I lost that loving feeling…

I’ve loved to write since… well, I can’t remember a time I didn’t like to write.  Even during periods of time when I didn’t have the time, or was just so down on myself that I figured “why bother,” the stories would run through my head as if I was typing them at a typewriter (without all the messy corrections).

Characters and places haunted me and I found myself lost in conversations as I tried to listen to what they wanted to tell me.  As a teenager, it was typical for me to sit in class or at a party or even watching TV, but be visiting my fictional world in my mind.  (Go figure I wasn’t valedictorian.)

But one day, it just stopped.  I quit trying to remember my characters and their worlds, quit telling myself that one day I’d write out their adventures and read them when I’m old.  I’d lost my first love.  It just went away.

And I didn’t care.

I didn’t ask myself why.

I’m not even sure I noticed…

Until I took a week long road trip with my daughter.

Now I can’t get the silly little goblins in my head to be quiet! And my poor husband has had more one-sided conversations with me than he’s probably had the whole time we’ve been together.  (I’m incredibly lucky he understands and just laughs.)

I’m pretty sure it was stress and just general busyness that stole my stories away, but it doesn’t really matter.

They’re back now.  And the typewriter in my mind is steadily typing away.

I’m a whole year old!!!

Well, I wasn’t sure what I was going to post about today.  All I knew was, I really needed to post something…

I figured it’d probably be an update on my Anger Management Experiment.  That seemed pretty boring though since it’s been two weeks and my husband has yet to make me want to yell at him… I’m not complaining, just doesn’t make for a very interesting blog post…

Then I thought to myself… Self, we may have to check out The Daily Post and see if it’s got a good writing prompt for the day.  Hey, I’m dramatic.  That would’ve been an awesome post for me!pexels-photo-104963

But, I ultimately decided to celebrate with you guys instead.  Because when I logged in to start typing away I discovered…  My blog is a year old!!!

One year ago today I started this whole crazy blogging experience thing!

I looked back at my first blog post.  My husband did get laid off not too long after posting that and I did go back to working outside the home for a while.  It didn’t take him long to get back to work though (praise God)!  Now I’m doing transcription part-time from our house and still spending tons of time with my babies.

One thing that I said in that post that I completely forgot about was that simply realizing my dream of finishing my first novel was enough.  Obviously, I was a little naive when I said that.   Finishing writing a first draft was pretty simple… perfecting it is a whole other bag of worms all together!

Sure, technically I “finished” writing a novel.  (Technically I’ve got 1 1/2 novels written at this point and way too many short stories to count.)  But I had no idea how hard it was going to be to get it to a point where I feel like I can say it’s done.  I’m actually starting to wonder if I’ll be able to make it as great as I want it to be…

But I am incredibly proud of myself for writing it at all… I did realize the dream (even if the dream is currently in something like its 6th draft stage and has had almost every word changed at some point.)

And here I am, a year from starting this blog and I’ve met so many great people!  I’ve been introduced to some awesome authors and my to be read list just keeps growing.  I’m really looking forward to what the next year on jesscombs.com will bring.

Another amazing experience blogging has opened up to me is the wonderful world of book reviewing!  I had no idea that you can get free books in exchange for writing an honest review.  This is something I just started and I’m looking forward to sharing lots of reviews with you all!  KIMG0002

(Please still use the contact me form to suggest books for me to read!  I plan on posting reviews on books from my blogging peeps over the next year as well and if my husband doesn’t have to buy me books anymore, I’ll have to come up with something else to write on the I love you because board…)

I hope those of you who have followed jesscombs.com over it’s first year have enjoyed it as much as I have (although, admittedly, posts were few and far between there for a while).   And I look forward to another year with all my new blogging friends as well… Let me know what you think and if you’ve got any suggestions for the next year.

Happy Birthday to ME!!!  🙂

Note to Self: You’re failing miserably at…

So I basically suck at blogging.

