Last week was spring break for me and my kids. My husband even took the week off so we could have a nice staycation. We planned a few fun things to do as a family. One of those things was to take a hike up a small mountain one morning. I've been on this hike before and I didn't make it to the top. I probably could have made it, but I told myself I couldn't, so I didn't. It didn't really bother me that I didn't make it to the top. It was still a good exercise and beautiful view at the point I reached, so I told myself that was good enough. This time was different.
This time as we started out the hike we all broke up into pairs. The two older kids quickly took the lead and went on their way. Then the younger two were behind them, then my husband decided to stay behind with me. I told him he should go ahead with the other kids that it didn't matter if I made it to the top or not. Then he said, "Nope, we make it to the top together or we don't make it to the top at all." Suddenly I imagined he was talking about our marriage. Then the thought crossed my mind that I didn't want to be the one that gave up on us. Would I really think that it would be ok to say, "Well we made it to 18 years, that's good enough, it's just too hard." I would never think of doing that to our marriage, yet I do that in lots of areas in my life like climbing mountains and writing just to name a few. This appalled me and I realized I needed to quit being good enough and start reaching for my full potential. But I wasn't sure I really wanted to start with this mountain! LOL! But as I climbed the mountain, it became symbolic for me as I related it to writing in my mind.
When I first began the hike my body did some major rebelling and I began to think in my head that I would never make it to the top.
In my writing, there are so many things I have to sacrifice to make the time to write and so many revisions I need to make to get my books to the level of perfection I expect from them that I tell myself I'll never get published.
I had to change the revolving thought in my head fast, I told myself I had to at least try. I would never know what I could truly do unless I tried. So I kept one foot in front of the other.
I reminded myself that the only way I will fail for sure is if I give up. So I resolved to keep putting my story down on paper one word at a time.
The climb got more difficult the closer I got to the top. I had to take lots of breaks but I knew it wasn't a race. I just needed to reach the top eventually, it didn't matter when it happened.
It's easy for me to try to compare myself to friends that started writing when I did. I see so many of them published and moving on to the next mountain in their writing careers while I'm still struggling with writing a finished book worth publishing. But I need to remember that it's ok for me to go at my own pace. When I get published isn't as important as proving to myself that I can produce something I'm proud of.
I found the spot on the hike where I had stopped last time and I realized I had chosen to give up. As I passed the spot I wondered how much farther I would make it this time. Then the thought came that I would make it just as far as I CHOSE to make it.
There are so many times that I have stopped writing because I told myself I couldn't because of various reasons. I tried to convince myself things were good enough and that I didn't care that I had stopped. But this month I started working on one of the projects I had quit writing only to ask myself why I had stopped. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had thought it was. I'm approaching the point in the 2nd draft where I had stopped rewriting it. Which means it will be a lot more work than the first half was because I won't just be editing, I'll be rewriting. But I have already made the choice not to give up on this story. I'm actually quite motivated to get to that point and pass it. I'm not wondering how much farther I will get this time, because I have already made the choice to keep going until it's done.
At one point on the hike I turned a corner and my husband told me to look up. He pointed to the summit of the mountain a little ways ahead of me. On top of that beautiful peak were my four children. They began waving and telling me I could do it. I couldn't wait to share that experience with them and to celebrate the fact that I'd made it! My body was so much stronger than I had given it credit for. I was the only one getting in my way of accomplishing that goal and enjoying the view.
I see all my writing friends, published and unpublished as my cheerleaders. Some of you are on the trail right beside me encouraging me to keep going and some of you are published urging me to meet you there so we can share that accomplishment together. But most of all I know how proud I will be of myself to reach my goal of getting published. Of proving to myself that I could do it. Proving that I
could get out of my own way and make it happen.
Enjoying the view from the top is quite satisfying. So is knowing that I have so much more potential to unlock. Of course that means I have a lot more mountains climb in my life before I reach it!!