriously meant I need a place without too much sun! I take a medication for my auto-immune disease that means I can’t go out in direct sunlight. Did that a month ago and got deathly ill. Know better now, really!

        But I have had good times in cities with a nice nightlife like Cleaveland and Memphis. Without being overwhelmed by too many people, like in New York. I just need a shady spot, that’s all. I just can’t figure out where that is – Sweden, maybe? 🙂

        1. Sweden would be great, but I have no idea about the sunlight. I was going to suggest the west coast of British Columbia, specifically, Prince George. Alas, little nightlife and culture there. Have you considered Vancouver? There will be some sun, but they are known for their grey days relative to my province.

  8. The Tart is clearly in post-vacation crash, a syndrome people refuse to recognize. And by “people” I mean “me.” I spent the first few days back from our wonderful family vacation hating my fiction work, hating my clients, frozen at the keyboard, doing pretty much nothing. In fact, on my calendar where I track work time, there’s one day with exactly .25 billable hours entered, and the notation, “crash day” (I was too down to even use capital letters). Plus, Jan, you’re dealing with all the stuff that comes with sending Molly off–and that’s a helluva lot of stuff.

    Your decision to get back into the habit of bravery is inspiring! Hope you start feeling the groove soon, but in the meantime, don’t be too hard on yourself.

    1. *tackle-hugs MJ* I’ve really appreciated your perspective on this, both here, and in a previous post. I have a psych friend who calls this Transition Time — and yes, that deserves capitals. I’m getting smarter about what I ask of myself then, because who needs self-imposed guilt on top of the self-imposed IS?

      Here’s hoping you find your post-holiday groove. Mine’s a little deeper already. 😀

  9. My sister tart, I COMPLETELY get it. I can just enjoy my work conferences, but you know why? My identity is no longer tied in there–yes, I try to learn interesting things to use in my day job, and I try not to snuff up my presentations. But the fact of the matter is, emotionally I am not invested there. At a WRITING conference, it would seem to matter more… at it is TIRING to be ‘on’ in case you meet somebody who can help you ALL DAY EVERY DAY.

    And as much as I love my family, I need the alone time. Alone time to just assimilate life and alone time to write. So I hear you.

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