Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's Okay Not To Be The Best...



I’ve been sick.

And I’m not one to go into details about my personal life on my blog—I like to stick to the writing, the journey, books/etc, but I thought it might be therapeutic to share the thoughts I’m having and how it’s affected my writing journey.

(To just give a brief back story so you all don’t think I’m dying—which I hope I’m not!—I’ve been passing out—even woke up in an ambulance a couple months ago. After an EKG, they could clearly see I have an electrical problem, so for 30 days I get to wear a heart monitor 24/7 to help discover what’s going on more fully. There are some other health issues I’m not going to go into that are associated with this, but I figured I could share that much so my thoughts below make sense)

It’s ironic that I would be struggling during NaNo of all times. As I’ve been watching others putting up ridiculous word counts, I’ve been crying because I haven’t felt my hands for days, unable to type. (Again, I only share this to help paint the picture of the last couple months)

I’m the type of person who lives in one extreme or the other. Either I completely immerse myself in a project and ignore everything until it’s done, or I don’t bother doing it. (I know, not very healthy) Like most of you, I have a need to be great. I have a need to create something amazing. I have a desire to make it happen, regardless of what the success rates are. I think that’s called being a writer.

But as I’ve had my health ripped away from me, I’ve discovered something. I don’t need to have all these things. I don’t need to be great. I don’t need to create something amazing. I only need to be here. Alive. In the present. Living. (And this is where I would get personal if I was going to, but I’ll just leave it at that…)

But I’ve also discovered something else. Through this trial, I’ve found something I’ve never found before. Balance. I’ve been writing. And it’s felt so good. But I haven’t been obsessive about it. I haven’t shut out the world when I have to get a scene done. I’ve been able to open my current WIP and enjoy it, and then put it away when other things (that are more important) need my attention.

I’ve been able to write without falling into the one-sided extreme. (Which might not seem like a huge deal, but it is for me!) So while I think NaNo is an amazing thing—and I do—I also know that it’s not healthy for a person like me. A person who constantly needs to be making sure she is finding the right balance.

So the lesson I’ve learned in the last little bit is that it’s okay not to be the best. It’s okay to not push ourselves until we die. It’s okay to find our pace and be content with ourselves. It’s okay to see other people racing ahead, but to be perfectly happy with the pace that’s right for us.

A couple months ago, I started to fall into a place where I didn’t remember why I was writing anymore. But I’ve rediscovered that reason.

And it’s simple.

It makes me happy.

So while I'm continuing to find that balance, I'm going to enjoy:  





Figuring out Scrivener
Wearing green pants I'd never thought I'd wear (Because of the color--can we say Christmas elf?)
Leftover Halloween treats
And the best of all... Nutcracker season!!! 

Red. Head. Out. :) 

64 comments:

  1. Speaking to my heart again I see. You have that way with me! I'm sorry to hear of your struggles. The irony of it is that it helps to see the bigger picture and move your priorities, or shift them. Hence why it takes me a whole week to edit maybe three chapters. I want to spend time with the family, and have my I wn time...or I'll go bonkers. You are a strong red head and know how to take the bull by the horns. If you ever need anything, don't you dare hesitate to ask!! Or I'll put the Morg moves on you ;)-- p.s. Thanks for sharing this private moment with us. They are God sends!

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    1. Oops...thank you autocorrect. Should say "my own time" not my I wn....geez

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  2. So true! I'm not very good at half-measures, but I like to believe I'm learning. Likewise about living and appreciating life without obsessing over all the things I have to achieve. My NaNo wordcount this year is the victim of a nasty cold - nothing life-changing but enough of a pain that I haven't wanted to write during week 2... I don't know yet whether I'll catch up later. Maybe.

    I hope your recovery goes smoothly.

