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Blogging saved my writing self. I started a blog back in 2004, when my son was four years old, and my daughter only a few months old. I don’t know why I started blogging. I had been following other people’s blogs for some time, and reading about what other women were going through — how they were juggling mothering and everything else life threw at them at once — those stories inspired me, and made feel less alone. We hadn’t been in North Carolina long at that point, and I was still feeling so cut-off, and like a fish out of water; Raleigh just wasn’t fitting me the way life in upstate New York had fit. I craved the voices of other writer-mothers, and the more I read the more I thought: let me do this. I can do this. I needed to throw a rope out to myself, because at that point in my life, there were times when I really felt I was drowning. I told myself that keeping a blog would hold me accountable. I would write often, and in doing so perhaps my writing muscle would become more defined again — the way it had been back when I was in graduate school.

It worked. I loved my blog — World of One Thousand Different Things — and I built up a wonderful readership and so valued being a part of that community. After I got my job as a paid blogger for The Family Education Network I shut down my blog, and let it go. I was busy having to write a post/day five days/week for Family Education, and that took up all my creative juices. A few months ago I tried to find my old blog, but I used the Blogger platform and I can’t seem to find my way back in again. It’s sad: to think about my words floating out there in some nowhere land, but there’s nothing I can do about that now.

All this to say that this is why I have gone back in and renamed this blog — as a nod to my other one, the one that started it all. I don’t need the rope anymore, but I still remember what it felt like to grab a hold of it.

I can’t believe it’s the middle of November already. I wanted to do NaNoWriMo this year and see if I could get some momentum going on a WIP I’ve been stopping and starting, but I’ve been so engrossed in absorbing and tackling my agent’s seven-page revision letter that I haven’t been able to produce anything new. I can say I’ve been participating faithfully in NaNoRevMo — National Novel Revision Month, and I wish there were some kind of badge for that I could stick on my Facebook page. The beginning of the month started off badly — my former critique partner kindly told me she was too busy to take a look at my MS this go around, and I was feeling decidedly unmoored and alone. I was in a funk about What To Do about the revisions and I was feeling dry on ideas. I thought: this is it, I’m done with ideas — it’s over. But then I talked with my agent on the phone, and something she said percolated in my brain for two days. I went out for a run that same day and suddenly it came to me: An Idea! A Great Idea! I couldn’t wait to begin writing.

Now I am coming up for air, and I feel good. For the most part. I am still having occasional imposter-based anxiety dreams at night where my agent is telling me that she made a mistake, and that she won’t be able to sell my novel for me after all. It’s crap. But I am plugging away. The best way to shut up that voice in my head, the one that likes to needle me with self-doubt, is to keep working. My rough revisions are in the hands of two shiny, new CPs (well, one is a dear writer friend who read my first MS a few years ago), and I am moving on to Stage Two (or Three?) of my own personal revision process: reading through the hard copy and starting hard copy revisions. Those are a very different beast from the other kind, when I am actively writing and taking the glimmering ideas in my head and turning them into words. When I am writing those kinds of ideas I am convinced they are The Best Ideas Ever and I am doing brilliant work! Hard copy revisions can be scary, because that’s when I look at what I’ve written and brace myself for the doubts — confronting words on a page that you hold in your hand, that can be frightening. But that’s an important part of revising, as well. I think the revision process should be scary, because if it’s not — well, maybe there’s not enough at stake.

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In running news…I ran my second 1/2 marathon on November 2nd! I had been looking forward to 13.1 miles in which to contemplate my novel and my revisions, but I don’t think I thought about my book much, which was strange. I think I needed the mental break. I thought about lots of other things. I thought about my kids, and work, and my husband, and the holidays, but mainly I gave myself over to the work my body was doing. I soaked in the sights of downtown Raleigh, and I felt a surge of pride when I caught sight of the city skyline, or when I ran past the historic buildings downtown. I don’t often feel that sense of pride and belonging in Raleigh, but I did that day. I felt good during the race, and finished 12 minutes faster than last year. It’s funny — I didn’t doubt I would finish, and I didn’t doubt I would be faster. I don’t know why I can’t cultivate that same confidence in my writing.

One year older, I thought when I crossed the finish line, but a little faster (is running the only thing that works that way?). Training pays off — that’s what I tell myself when I revise now, too. Revisions are a chance to hone and train the craft. The more I do, the better I get.

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P.S. My hat is embarrassing — it’s my lucky running hat, but it looks like it might need to be retired.

P.P.S. The post-race food/celebration for The City of Oaks is the best. My son gorged on free pizza at 9:30 a.m., and there were Krispy Kreme donuts had by all (except I stuck with the vegan-friendly bagels and bananas)