I can come home now. After only four days in Belgium, I got exactly what I wanted. I expected it to happen three years ago when I went to Australia. And I thought it might kick in afterwards when I moved to Eugene. But it didn’t happen until this trip. This random excursion I knew I had to take.
I found discipline.
I’ve become serious with my writing. Not in the mind, not in the dream talk or the brainstorming, not even in the conscious planning—all of that was already there. In the practice. It’s 1:30 a.m. right now and I’m so excited about the transformation that I had to turn on the light and punch this out.
What’s weird is that all of my projects are liberal arts related. But the process has been a lot like the way I handle Math. I can’t remember if it was Ms. Harding my 10th grade teacher, or Mrs. White, my 11th grade Math teacher that said it first. Either one, it was the same story. I struggled with Math, even though I was in the advanced classes. It was just flat out hard and I hated it. Teachers being teachers, they saw it. She said, “Jennifer, you don’t get it at first, but after a while you do. It’s like a lightbulb goes on inside your head, and then you just get it. I can see it when it happens.”
She was right. And that is exactly how it feels right now.
So, what happened?
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What happened is I’ve gotten off to a terrific start and there is no pull to do it any different like there usually is. I get up, take care of my responsibilities here for an hour or two, check my email, do a blog post if I don’t already have one ready from the night before, then I go out. Today was a good example, I went to Cafe Pain and read hard copy submissions to Panties. I came home, did some work on the computer—actual paying writing projects—handled more Belgium kid responsibilities and then turned down going to a movie to finish the work I still had left. Then I stayed up and wrote, and ended the night by reading an author whose style I’m studying.
Simple, everyday, life of a writer stuff.
It’s a routine. I’ve done similar things before, but here’s the difference—I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow. Wanting to, instead of just knowing what needs to be done and feeling like I should do it. It’s a feeling I haven’t had before.
Internal motivation, huh? Now I know. So, am I going to come home? No way. Not yet.
The light is on. I got serious abuot writing, and more importantly about me. Go ahead and turn on the monitor to see if it sticks. I dare you. I double dog dare you. You can even send over a man, the ultimate test. The light is on, I’m going to pass the test.
2:06, over and out.
PS-Earlier this year I filled out one of Rolf’s interview Q&A’s. One of them was “What do you consider your first “break” as a travel writer?” I had put something about getting “Chinese Like Me” in A Woman’s Passion for Travel. This is much bigger. And it has nothing to do with a byline. Imagine that.