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  3. Balance is one of those things that sounds so basic until you actually try to live it. I'm sorry you've had health struggles, but if it leads to balance then that might be some kind of silver lining. I'm so crunchy, holistic that I would venture down the road that maybe this was your body begging you to be more balanced and its way of asking for what it needed...but that's just me. I'm sure there's probably a much more scientific, plausible reason. Whatever caused it, I'm glad it's leading you back to finding your joy.

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  4. Balance is so so so important my friend. You're absolutely right. Seriously. And I love this part of what you wrote "I only need to be here. Alive. In the present. Living.". So well-said. Feel better soon :)

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  5. Yep, health struggles can sure paint a clearer picture. Did hear, and after a year I can still only type with one arm on my best days lol dictation works pretty good. Also if out of whack, have a look at the emf(dirty electricity) around you. If you are sensitive to it and/or there is a lot around you, it can screw with your body a ton.

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  6. Sorry you've been struggling with health issues but you are so right, finding a balance is key. At least you are feeling happier about that side of your life. Take care and be well :)

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  7. What I've found is that being THE best is not as important as just doing your best. Which can work in a lot of different ways. Not everything is about winning.
    Says the competitive gaming person.
    heh

    I hope they figure out what the problem is.

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  8. I knew you were having some health issues, but hearing some of the details makes me feel so much for you! I really hope they figure it all out soon and that you can get back to feeling 100%. I'm glad you've been feeling some balance and still writing (and feeling better about it!). Please let me know if you need anything.

    I like what you said about not *needing* to be the best at things. It's a message we all need to hear sometimes. As writers, I think we all have a crazy streak where we think we need to be the absolute best, otherwise we feel like we're the worst. Yay for subjectivity...

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  9. Oh, Morgan! Too scary, especially with your young family. When we're young we hear things from old people about how if you have your health you have everything. We don't get that when we're young feel good. Suddenly, when--as you phrased it--our "heath is ripped away" it suddenly makes sense. Big hugs. You're in my prayers that they find out what's going on.

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  10. Thanks for sharing. I hope you the best.

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  11. Holy crap I hope you get better. My thoughts are with you so please feel better!!! It's incredible how many extra things in life don't matter when it all comes down to it.

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  12. I love you. And I love this post. And thanks for making me cry. <3 Everything feels like such a race in this business. It's so easy to lose sight of what's important, and the overall point of it ALL.
    Sending big huggles your way.

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  13. Oh wow, Morgan. I really hope they figure this all out soon and are able to help you out. Thank you for sharing this with us. You are so right about the importance of balance in our lives. That's why I've been taking a bit of a hiatus from writing. It was really bringing me down, so a break seemed in order. I hope to get back to it soon, but for now I'm happy to be finding that balance you speak of. I'll be thinking of you, Morgan, and wishing you healthier days ahead.

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  14. Check out those pants!!! ROCK ON!!!!

    And I'm so with you on this, Morg. It's all about balance!! <3 <3

    You know you're in my prayers!!!

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  15. Well, it is sweet that you think it is ok to not be the best. But, as your neighbor, i can tell you that you are the best and that you amaze me simply because you are Morgan. There is no choice. You are awesome,

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  16. Hey:)

    You know Marvel will see those pants and come up with a Super Hero called "The Green Morganator"

    She would be one tough nut to crack :)

    So glad to hear from you here and you know you've got Hawaiian Hugs coming your way.

    Stay well and stay Balanced, my friend :)

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  17. I tend to be an all-or-nothing person, too. I'll be chanting the 'balance' mantra with you.
    Get well, my friend.

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  18. Morgan, I'm sorry to hear about your ailments. I hope they find out how to fix it. I worry all the time about what I'd do if I didn't have use of my hands--or worse, my eyes. How would we write??
    For me, balance is a requirement, because motherhood and a regular job are more demanding than my creative outlets. But i know what you mean about wanting to finish what you start--I tend to get that way when I'm editing moreso than drafting.
    And accepting we don't have to be the best is a very mature and gratifying way to live life. There is peace in that.
    ((hugs)) :)

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  19. I'm so sorry you haven't been well. Hopefully they can figure everything out and have you back to feeling good again soon.
    But I'm glad you've been finding balance and enjoying your writing. Balance is never easy, but very important. :) Good for you!

