To Endure

Some days I lack the endurance to keep going.

I want to give up.
Those words play in my head at least every other day.

For those that think they know me, this may sound strange. I come off as having it all together as a mom, wife and writer. I am always answering “I’m good,” or “I’m great,” when asked if everything is okay.

But if I am truly honest with myself. Deep down…

I want to give up.

Everyday there are so many things to do. I have to engage as my writer self on social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter). I work on two different blogs. I’m editing a novel while writing a novel, marketing and selling 7 other books, writing short stories, be a stay at home mom to two kids that need me an awful lot (especially now with distance learning) and be a dedicated and engaging wife to a fabulous husband. There is also dinner, laundry, working on my mental and physical health and just having time to breathe.

Some days I am so tired and so overwhelmed I just feel like I want to throw in the towel when it comes to my writing. Especially on those days when I get a bad review, no one is engaging with me, my website crashes and I go a day or a even a week without selling a book. Those are rough times and I just want to hang it all up.

The weird thing, with all that going on, I don’t actually give up. I keep going writing blog posts, posting on social media, marketing my books and writing and editing my novels.

What keeps me going?

 A few questions I ask myself right before I make the decision to move on from my writing career and just do something else.

If I do give up, what happens next?

Can I really give up something I love to do?

Will I be teaching my children to just quit when things get tough?

What If I just keep pushing for one more second, one more minute or one more day, would I accomplish my goal?

Thomas A. Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

I know as writers, as creatives, as human beings we’ve all had those days where things just become too much and we feel like it is best to just wave the white flag and walk away from it all. We may feel like we work so hard and don’t really see the results like we want to.

To paraphrase Brené Brown, being in the arena is much better than sitting on the sidelines. Even if you are marred with dirt and blood and dust or fall flat on your face…multiple times, you are trying. That is more important than watching and not doing.

Though I know that quitting would be worse than dealing with my overwhelming feeling, those day have not gone away. I still have times when I feel weighed down and I want to just resign and do something else. When I feel that way, I just meditate on The Buddha’s words.

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is one who endures that the final victory comes.”

X-Men

Are you Magneto or Professor X?

If you have never seen or heard of the group the X-men, you must be very confused right now. However in context and with what is going on in the world right now, this question is very important.

Let me start like this…

As writers or more specifically fiction writers we know there are always a protagonist and an antagonist. The good guy and the bad guy…or girl. The Protagonist of the story is the hero (although I prefer a flawed hero). The Antagonist is the bad guy. Sometimes he/she is the evil one that you love to hate.

In the comic books and the movies of the X-men series, Professor X would be the main Protagonist (there are other heroes but he leads them). The leading Antagonist would be Magneto. Magneto and Professor X are mutants. They learn there are more mutants just like them and the world is uncomfortable with a group of people having special gifts they cannot comprehend.  Humans have a tendency to fear the things they do not understand. They seek to destroy the mutants and/or study them…in which case they will eventually destroy them.

Professor X and Magneto, two characters created in the 1960’s, were modeled after Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Professor X being like Martin Luther King Jr. and Magneto resembling Malcolm X. They both want a world where mutants are accepted members of society who can live without fear. The two just have very different ideas of how to achieve this end.

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Professor X, being the hero that he is, decides he will do no harm and focus on showing the world mutants are decent human beings that just want to live their lives. He devotes himself to teaching young mutants how to control their powers and abilities. Despite the animosity he and the group receive, he is steadfast in his cause.

Magneto, the villain, decides he doesn’t want to play nice. If humans don’t want to live side by side with mutants then fine. He will just destroy them. They had their chance to behave. After all, the mutants are much more powerful than the humans. Why should they fear them? Mutants, from all over, need to band together and fight back. He refuses to sit by and be slaughtered. If anything…he will do the slaughtering.

So I ask…are you Professor X or Magneto?

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I so want to be Professor X. I believe his vision is what I truly am. My husband seems to think that most people start out as a Magneto type person but mask it. After much thought I feel that society can turn some people to feel they must fight back by any means necessary for their own survival. Magneto wasn’t always the villain. In fact he and Professor X were very close friends. When the world turned dark so did he.

With police violence towards young black men, hateful words, fear of immigrants and muslims, anti-LGBT rhetoric and legislation, increase in mass shootings and hate crimes…it may be hard for some of us to be calm. There are people in our country that are fueling anger and fear on both sides of the spectrum. Those types of emotions can lead to more people wanting to fight back. There will be more people ready to throw grenades on the entire system and let the pieces fall where they may. The problem comes when there is no plan for the fall out.

I say to you. We must fight back when there are injustices in our world. That is what heroes due. Only villains use that as an excuse to seek and destroy. Let us be heroes. Let us be Professor X.

