(Not that productivity isn’t fun. It is. It’s just that sometimes certain types of fun require me to take a little break and think about nothing.)
Can I just take a moment to say that yesterday’s goal-setting session pretty much lit an Olympic-sized torch in me? Even after 3.2 miles on the treadmill yesterday and a strength-training session, I still had more energy than time to use it. (This is not normal, and it may or may not have something to do with my new neon-pink running shoes. They exude energy.) Seriously, though — I’m even more excited than I expected to be about these workshop goals.¹
It just occurred to me that this whole day is bathed in neon pink. New shoes? Check. Notecards for the scenes I’m revising? Check. The color I think of when I think of my plans for this evening? Yep.
One of my favorite authors, Jen Lancaster², is in Dallas today! She’s on tour promoting her new memoir, My Fair Lazy. I haven’t read it yet, but I have a copy in front of me just itching to be read. (It’s taken some real strength to not drop everything just to read it, FYI.) She’s hilarious, and I’m looking forward to hearing her speak at the signing.³
The idea of going to a signing is inspiring, especially as I’m working on editing this novel, and especially because of who Jen Lancaster is. If you don’t know anything about her, here’s a little background: she was laid off from an high-level executive position several years ago, and the lovely economy was not very kind to her. She job-searched like crazy, only to come up empty-handed over and over again. So, what did she do? She wrote her first novel (Bitter is the New Black), a memoir focused on this process. Her witty-sarcastic-yet-not-off-putting perspective is fun to read, and I suspect that’s why she’s now out promoting her fifth memoir.
All that to say, the woman has determination. I’m inspired by her. If you don’t believe me, find a copy of Pretty in Plaid. Read it all, at some point, but for now, just read the last few pages. They’re about the first time she landed on the New York Times bestsellers list, and how surreal it was. Here’s a little excerpt, though you really should read the whole chapter (and the whole book):
Here I am, on the New York Times bestsellers list, practically the greatest barometer for success an author could ever hope to achieve. And I got here by telling my story my way.
Me. A nobody from Indiana. A random girl with a bunch of sorority dance T-shirts and old Jordache jeans stored in her mom’s attic. Nothing remarkable about her except an unvarying yearning to be better…and maybe an unhealthy fascination with cupcakes.
I did it.
I made it.
That’s my name on the list.
But I recognize that I’m here right now living my dream because my audience connects with me, not because I’m carrying a Prada bag, but because we all have the same fears, insecurities, and joys. Thus, they’re the ones who motivate me to be better. And the notion of having an audience pull for me because I’m one of them is far more daunting than making a list ever could be.
— Jen Lancaster, Pretty in Plaid, found on the last few pages
Well, there you go. Wow, right? I like to swap out Texas for Indiana, and American Eagle jeans for the Jordache, and imagine that could be me someday. (Also, swap out lattes for cupcakes.) It could be you, too. The one way it certainly won’t be me? If I don’t get these edits done.
Happy motivation, and happy weekend, to all of you! For those of you participating in Merrilee’s workshop, I wish you a peaceful last couple of days! Back to this mess of neon and notes I go.
¹Don’t get me wrong, though. This excitement is a nice little distraction from the oh-my-goodness-this-is-going-to-be-REALLY-HARD-and-what-did-I-sign-up-for? feeling that’s bubbling under the surface. Perhaps you can relate?
²She’s written five memoirs. Among them are my two favorites, New York Times bestsellers Pretty in Plaid and Such a Pretty Fat.
³In case you’re wondering where neon pink fits into this little picture, it doesn’t, really. There’s pink on the cover of her new book, as well as last year’s Pretty in Plaid, so I guess my brain just turned normal pink into neon somehow? Or, maybe it’s because she wore hot pink in her television interview this morning. Still, hot pink ≠ neon. Whatever.