If you found this blog when I started it last summer, then you may have noticed that I went from posting almost daily to  being almost eerily silent.  You may have also noticed that I’ve occasionally changed a background or something, but haven’t bothered to even post a quick “hey y’all, how’s it goin’?” since November .

Of course, it’s more likely that you barely noticed I’ve been gone at all – much like the tabs on my page that I just discovered disappeared at some point during my tinkering.

Oh, before I forget…

Hey y’all!  How’s it goin’?  

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog post…

No excuses, no reason, I’m just failing at being a blogger.

It’s not for lack of trying, or for lack of something to say.  (I’ve always got something to say!)   It’s just that I can’t stay focused on writing a post.  I start, then stop to browse other themes, then start on a completely different post, then move on to whatever in my real life requires me.

The number of unfinished drafts I have saved on my laptop is actually a little embarrassing.

But it’s not just blogging.  I’m really starting to think I may be failing at life in general.  (Yep, that’s right — you get a grade for this life thing.)

So let’s start with the last thing I posted about…  NaNoWriMo.

I won!  YAY!  I didn’t fail at writing a novel in 30 days!  I’m so amazing…

After finishing the first draft of my novel in November, I tucked it safely away in it’s little Scrivener folder and moved on to my next unfinished project.

Much like this blog, I’ve visited my NaNo novel many times and even done some editing here and there…  but that’s as far as it’s gone.  At this rate, it might be ready for a first reader somewhere around the year 2040.

So “F” number #1 goes to…  failing miserably as a novelist.

Let’s move on to “F” number #2, shall we… Continue reading

A NaNo Update

NaNoWriMo is going great!  Day 10 Word Count

Or, at least it’s going good…

Ok, I’m behind on my  word count, but it’s not like I’m so behind I’ll never catch up.

[Insert catch phrase of 16 year old daughter:  “Don’t Judge Me.”]

I haven’t started writing yet today.  My current word count is 12,235.  Not bad for 9 days of writing.

Well… if we’re going to get technical about it, it’s been 6 days of writing.  I didn’t write at all the first day of NaNo, and I got a little sidetracked a couple other days…

Which doesn’t make me a sucky NaNoWriMo’er (Yes, it’s a word — I just used it!), it just means that, when I put my heart and mind into it, I can sit down and spew out a bunch of words that may or may not be the work of a literary genius form complete and/or coherent sentences.

And, as you can see by the above handy dandy gadget up there, hitting 50K is still completely doable!  I just need to average 1,793 words/day instead of 1,667.

Before NaNo started, I actually did an outline.  I had my characters all figured out…  I was a total Planner!

And then I started actually writing my novel. Continue reading

When a Runner Can’t Run

I’m a runner.  

Or, I was a runner.

Sometimes, I forget I’m not a runner anymore.  And when it hits me that I can no longer call myself a runner, a wave of depression comes over me that has, on occasion, actually knocked me down.  Thankfully, it’s a short lived fit of self-pity (usually) and is often shoved aside quickly by a quick trip up or down some stairs.

The pain in my knee is a pretty good reminder that, once the pain is gone, I will be a runner again.  (Sometimes, it sends me into a downward spiral where I’m convinced I’ll never even be able to walk up and down the stairs again, but that’s not really important right now.)

I had no idea how much I associated being a runner with who I am until I couldn’t run.  There was only one other time in my life that I had such an identity crisis…

During the first date I was on with my husband, he interrupted me to exclaim (with a rather terrified look on his face), “Oh, God!  You’re a Christian!”  He actually backed away from me when he said it, as if I might somehow infect him with my Christian filth.  We had already been surprised by his being 7 years younger than me… and he had already told me that he hated kids.  To which, I responded that I had two. He didn’t so much as flinch.  (Not even when I went out of my way to try to make him. hehehe)  But when something escaped from my lips that made him realize I was a Christian, he looked a little disgusted.

Now, you might think that I would be upset about his reaction…  I wasn’t.

