The truth is, I’ve hit a snag. Flow stopped, motivation gone, I am at a loss for what to do next. I’m retired, I can do what I want, but that is easier said than done. What do I want?
On this warmer but still gray afternoon in early April, with only a hint of green and hepatica (yay, hepatica!) in the forest leaf cover, I feel like I have started a thought and lost it, mid-sentence. What were all these plans I had as recently as January 1? I had what I thought was a year’s worth of desires lined up. All I had to do was follow through.
Maybe it wasn’t a year’s worth; maybe only three months’ worth.
No, that’s not quite right. Some of those plans are accomplished, ta-da, done! Or almost. I work really fast when I put my mind to it. Others are not yet fully executed. I have done the easy parts and many of the hard parts but now there are some really hard parts left and I am running out of steam.
In the accomplished column is the publication of a book that I thought I would never finish writing and revising, let alone publish. Ta-da, done! I did this much faster than I thought possible and had fun mastering self-publishing, which has come a long way in the last few years.
In the nearly accomplished category: weight loss. I thought I couldn’t do it and then I did it. Ta-da, goal in sight!
Yet to do: get back to biking. But I have made progress by finding the guy who will help me get on the right bike. I will visit that shop outside Detroit again in the next month. Meanwhile, I will start to toughen my butt on my old bike as soon as the conditions are right. (I require temps in the 50s or above but not too hot, no rain, not too much wind. Today is a tiny bit rainy and besides I already got my exercise at the Y.)
However, what is really bothering me on this too-open afternoon, making me feel like a cowardly, unmotivated lazybones, is that I haven’t yet started my Next Big Writing Project.
But come to think of it, that’s not true. I have started the project but it is not yet at the writing stage.
- I think I know what it is. I want to write about Mennonites in Congo and the power of music and faith in some of the toughest circumstances on the globe.
- Since making two trips to Congo last year, I have been working on developing a special relationship between my church here and a congregation in Kinshasa.
- I have revived the Congo Cloth Connection to create relationships and fund projects for women and children in Congo–we’ll do another big cloth market at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Phoenix in July.
- And I am starting to think about my next trip to Congo.
I am hung up on this last point, however, the next trip. This will be a trip I do entirely on my own except my husband will go with me this time. But no sponsoring project, no special occasion like a centennial celebration, no fellow travelers. I want to go to visit churches and listen to as many choirs as possible. I want to go to write. This would be a research trip for my Next Big Writing Project.
There is a gap between the desire to do a thing–go to Congo on our own and listen to choirs–and making that happen. It is in this gap that the desire begins to doubt itself. Do I want this badly enough to do everything it takes to make it happen? All the money, logistics, contacts needed to travel in that compelling, outrageous country. Just for me. Just to write.
I need to believe in myself both as a doer and as a writer in order to move off square one. I am writing this as a statement of intention. If you wish, hold me accountable. Cheer me on.