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  20. When I got sick this year I also realized I had to set my priorities. Delaying my book release was tough but the right call. I'm glad that you had your own wake up call and came out the other side.

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  21. Sending you lots of good wishes for your health! I totally hear you on the balance thing--it's not an easy thing for me, and despite the not so fun way to figure it out, I'm glad you have :)

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  22. Oh, Morgan! I'm so sorry to learn you've been battling such health issues. I have to say I face those same demons plus the bad habit of putting too much on my plate. Like you, I'm learning that's not the way to be at all. Finding the balance is so hard. Giving up some things in order to have time for others is harder. One thing that helps me is remembering to put myself and my body on my to-do list. Taking care of myself. It's taken me a few months, but I no longer feel as if I'm goofing off when I take time for myself.

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  23. How have I not been to your gorgeous blog before? Wonderful! I'm very sorry for your health complications. I know how difficult they can make just every day tasks--say nothing about the writing olympics of November. I love your attitude though. Way to be! Have you heard of Dragon Speaking Naturally? Or similar programs? They're for dictations, and then you briefly clean them up with a couple keystrokes. If you're having trouble typing, but want to keep writing, that may be a solution. Chin up!

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  24. Morgan - you are the best! You are the best You ever, because you are the only You and you are the best! Ok that sounded more meaningful in my head, but I hope you get what I mean. I'm glad that you've found a pace and a place where you have recaptured the joy in your writing. And I'm glad that you can even wear green pants - in the Nutcracker season, no less. :)

    I am very sad to hear about your health issues. I will be praying for you and your family.
    I've also heard of Dragon Naturally Speaking (the one that Crystal mentioned) and I've heard it can work, so . . . it's something to think about, to be able to keep enjoying storytelling and sharing that joy.
    Big hugs and prayers all coming your way.

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  25. *hugs* That must be scary waking up and having no idea what happened. And it's sad that it takes an event like this to put everything in perspective when it comes to writing. It's so true that we get caught up in the word counts and such, and forget why we're writing to begin with. I'm so glad you remember why you're doing it, Morgan. :D

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  26. (Pertaining to the writing portion of your post.)

    A ballerina struggling to find balance--there's a joke in there somewhere, Shammy! :D

    I know, I know. This was a pretty serious post, and I should be serious, too. But here's the thing: you're my friend. Is it weird to consider someone a friend when you've never heard their voice, bought them a birthday card, or chatted over a cup of coffee? Probably.

    But I believe there are different kinds of friends. Some are the "boat" kind that you need to help you navigate through your daily life, and some are the lighthouse kind that seem to consistently pop up when you need to find your bearings. You're the latter kind for me.

    You're one of the people I look to when I don't really feel much like a writer anymore. (Which is more often than my blog or Twitter stream would indicate.) You remind me of the passion it takes to do it. You help me keep it real (because you do) when I feel like I'm doing everything BUT writing--when I feel futile, like I'm throwing pebbles down a hill hoping for an avalanche and barely causing a stir.

    So when I read about how you haven't been feeling much like a writer, I can't help but give you a hard time. Because you're one of THE writers in my little writing universe. Bad days, weeks, or months can't change that in my eyes. (And Lord don't we all have them!) You love words. You embrace the challenge of making them work for you, and appreciate it greatly when others can do it. That's writing.

    This a horrible business to be in for a perfectionist or highly competitive person by the way. It's the hardest thing to face when subjectivity dictates any validation we get. I fight feeling not good enough every day because of it, and the only tip I can give is to keep struggling with it. You'll eventually win more than you lose, which is something. :)

    (Regarding the health portion of your post.)

