That “Good Kind of Tired”
I’ve always said, “The things that make you tired are the things you leave undone.”
I must have read it somewhere. I’m not that brilliant.
But it’s true. When you don’t complete a task, it hangs over you like a dark cloud. A cloud that grows bigger and darker and more daunting with the passage of time. That’s why time management folks say to put the big projects first on your “to do” list.
“Getting stuff done” breeds energy to do more. Getting it done, no matter the task, is what my mom calls, “a good kind of tired.”
My first novel, Breathing on Her Own was released in March 2014. It was fun. An accomplishment. In October of that same year, I started outlining another story set in Indiana. I was playing with the idea for that story when several friends in an online writing community started talking about NaNoWriMo.
It stands for NationalNovel Writing Month. I did some research, checked out a book at my local library by the founder, Chris Baty, and decided to join the fun.
The idea of completing 50,000 of a novel in November by writing a bit each day was doable. At the time, Tom and I were in Ohio, selling our house. We were traveling back to Florida at the end of the week, November 1.
I told Tom about the notion of writing a book in a month. He was all in. We made our plans. I would write in November and edit in December. We intended to take our camper to the Florida Christian Writers Conference in the Spring 2015 to pitch two other novels I had already completed.
I think the Florida Christian Writers Conference was in February that year. I honestly can’t remember. I never went to it. I never wrote the book. I never participated in NaNoWriMo.
I had a title for the book. I called it The Edge of Quiet.
I had something of a loose outline for the novel.
I had considered the characters and the problem facing them.
I prepared to write.
I always wrote a little every day. Tom rode his bicycle every day for his health.
After lunch, On October 29, 2014, three days before we were to leave for Florida, I headed back to the computer to get a few details about the setting for my new story. Tom left for his daily bike ride.
My sweet husband died a few hours later from injuries he sustained that day from a bicycle accident. You’ve heard me say this before. When Tom died, the ink ran out of my pen.
I had no desire to pursue…anything. I lived in a fog.
I picked up the Quiet manuscript file from time-to-time, feeling guilty for not writing a story I figured God had given me.
The book was left undone.
NaNoWriMo was left undone.
In February of 2018, while living in Europe, I was asked if I could submit a novella to an anthology. The publishers wanted stories written by Ohio authors that take place in Ohio. I cut 45,000 words from one of my works I intended to pitch at the conference I never attended, Courtesy Turn, and received a contract for it to be published in From the Lake to the River. I submitted Libby’s Cuppa Joe to a publisher online and received a contract for it as well.
You would think those successes would have given me the energy and inspiration to finish The Edge of Quiet. But they didn’t. I prayed about it and continued to play with my writing, crafting this blog, a few Chicken Soup for the Soul stories, and a handful of devotions.
The undone story was exhausting to think about.
Then this fall, something happened. I can’t tell you what it was exactly.
At some point in time I came to the realization it was time to write The Edge of Quiet.
I printed out every bit…every outline, paragraph, sentence or thought I had put in the file. I tried to sort it out. I consulted some of my writer friends at our online October retreat about my possible next step. And I prayed some more.
I decided the time had come. I would finish the book by the end of October and write a companion book to it during NaNoWriMo 2020.
I finished The Edge of Quiet on October 31.
With a few hours to spare. I launched into The Edge of Disruption (working title only) on November 1.
To complete the challenge of NaNoWriMo, I need to write, on average, 1667 words a day. And I will do it.
The Edge of Quiet may never be picked by a publisher. I don’t know. The 50,000 words I put to paper this month toward The Edge of Disruption may never be read by anyone but me. And my mom. Maybe my daughters.
That’s okay. It is not about publishing. It is about conquering the task. It is moving forward and releasing the creative spirit that tugs at my heart and soul. It is trusting God. Always.
It is about finishing.
Finishing The Edge of Quiet buoyed my spirits. It gave me a sense of purpose and energy. Finishing NaNoWriMo will do the same. These were the tasks I left undone in 2014.
So this is my plea to my readers…do that one thing hanging over your head.
You have a project you never completed. You may have something you’ve always longed to do. Do it.
It need not be perfect, but getting it done will replace that feeling of exhaustion with that “good kind of tired.”