The Erotic Romance Writer Can’t Write…I have Kids

My dream as a child was to write and publish my first novel. I had doubts that my dream would never come true so I worked as a reporter for a year and I discovered that I really hated it. After I graduated from college I worked odd jobs and in between I continued to write working on my first novel. It took me about 5 years to finish that first novel. You know why? I had kids.

In 2008 I gave birth to a daughter and I focused on my pregnancy and working full time so I could help my husband support her when she was born. So I put writing on the back burner.

Once I had the kid…writing was still on the back burner. when she became close to a year I thought I could take more time to write. Then we adopted an 8 year old. and a few years later we had another kid. Finally I decided that not only was I going to finish this novel, I was going to publish this novel myself.

ImageSo I did. I published my first novel and it was such a great feeling. Then I started on my second novel. My middle child asked “You have to write another one?” Umm yes, that’s what writers do. They didn’t much appreciate that I worked during the day on my writing and so they decided to wage war on my writing. How dare I write when I should be playing with them? And that is where it all began. They found all sorts of ways to interrupt me like “We’re hungry, we need dinner.” or “I don’t have any clean clothes.”

There was no end to their evil plan in sight. 

So I have to throw on my armor and fight for what I have wanted to do for my entire life and let nothing get in my way. Oh this will be a hard fought battle, but I shall come out on top. They promise me that their stamina is greater than mine. They have concluded that since I turned 30 on the 1st of March that I am old and weakened. But Mommy is in her prime.

Well, let the battle commence. (Don’t tell them…but I’m a little scared).

 

The Writer Vs. The 5 Year Old

The Writer vs The 5 Yr Old

 

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It’s a great thing that I’m a writer because my 5 year old tests my imagination every chance she gets. She is full of so many questions. Sometimes I don’t always come out on top. For example:

 

 

Battle #1: The Tooth Fairy

 

My 5 year old lost her bottom teeth. I told her that she needed to put the teeth under her pillow so the tooth fairy could take it and leave her some money.

 

Then the battle of the questions began.

 

5 Year Old: What does she look like? What does she do with all the teeth? Why does she need my teeth? Does she know we don’t live in Indiana anymore? How much money does she want to leave? How did she get into the house? Does she care what your teeth look like? How am I supposed to eat without two teeth? Does she give me two new teeth?

 

Me: The tooth fairy is a beautiful fairy with bright sparkly wings and long dark hair and carries a beautiful magic wand. Her dress is a beautiful and she is quiet enough so you would never know she was there. She recycles the teeth and gives them to the dentist so they can turn them into teeth for people that do not have any or have to have one removed. She doesn’t just take your teeth, she takes teeth fromeveryone who lose baby teeth. Yes she knows we no longer live in Indiana. She leaves whatever amount of money she wants to leave depending on the quality to the tooth she gets.  She’s a magical being so she can get into any house. No she does not care what your teeth look like. She will take any tooth. You can eat without the two teeth and your new teeth will grow in.

 

Score:

The Writer: 1    The 5 yr old: 0

 

 

Battle #2: Santa Claus

 

It’s Christmas time and soon gifts will be going under the tree. No matter how many Christmases she experience there are always questions.

How long until Christmas is here. Why does Santa use reindeer? How does Santa get in our house? Does he know we moved? Are Jesus and Santa friends? Why is Santa watching all the time? Does he watch me in the bathroom? If he doesn’t watch me in the bathroom then I can do stuff in the bathroom and he won’t know about it? What do reindeer eat? Should we leave food out for them? Are we sure Santa isn’t allergic to peanut butter cookies? Do we know what his favorite cookies are? Why are there so many Santas? I see them at the mall and the store and on TV.

(I bought a large key this say “Santa we don’t have a chimney so use this key”)

How will Santa use that key? Isn’t it too big to fit in our lock?. What if bugs get on the key? Will Santa use it if bugs are on the key? Does Jesus come and leave gifts too? If it is Jesus’ birthday, do we need to buy him a gift?

 

Score:

The Writer: 0     The 5 yr old: 1

 

I could barely begin to answer all those questions. As a writer I felt like I was letting myself down. I realized that once I answer all those there are always more it is never ending. Most of the time I can come up something that satisfies her curiosity and though I hate to mislead my children, I want them to stay children for as long as they can until they are faced with the responsibility of being an adult.

Lately I have been encouraging her to answer those questions herself and then come back and tell me. It helps her use her own imagination and not to drain mine so I can write my novels because trust me…she can drain your brain.

But she is a very smart kid and if I tell her an answer to her question, she will ask me again just to see if I tell her the same thing. So I have to make my stories simple so they are easy to remember. The more the questions the closer I feel she is getting to not believing in those magical beings and that makes me sad to think about. It means she is growing up and I am not ready to see her grow up just yet.

In the mean time we will continue these battles. Mommy, the writer, just has to keep one step ahead.