Monday, April 30, 2012

Of Hitting the Wall

No, I didn’t punch a wall, not that they don’t deserve it (they bump into me all the time after all), but I did hit a wall this weekend, which came as a shock.  I tend to run myself at a pretty intense pace.  Between the day job and my writing, it’s not uncommon to work eighty or more hours a week.  Usually, that goes just fine.  Writing gives me an amazing amount of energy and fuels me to keep pushing.  But lately, I’ve been working on many more facets of the publishing journey because of my upcoming book release.  Last week and a bit the week before, I filmed some video, bought a new video editing program, and dove into the book trailer creation process.  On many levels, it was like a mental version of American Gladiator.  I am not very patient with myself when learning new things, so the amount of pausing to breathe and allow thought to recommence was the lion’s share of the battle.
Video editing brought back so many memories of when I was teaching and acting as school videographer and film club advisor.  I devoted so many hours to editing and worked myself like a dog.  I’ve actually been thinking of pulling out those videos and posting them on Youtube (I’ve even asked my old teacher friends what they thought of that idea, and they all say, go for it).  The kids are all over eighteen, so that’s not an issue anymore and I know they would love to see them.  But what I really remembered this weekend, when I hit the wall and was too exhausted to even edit much, was how exhausting video editing is for me.  It is the place where my OCDish traits go off the deep end.  I don’t sleep well, because my brain is editing, clipping video, deciding titles and fonts, and running through the video over and over as I try to achieve perfection.
I remember my last year of teaching, feeling like I was a husk as soon as I got home.  Please understand, I loved teaching.  I gave every ounce of energy I had to my students, lesson plans, historical reenactments, and the clubs I ran, but when I would get home at the end of the day (which was never at the official end of the contracted day), I was hollow... or I was editing video to show on Fridays.  I wrote then, but only little bits, and never with any dream of finishing anything.  I don’t mean to imply that teachers can’t be writers and have energy for the other things in their lives, I’m only saying that I couldn’t.  And partly, it was because I wasn’t married and didn’t have kids to pull me back and to force me to find balance (something I still struggle with).  I loved my job and am a chronic workaholic (clearly), so I gave all my energy for teaching and kept little in reserve for myself.
And I don’t regret it at all.  I am proud of what I did then and the connections I made with young people, and every time I run into one of them, I am thrilled beyond belief.  I think of them often and wish them wonderful adventures in their own lives.
I’m also thrilled to be in a place where I am living the adventure I always dreamed of.  Publishing has been my goal since I was five, and to be so close, is amazing.  This adventure doesn’t look the way I thought it would, and that is something I have struggled with, but as I make a book trailer my way, and create book covers and edit my book to my satisfaction, I can see the upside of self-publishing.  The degree of control an author has in this model is something to treasure.  And I’m very excited to see what happens next.  
In the end (and maybe the beginning), our goals are about following our own paths, not standing to the side and holding onto the paths that didn’t choose us.  What’s on the other side, I don’t know, but I have to say, I’m delighted to see what happens next and know that the coming peaks and valleys will lead me in the direction I am meant to go.  I hope you’ll be with me when I get there.
Quote for the Day from Babe Ruth
“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”


Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Your energy equals that of a roomful of three-year olds. No wonder it's nap time! And, this trailer rocks the cosmos. You inspire me and I'm proud to be your friend.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great post! There are so many drains on our time and enery - we need to find our own ways and our own joys. Each is different for everyone - and that's what makes it all so much fun! :)

inluvwithwords said...

Wow, that's an intense trailer!! Nicely done!