Baby Steps

On June 9, 2011, I signed a contract to write an ebook for some very cool guys with a cool idea. I grossly underestimated this project, as did everyone. It was to be 18 chapters, with each chapter being somewhat shortish.

I don’t do shortish.
Have you read my blog?

It’s unfortunate that I can’t do shortish. This time, however, I feel like the length and the development were necessary. This is what I tell myself to get to sleep at night. It works mostly.

I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote. And I obsessed. And I begged Keri for advice, which she SO kindly and generously gave. I seriously might have died–no, I mean ACTUALLY died–if I hadn’t had her help. OK, maybe not actual death. But something very nearly like it. I don’t know what that would be. Perhaps the funny farm. I looked a couple of them up. They weren’t taking writers with my symptoms.

Do you see why I can’t do shortish? I struggle with tangents. And stream-of-consciousness.

And from mid-June until late September, I did nothing but write. I barely cleaned the house at all. The kids were constantly searching the house for matching socks. Todd did so much cooking. (The kids really, REALLY like his cooking. But that is another post…) I dieted. On this diet, I gained 5.5 pounds. Pretty sure no one’s going to call me to write an ebook on dieting.  At the end of it all, I had 302 pages, 120,195 words, and 5.5 pounds to show for it. And all summer long, I got about 20 hours of sleep.

I do exaggerate the sleep thing, but not so much. It was bad. 3 a.m. was my average bedtime. During summer days when we didn’t have to be anywhere, the kids tried to let me sleep until about 8. On a really lucky day, I slept till 9. But then school started back and the project was still in full swing. I was getting about 3 hours of sleep each night. I’m a 40 year old lady. This begins to wear on 40-year-old ladies.

I told the funny farm people about the no-sleep thing. They still wouldn’t take me. They asked me if I’d ever tried to sleep in a mental health facility. I said no. But I’d like to try, even so. Again, they said no. There aren’t a lot of nice people in the mental health facility. They don’t read ebooks.

None of this is true.
Except the lack of sleep thing. And all the other stuff.

Anyway.

One night in late September–I think it was September 28–I declared that I was not going to bed until I finished my final chapter. It was my FINAL chapter, but it had been dogging me for almost 2 weeks. It was shortening my life. I HAD to finish it. So I plugged away into the night. 3 a.m. rolled around. I drank a Diet Mtn. Dew. 4 a.m. rolled around. 5 a.m. came and I went to take a shower. I was getting groggy. The shower woke me back up. At 6:26 a.m., I finished that chapter. And then I stood up from my desk and made breakfast. It was time to start our day. I had a great day that day. I lived in a fog to some extent, but functioned nicely.

It was the next day that it hit me. I didn’t even bother to call those mean mental health people. I just went to bed at 9. That seemed to do the trick without packing any suitcases.

Looking back, I am so glad it’s over. It was the hardest project I’ve ever done. I know God gave it to me. I also know Satan likes to try to use the blessings in our lives to our disadvantage. I certainly messed a thing or two up while trying to complete this book. Besides gaining 5 pounds (on top of the 12 I was already trying to lose!), and the fact that it looks like the girls’ rooms vomited up mismatched outfits from their closets, I sort of lost sight of a few important things.

I just got tired.

And while I am still super thankful to have had this opportunity, I’m now having to take baby steps back toward the things I left behind. I can’t freak out that there are 117 articles of clothing not in their rightful place. I can’t even freak out that the 117 out-of-place articles of clothing don’t HAVE a rightful place. Don’t even get me started on the 62.5 cabillion things we have to do to move out of this house and into the farmhouse (that’s also another post…). I can’t lose the 5.5 pounds tonight. Or the 17.5 pounds next week. And I can’t become a spiritual tower of strength in the next three days as I beat myself about the head and neck for hardly praying to the One who gave all of this to me. I have told Him “thank you.” And I have told Him, “I’m sorry.” And I meant it.

Getting to the place I want to be will take baby steps. One small thing at a time that moves me in the proper direction.  I am looking at each choice as either a “strengthener” or a “weakener” in this. If it weakens, I try to avoid it. Seems simple, but somehow isn’t all that easy to apply. I am praying a lot. I am spending time in the Word. I’m not really exercising consistently yet, but I’m working on that, too.

A wise person told me this week, “Just do the next thing.”

I think she read that somewhere.

Or maybe she’s just smart like that.

It’s good advice, either way.

I’m going to do the next thing. And 1800 next things from now, I’ll be able to look behind me and see that I’ve been somewhere.

If not, I’ll try the mental health people one more time. Maybe this time, they’ll say yes.