    Good grief lady! Take care of yourself. (It isn't like you're trying to black out, etc. but stress can do weird things to the body…) I'm sorry you're having to face all of this, and you know I'll keep you in my thoughts. Much like writing, when your health takes a nosedive, you kind of just have to take it day-by-day (if not hour-by-hour) and listen to what your body--and doctors--are telling you.

    Feel better soon!

    ~EJ

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  27. I'm sorry about your illness, Morgan. It sounds like your head is in the right place, though, and that's so important. Alas, I recently described myself as an imperfect perfectionist. I do my best, but I'm so rarely ever the best. But I'm content and am learning not to stress on "things" that aren't nearly as important as things like health.

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  28. Just passing through from Dani's page and read this. A good thoughtful post and thank you for sharing. I hope your health improves and that one day this will all just be another story for you to tell. Balance is a fine treasure to stumble over and I think that writers write best when they love their craft, when its a friend and not a taskmaster. When there is Balance. These are of course the thoughts of a complete stranger, but offered all the same. Keep it up and keep your Balance.

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  29. You're amazing. Thanks for sharing and inspiring us. I hope you feel better soon. NaNo reminds me it's okay not to be perfect. It's one of the reasons I love doing it every year.

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  30. Oh, Morgan, I'm so sorry you have to go through something like this. It's no fun and it's not fair. Though I'm sure there is plenty of bad/anger/pain that you haven't mentioned I'm so glad that you've been able to find some good in it. Good luck with everything. I hope that your health is the best possible and that you continue to find balance.

    Also, you've taught me something. That never having been the best could actually be a good thing. I'm not pressured to keep up that title, or to win at everything. I'm content just being the best me possible, even if I'm never better than anyone else. Thank you!

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  31. Morgan, I'm so sorry to hear about your health. I hate when reality and physiology gang up on us. Take care of yourself, and I hope you start to feel better.

    I'm glad you have found your writing balance. I don't know if I'll ever find that, but it's definitely something I strive for. I signed up for NaNo, but I can't seem to get anywhere. For me it's a combination of freaking out and time. I would have the time if I could get the emotions of having my world fall apart in line. And all this with just the normal stress of being me. I wouldn't wish illness even on my worst enemies, so I hope you figure out what's going on. I love your posts, and i can't wait to read your books!

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  32. Well I hope all is well, girl. You know...I hate to get too personal, too, but have slipped up twice on the blog doing just that. Sometimes my online support is all I have going for me. And life happens...and the two intertwine. Not pushing for details at all, mind you. Just relating to how you feel.

    But I am so glad it opened your eyes to find a balance. Balance...the key to everything. If you ever need anything...

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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  33. Please please please get better soon. This is a little scary and I want you to be 100%. :O

    I am glad there's a silver lining and that your writing-balancing is going well, though!

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  34. Hope you are feeling better soon. You don't have to be super-mom, it's an illusion. What's important are the family and your health. Give yourself time to heal. Stay happy.

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  35. Had no idea this was going on with you, Morgan! Sakes alive, do take care of yourself! there's no rush to your art where health is concerned. At the same time, your story sounds all but familiar ... anyway, you rest of and figure out what we need to do to keep you around as long as possible. :)

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  36. Morgan, I'm so sorry you haven't been feeling well. It's times like these that put it all in perspective, right? I've had a couple of those "doh!" moments myself, when I realize that writing isn't my whole life. It's simply a part of my life. And if things don't go well with the writing life, it's not the end of real life.

    Sending big bear hugs your way, my friend.

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  37. So sorry to hear about your health problems! But I'm grateful that you were willing to share. I get caught in the "I have to be the best" mentality too, and I've decided it's not very healthy for me. There are a lot of things that are more important, as you point out. I hope things get resolved for you soon--and that you're able to find the balance you seek.

