Writing · Yoga

Changes and goals.

Holy crap, how are we halfway through March?

I’m so much happier this month. I didn’t realize the February blues were a real thing for me until I looked back over past journal entries and realized, wow, the second month of year pretty much always sucks.

I send my critique partner Sunday status updates on my novel, and when I did so today I discovered that over the past week I’ve written 9,220 brand new words on this from-scratch-rewrite I’m doing. I’m over the hill; the end of the story is in sight. But also I think my pace has really picked up just because the worst of the winter seems to be past, and I’m feeling inspired by the warmer temperatures.

The other day Abbi tagged me on instagram to stop, drop, and yoga, and so Bri ended up taking this picture of me in Utpluthih:


I’m proud when I look at this picture. I still remember my first Ashtanga lesson. Death from fiery muscle exhaustion — that was what it felt like. And at the very end, after I’d done five bajillion Surya Namaskara A and Surya Namaskara B, Michael told me to cross my legs, put my hands on the ground, and lift myself up.

I thought, there’s no way I’m ever going to be able to do what he’s describing.

I thought, he knows I’m fighting off some bad carpal tunnel and tendonitis, but maybe he doesn’t realize just how bad it is.

But over a year later, I was able to fully lift myself up between my hands.

This month actually marks my two year anniversary of when I started practicing Ashtanga. The progress I’ve made is crazy. My body has completely changed.

So has my brain. I can’t believe how much I’ve grown as a writer. That was a huge fear of mine when I came to the end of my MFA — that I would stop improving so quickly. But I was wrong. I’m improving faster. I thought that without the constant immersion in the community I would suffer and be easily distracted. Not so. Writing is, after all, the most solitary pursuit, and I’ve learned to be my best cheerleader.

The discipline I’ve developed after leaving the MFA program is truly what’s made me the writer I am today. And I definitely have my Ashtanga practice to thank for that discipline. Two very different practices, but they require so many of the same ingredients. Patience. Dedication. Courage.

So the current goal is to finish this draft of this from-scratch-rewrite by April 5th. There. I’ve said it. Now it’s a real deadline.

I think I can. I think I can.

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