I was more upset that he wasn’t able to tell before our date, before I confirmed his accusation, before whatever the words were that had escaped my lips at that moment, what my beliefs were.

All I could think was, “I’m a Christian.  I’m supposed to be shining Christ’s light in this world.  Every action and reaction I have is supposed to exude love.”  Obviously, if he was that shocked by my being a Christian, then I wasn’t shining a light in the world.  He had seen me many times before our first date.  We had even gone to lunch a couple of times before that night.  If I was bringing light to the dark, it would have been obvious at this point…  but it wasn’t.

And I had to really search myself.  I had to redefine my role in this world.  I questioned whether I really was a Christian.  Did I have any business calling myself that if it was THAT big of a shock for someone to find out?

That’s pretty much how I feel now when I let the words escape my lips…  “I’m a runner.”

Writer’s write.  If I wasn’t writing, I couldn’t call myself a writer.

Runner’s run.  If I haven’t ran in months can I really call myself a runner?

It’s a pretty simple concept.  Let the identity crisis begin…

About a year ago, I fell during a race.  I sprained my shoulder and had a little pain in my knee.  I figured the knee was just scraped and once the scabs went away, it’d be fine.  That wasn’t the case.  The doctor said I’d probably torn my meniscus.  Without an MRI they couldn’t tell for sure.  I needed to have an x-ray, which they said wouldn’t be able to tell them anything really if it was a tear, but the insurance won’t pay for the MRI without an x-ray first.

I’m stubborn.

The knee pain wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t run on it, so I decided not to worry about it.  I iced it after every run and, except for the post-run swelling, it was fine.

In January, my husband and I ran a half-marathon in Arizona for our anniversary.  After the race, a pain in my stomach that I had been experiencing on and off for a few months became nearly unbearable.  It grew worse as the months wore on.  I couldn’t run.  Some days, I could barely walk. The pain eventually led to me having surgery in May.

That race was my last long run.

Once healed from my surgery, I was excited to get back out on the road.  But it wasn’t quite the homecoming I had expected.

Over the months of inactivity, my knee had gotten weaker.  It’s no longer able to absorb the shock of running.  Stairs cause me to grit my teeth.

Yes, I should probably go have the stupid x-ray.

But I’d rather build the strength back up in my knee. I don’t want to end up out for another year because I had to have another surgery (which is what the doc is pretty sure I’ll need).

The problem?

I’m a runner.

I’m a runner who cannot run.

Building myself back up to where I was is going to take time.  And a lot of patience and determination…  and I have to get over the fact that I cannot run.  Before I can run, I’m going to have to walk.

To me, running is fun.  The world just looks and feels different when I’m running.  The time passes almost too quickly.

But walking???  Walking is boring.  Time passes way too slowly.  Everything looks and feels exactly the same as if I was sitting on my front porch.

Basically, the problem is that I cannot get myself motivated to walk.  I’ve tried listening to a book while I walk on the treadmill (I hate treadmills).  I’ve tried listening to music, but it just doesn’t help.

Today, with the help of a new friend, I think I’m finally ready to say “I’m a walker.”

I woke up this morning and had no desire to go for a walk.  I gritted my teeth and grimaced at the crackling and pain as I walked up the stairs.  I was NOT in the mood for a slow, boring, walk up and down the hills I know I need to walk to get my knee stronger.

But I had someone waiting for me.  I couldn’t cancel, I was the one who asked her to go with me.  And so, I went.

And I had a great time!

She didn’t mind that I had to take it easy as we made our way not just up, but down the hills (down is a killer for me right now).  We talked and laughed, and the time just flew by…  I went much farther than what I thought I would be able to!

Without her, I honestly wouldn’t have made it there today.  I wouldn’t feel as accomplished as I do now… I’d be sitting here sulking in the fact that I can’t run, instead of joyously proclaiming that I walked today!

And eventually, I WILL run again!