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  38. I know how scary passing out is, and I'm so sorry you're currently having these problems. I hope you're back to 100% super soon! I very much understand about the quest for balance. It's the key to health and sanity. I'm so glad you're writing, and more importantly, enjoying the process. There's not a deadline, not really. If you keep writing, the greatness will come. :)

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  39. I am sorry about your health problems. I know how it feels to be driven and then have something in the way. I hope you're feeling better and this problem is controlled. It's great you're writing through all this.

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  40. Morgan! <3 Sorry to hear you've not been feeling so well. I'm glad you've managed to find a balance in amongst everything, though. It's important, and it's even better to hear that you've remembered why you write. :)

    *hugs*

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  41. Sorry to hear about your health issues - I hope you get the answers you need. As for writing, I find it helps me get through tough times, giving me something else to focus on and giving my characters a terrible time to reflect my own thoughts. Balance, when there's so much more going on, is important - and it's cool you've discovered it :-)

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  42. Hi Morgan,

    Like all the rest, here's to your health issues being resolved and that the monitoring helps. What you have done here is indeed therapeutic. I'm a big advocate of being transparent, getting it out there. You do discover that when we help each other, we help ourselves.

    Indeed, balance is the key. What's the right balance for ourselves without placing unwarranted pressure that can only be detrimental to our well being.

    The positive aspect is that your writing makes you happy. You share your happiness, your passion, your magic of the written word. You might realise my philosophy is to not take things too seriously. No competition as such. You do what feels right for you at your own pace. You realise that my light-hearted postings have the underlying message of support. Yep, even for that Mork from Ork tribute challenge :)

    Well done, Morgan.

    In kindness and respect,

    Gary

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  43. I hope you find out what's causing your health problems. I love Scrivener, I've had it for a couple of months now and I'm still figuring it out! I'm also still figuring out the right balance for me, but I think I'm getting there.

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  44. You are such a positive and high-spirited individual. I'm sorry to hear that you haven't been well.
    Get better soon and take care of yourself.
    And I must say that those green pants rock!
    Writer In Transit

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  45. Beautiful post, Morgan. My brother was critically ill for three years before he got a new kidney (mine). I remember him saying how he'd sit at his living room window and watch his neighbors walk outside to get their mail. He wanted more than anything to walk outside and get his mail, but he couldn't. He wanted to tell those people how lucky they were. It's all about perspective, isn't it? Happiness can be found in simple places. In fact, that's where it's always found, if we strip away all the other things that mask it and trick us. I wish you answers for your health problems and peace and patience. I do understand a lot about the strange, drawn-out, and painful challenge of health problems. My husband was so ill he was disabled for the first seven years of our marriage. Those were hard times, but we managed a level of resiliency, and we tried to be grateful for what we had while taking baby steps toward our dreams. Big hugs.

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  46. First and foremost, sending you prayers for full healing and that your body be restored quickly. It's horrible not to feel like your mind wants you to be!

    I'm beginning to think there is more destruction in NaNo and related goals than positive.The idea for all of us is to write because we love it, not because there is a motivational momentum urging us toward a goal that doesn't take into account life-- in sickness and in health, with a need to be with family, work, take a walk and remember that all of these things feed our writer hearts.

    Blessings to you sweet Morgan.

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  47. Sending you all the hugs. You are amazing and such an inspiration.

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  48. *hugs* I hope they find out what's wrong and are able to fix it. I remember in high school we had a girl who kept passing out. They ran all these tests and such. I can't remember what they said the problem was, but as far as I know, she got better.

    And you're so right about not having to be the best. There will always be people better, faster, smarter. We need to enjoy what we can do with the time given to us.

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  49. As someone who falls asleep at her desk after five every morning, I think I need to sit in on this balance lesson with you! Just thinking about my work to life ratio deserves a facepalm...

    Seriously, though, I hate to hear that you're having health issues. I'll definitely be praying for you. :( Feel better so you can continue to rock those green pants!

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  50. I really don't have words for how it worries me that you've been suffering (I have noticed your absence and missed you) but I will say that if I could share my heart to help strengthen your heart, I would. I'll pray for you and trust God to keep you safe and make you whole.

