[Quiet Thoughts] You Have to Jump In If You Want to Swim

Photo: Halloween is a pain in the butt for mamas! I have been up all day tending to Halloween things. Now here I am and there isn’t much to show for all of my time today! I don’t even want all that candy those two brought into this house!

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning I stand at water’s edge in my swimsuit at my local high school, staring at the water, preparing to jump in. It’s a ritual: my fat self in this swimsuit that covers for modesty and looks ok, I guess… me standing there while the older folk are stretching and preparing in their own way. I stand there and I talk to myself.

“Kyra [middle name], get in the water…” (I use my middle name when I’m scolding myself.)

It’s a funny thing… the hesitation. It’s silly, really, because the pool is (usually) heated. But the body and the mind need to have a negotiation. There is going to be a shock no matter what, but how bad will the shock be? Will it be crazy cold? Will it be pretty comfortable? Do I really feel like swimming today?

When I was a little girl, I’d spend my summers on the swim team in the neighborhood. Practice in the mornings, practice in the afternoons. The morning practice, especially in mid-June, always yielded shocking results when you first jumped in. That water was cold, no matter what the calendar said. The big kids would just jump in. They were so cool. We pre-teens… with our little selves (even me, at that time!)… we’d hesitate. We’d preemptively shiver. We’d complain after dipping our toes in.

But then the coaches would bark and the big kids would give us those cool teenager looks.

“Just get in the water! Jump in already!”

And we would, and we’d screech and then we’d get swimming. We’d warm up immediately, we’d be just fine. Jumping in is always better than easing in. Prolonging the misery is just never a good idea. Jump in and get moving. You’ll warm up and it will be fine.

And yet here I am, 30, standing at the water’s edge, dipping my foot in and dancing around. Lecturing myself with a puff.

“Kyra [middle name], just get in the damn water.”

And then I do. I step off, raise my arms, go straight to the bottom of the deep end, and dart back up. Finding myself no worse for the wear (though there was one morning that really was cold!), off I go for lap number 1. After 25 meters, the body is just fine and I’m feeling at home.

It’s Halloween for my children, but it’s NaNoWriMo Eve for me. I’m standing at the water’s edge for a really big challenge, I’m nervous as all hell, and I’m even too nervous to dip my toe in.

It isn’t like I haven’t done NaNo before. As a matter of fact, this will be my 6th NaNo. I’m such a veteran at it that this will be my third year mentoring newbies (I’ve got 4 super-awesome mentees, all of them parents, who are doing NaNo for the first time!) through this wild and crazy month of literary abandon. NaNo itself is no longer intimidating to me. The challenge I’ve decided to undertake for this month is: I am writing a work in 4 Acts, and I’m going to write, edit, and publish one act per week during the month of November. I am going to publish the work in two places: I am going to publish it to Wattpad so as to expose myself to an even wider audience and I’m also going to publish it here on my blog, so that way those of ya’ll who don’t want to sign up for Wattpad but still want to read the story can do so.

And that’s freaking terrifying to me. Because:

What if the story sucks?

What if I choke in the middle of writing it?

What if I don’t have the skills to write the story that I’ve got outlined?

What if I write the best story that I am capable of writing, and people just don’t like it?

“Kyra [middle name], get in the damn water!”

I am a perfectionist, yet I am utterly imperfect. I am reserved, yet I long for people to see me. I often find myself silent, though I know myself to have a strong voice. I am told that I can be intimidating, yet I really am more comfortable standing at the back of the room with no one looking at me.


I’ve gotta jump in the pool.

I’m jumping in the pool. Right here. Next Friday and all month long.

And here is a little preview:

Title: The Lodger at the Meadowlark Inn

Teaser: With hard work, uncompromising service and great French cooking, Audrey Clayton-Green built the Meadowlark Inn into a destination for her loyal and happy customers. No one is happier than her most generous and mysterious patron, “P,” who rents out the entire place for one weekend a year on condition of total anonymity. When the adjacent bed and breakfast is put up for sale, Audrey sees the opportunity to expand her business. Could Audrey’s ambitions jeopardize her most important relationship?

And I’m still working on the novel that I’ve been working on all year… because I don’t think that Meadowlark is going to be 50,000 words long. Also because, dammit, I really want to be done with my first draft so that I can get on with the get on. When I’m done with that first draft, I’ll put a teaser here for that, too.

I guess what scares me most is that I don’t know how this is going to go. I have no control over how you will receive the story that I will write. I only have control over what I create and how I present it. That’s a lot of onus on my part, and I’m going to do my best to present that absolute best of my skills, as meager at they are at the moment. I’m not going to ask you to be kind to me. If I’m terrible at this, if the story develops in a way that you don’t care for, it’s probably better that you tell me so that I may get better at this (or reconsider what the hell I’m doing with myself lately).

And yes, I’ll still be blogging. 3 times a week. Maybe I’ll reserve a fail/freakout moment just in case. Is that cool?

My reward for all of this nonsense, other than a sense of accomplishment? I’m pretty sure there might be a copy of Dragon Age: Inquisition with my name on it next month. (What? You didn’t know that I’m a gamer girl? Welp! Now you know!)

It is Friday. A spoooooky Friday here in New England. A little fireman and a little wizard had a very busy day. Their mama is just too tired! The haul of candy they brought in? Well… mama wishes there were more Starbursts and Reese’s Peanutbutter cups in them… oh well. I suppose on a night like this, I wish you a healthy dose of bravery. To climb pasts the ghosts and goblins to get to that candy bowl (or to step beyond your doubts and obstacles to obtain that thing you desire most). I wish you creativity where otherwise you might do the same old thing. I wish you power when you might otherwise step back and let another do the talking. I wish you the tools you need to build what you want, and a good partner to keep a watchful eye for you. I wish you something baked, like a popover (I totally have a craving) and something roasted (like a good stuffed chicken). I wish you a cold morning with good coffee or tea, a scone with cranberries baked in, and a few good articles in the local newspaper–something quirky and different to give you something to think about during your day. I wish you warm words from a good friend, a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and a squeeze of the hand in close conversation. And love, and joy, because you are worthy of both.

Until Monday, take care.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Marneymae says:

    Wishing you a super nanowrimo

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you, thank you!!! I need all the help I can get! 🙂

  2. The boys are freaking adorable. Seriously cute as all get out. Where’d you find such tiny little outfits? Squeal!

    So…I do to think I get this NaNo thing because I don’t get why it’s like this big deal? I’ll have to read more about it.

    My cousin actually talked herself out of it. But I don’t get it, don’t you just sit your ass down and write for a month?

    Who cares what we think?

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      *I* care what you think! *I* NEED you to like me and approve of all of the things that I do!!

      1. But you see, we already do. So you can type with total fearlessness and abandon 🙂

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