Writing an entire book has always been a goal of mine. I minored in health in college and for one of my classes I had to write five measurable goals for my future. I wrote them out, stuffed them in a box with a noise maker and was to open the box two years later when all my goals were [hopefully] met.
I found my box buried in my closet six years later. I smiled when I picked it up and dusted it off. I anxiously opened it and my heart sunk when I realized not a single goal was met. I couldn't use the noise maker to celebrate. Instead, I was crushed. All those goals and dreams were just that - words on paper that I had imagined would come to life without trying.
Today, with a lot of determination, I am making them come true. My motto: if you believe in yourself, anything is possible. I stand by that because believing in myself has worked for me thus far! (I wish I knew this back in the day!) I can already cross off one of my goals. Next on my list - write a book.
As my neck ached and my fingers cramped yesterday, I kept telling myself, "okay, if I even write a hundred more pages, I will be happy."
"Just a little further - you can do it, Christie!" I'd cheer.
Even today, when I start thinking how much more of my manuscript I have left to go, my motivation starts to dwindle. It already seems like so much time has gone into this book and I'm only halfway to the end. How much longer? Will I be able to stay on track? Will agents and publishers love it as much as I do? I have a long journey ahead of me. There will be rejections and criticism and lots of red ink - I will have to edit and adjust and re-edit.
Then I started to remember when I first started running. I always hated running in my teens. My least two favorite days of school were the day I had to run the timed mile. The worst day of volleyball was always the first day of preseason in college -we had to run a timed mile. I hated every second of pounding pavement. I would start breathing heavy two minutes in. My mouth was dry. I thought I'd pass out. Then one day I realized how mental running was.
My body was rocking. I was in great shape. I should breeze past the mile runs. What was my problem? A friend of mine forced me to sign up for a 5k after I moved to Minnesota. I was so nervous I thought I would pass out, but for some reason I fell in love with it. Running was fun! I wasn't doing it for the best time or to get more playing time on the volleyball court. I was doing it for myself. Soon I started doing 10ks. I'd see how far I could go without walking. Then came my first half marathon - it was in Chicago. It was a hot summer day and I went out drinking the day before. Not smart. Even before I crossed the start line, my heart was pumping and a pit in my stomach kept telling me...
"You're not going to do this!"
"Christie - do you realize how far 13 miles is???"
My finish time was embarrassing. I ended walking most of the half.
Spectators yelled to me as I walked by, "But, you're athletic! You can do this!"
Physically, I was in the best shape of my life, but mentally I was weak - doubt filled my head the entire time.
"What were you thinking, Christie?" I demanded of myself.
"You can't do this! Why did you think you could do this?"
"It's too hot!"
I let the excuses win: Yes, it was too hot! I was dehydrated! I was tired! I should have trained more! I should have...I could have...I would have...What if...
Even though I crossed the finish line, I wasn't proud of myself one bit. Deep down I knew I could have done better. I let my negative thoughts win. A year later I decided to try again - maybe because I knew I could do it. I wanted to try another half marathon but in Minnesota. I trained, and mentally prepared myself. I was ready. And I finished in just over two hours. I felt unstoppable. Something came over me while I was running. I couldn't feel pain, I wasn't breathing heavy at all and I was light on my feet. I did it! Yes, doubt started to creep in, but even before I crossed the start line, I set a goal - I would do the run so I would be proud of myself. I knew that feeling and I wanted it. And, yes, I was so proud. I became hooked. I ran another and another, but I always shied away from a full marathon.
Once I saw mile marker 13, I couldn't imagine running ANOTHER 13 miles to make a full marathon. How would my body function? So instead of running a marathon, I'm writing a book, which feels like a full marathon in a way. I have just completed my half-marathon in the book world - I'm halfway there! To me, another 13 chapters seems insane, but I know I can do it. I will do it. And when I cross that finish line, the moment will be priceless!!
"Encourage each other to build each other up." - 1 Thessalonians 5:11