    These same thoughts about being better and being *the best* have plagued me all week. Why do I want to be the best at anything, anyhow? Isn't there enough pressure to just breathe some days?

    As for scrivener, I'm having a total love affair with it. I'm so ridiculously smitten and I have no idea how I kept my brain together before. I love, love, love it.

    Sending you all my love and hugs.

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  51. I hope you have a complete healing, and that you find out what's been causing this.

    I couldn't do NaNo because I don't like the idea of pre-planning a book around a set length or feeling compelled to crank out a set number of words in a set time. I also have more important schoolwork to focus on as the semester ends, so I haven't even been doing much work on my WIP in the last few weeks.

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  52. Hi Morgan - being is the most important thing ... and you are doing that. Health-wise - I wish you the best .. while writing wise you can open your passion heart and get on with it - when you feel up to it ..

    With many thoughts .. just enjoy being the red-head! Big hugs - Hilary

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  53. I really hope the doctors find out what's going on and fix it. Major hugs coming your way. Take care and it's awesome you've found balance and the love of writing again. (: <3

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  54. Morgan, I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Take care of yourself...that's the only thing you -need- to do :)

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  55. I'm sorry that you're going through so much right now. I have some issues in my own life that brought me to similar realizations. It's finding the good in the not so good. Best of luck with everything turning out ok.

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  56. Lovely of you to share this, Morgan. For some reason struggles in life bring us closer. I, too, am just finding balance, and like you, I found it in realizing that I don't have to be the best. I just have to DO my best. Taking that control back has been a life saver.

    I'm sending hugs your way. I hope your trial period goes well and your health improves. I can't imagine how hard that must be. Mom's of four don't get breaks. Things just tend to fall apart if you fall apart. I hope your husband and other family and friends are helping you make it through. Enjoy your time writing. It's precious!

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  57. Contentment is a blessing and HOORAY for you for finding it! It takes a very wise person to be able to see the good that comes from the bad, and that's exactly what you've done. The writing is always perfectly happy to wait until we get other parts of our life squared away.

    I will pray for your health, if you don't mind, and I bet those green pants look smashing with your red!

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  58. Hope the health issue is getting addressed properly. I had something similar sounding begin to happen to me in the 90's. Finally, tests revealed I had a heart arrhythmia that was addressed with a procedure called a catheter ablation and I was put on pills that would keep my heart in proper beat. I've felt great ever since and that was nearly 15 years ago.

    I wish you well with whatever your situation is.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  59. You're absolutely right. It's hard not to be pressured. I wonder if there was near as much pressure back when there wasn't the internet and writers were just lone wolves? Probably not.

    I hope they get your health figured out and back on track. I had to wear a heart monitor for awhile, too. I hated when it would be loud at work (it was one that I had to push a button when I was feeling a certain way, and when I pushed the button, it would make these loud noises and play my heartbeat out loud while it was recording). I was in a cubicle farm, so everyone could hear it...awkward, lol.

    As Kit would say, take care-a you.

    The Warrior Muse

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  60. I’m sorry you had to have this happen. It was never my intention to curse you or your family. I hope you feel better soon.

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  61. I am so sorry to hear that you have been having health problems. Fainting and passing out unexpectedly can be scary, but hopefully it will get sorted out soon! I am sending good wishes and thoughts your way.

    I am glad you have been able to find balance- that is something I am still striving for. I also love that you have good reasons to be happy and things that make you smile. :)

    Have a wonderful day and hope you get good news about your health soon!
    ~Jess

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  62. Hi Good to be here again,
    Thanks for sharing a bit from
    your personal life. Yes nobody
    is perfect and all of our best is
    yet to come. Keep Going.
    Well thought out written piece.
    Keep inform
    Best Regards
    Phil

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  63. Hi. Life has changed. Would it be okay talk?

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