I’ve got some news. As you may know, I stopped blogging a few months back to focus on my first novel, and focus I did. After several re-writes and feedback sessions with friends and family, I took the step of commissioning an editorial review. Well, I got the notes and here’s how they began.
“I think this is a rather stunning accomplishment. You’ve somehow managed to write a story that readers will have a hard time turning away from, compelling them to experience pretty much what the protagonists themselves are experiencing in a visceral way. I don’t know if you set out with that intent, but it’s a clever result. It’s more than just watching a car wreck, though. It’s watching two people repeatedly make poor choices because they ultimately have no choice. There’s a strange grace in their saga – and evidence that the magic that is inherent to the “soul mate” relationship is the same stuff that fuels spontaneous combustion. It’s the beautiful ache. The ugly beautiful. All those paradoxes and more.” ~ Steve Parolini, The Novel Doctor
Pages of enthusiasm, insight and encouragement followed that opening paragraph. Sometimes we need a little validation from a stranger to help us believe in ourselves. Well, I believe. I’m ready to jump back in, guns blazing – ready to finish this sucker.
As I forge ahead, I plan to share my progress and occasional thoughts about my writing life at katietallo.com. If you’d care to follow along, and maybe even get a copy of my novel one day, please join me at my new home by signing up to get an email when I have news or updates. Sign up here.
Keep writing. Keep dreaming. Keep walking the dog.
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” – Frida Kahlo, Painter
photo by Mark Holleron
This blog has been a way for me to move more consciously through life, to peek into the unexplored corners of my flawed soul and to reach out into the dark to see if there is anyone else out there like me. Turns out there is and inside these collected writings and inside your wonderful comments lies evidence of all of that and more.
Just over two years ago, I posted my first piece of writing on this blog and today I post my last. I am grateful I found you and that you found me. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made along the way, but now it’s time for new beginnings.
I’ve tiptoed around my dream of writing a novel for a couple of decades now and blogging has helped me tiptoe a little longer. It’s time to set blogging aside, along with all of the lovely diversions that come with it, and take a leap of faith.
“We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.” – Henry David Thoreau, Writer, Naturalist, Philosopher
Momentum ebbs, flows, shifts and gathers. I hope it is gathering in good ways in your life. If you are new here, stay a while and have a look around. If you are one of my lovely readers, I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. I hope to share my novel with you all one day soon.
Listen to your heart and if you hear something calling, don’t be afraid to take that leap in the dark to your success. It’s never too late.
I’m here if you need me.
There’s a sound in the distance that grows louder every day. Only I can hear it — my own dog whistle, perhaps. When I’m quiet it can be deafening and a sadness wafts over me.
It’s the sound of my inner weirdo screaming to be heard. It’s the sound of the old woman I’ll be one day begging me to listen. It feels like the sound of words unwritten, promises broken, moments unlived. It feels like the sound of shame and doubt and regret and fear.
“The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Like a bird I flit from list to list, from tweet to tweet, from chore to chore, from excuse to excuse, trying to avoid hearing that this not-so-solid ground is where I’m supposed to land – this ground into which I might sink, or at least have to dig into very deeply – this ground that might be excruciatingly difficult to navigate, leaving me vulnerable and alone.
That’s when I want the noise to stop – but she won’t stop. She has not stopped my whole life. Why? Because I’ve been wrong about her and she’s trying to tell me that. She’s not against me. She’s not ashamed of me. She is not hateful. She just wants me to trust her.
“Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go.” ~ Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
And now that I’ve truly begun to listen to her, I can hear the note of encouragement, strength and love in her rhythmic beckonings. The more I calm myself and stop straining to shut her out, the more clearly and sweetly the sound resonates in my soul.
And when I listen with my whole heart, I hear, not the sound of unwritten words, broken promises or unlived moments. Instead, I hear the sound of words written, promises kept and moments lived. My inner weirdo is actually rooting for me, and that old woman, well she thinks I’m the cat’s ass. I’m listening, I’m trusting that the ground is ready for my landing.
I know now what the sound is. It is the sound of my true voice – and it’s the one and only sound I need listen to. I’m all ears.
There’s a fire starting in my heart, reaching a fever pitch, it’s bringing me out the dark. Finally I can see you crystal clear. Adele, Rolling in The Deep
Sometimes I’m wishy-washy. I start things and don’t finish them. I’ll get a spark of inspiration that fizzles after a few days or gets sidetracked by my next great idea. I’m like a puppy darting after a blowing leaf. I’ve done this with exercise and writing. I’ve done it with eating and business ventures. Amidst my successes and achievements are the ashes of half-dones and false starts.
Sometimes I wish I were more perfect, more disciplined, more durable and heroic and amazing – like those incredible people I’m always reading about who are living their dreams and accomplishing absolutely everything they set their minds to. Frankly, they piss me off – but only for a moment.
Then I realize I’m being a grump puppy. Those amazing people are just like me.
Hiding in the chinks of their incredible-ness is frailty. They doubt, they self loathe, they fear and they are awash in the wishy-washy at times too. The same ashes that lurk in my proudly labelled, yet unrealized project folders or in the bottom of my latest pair of expensive running shoes, linger in their nose-dives and missteps. We all took a stab at something.
If you’ve ever wanted something, you’ve likely lost a few somethings along the way. If you’ve ever envisioned your dream life, you’ve likely strayed from that dream from time to time. None of us is alone in our meanderings.
We may have come up short, disappointed ourselves, even trash talked our inner loveliness on occasion, but it is precisely because we’ve kept trying, kept stoking the fire, kept making attempts, and kept on dreaming that we know we’re in the fight. We know who we are or at least who we aspire to be. And we know we have a dream or two smoldering in our hearts.
I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match. Mia Hamm, Former U.S. soccer star
There is power and heat in choosing a direction, in hard work and training, in sacrifice and commitment. Training might not sound gutsy, quick or cool, but training gets you ready, gets you on course, gets your practicing, gets you excited and gives you the kind of day-to-day ordinary momentum that ensures you not only catch fire, but also keep on burning. This is how dreams are built.
Our dreams are not a world away. They live close to us. They are a few minutes away, a small choice away, a mindful shift away, an every-single-day-commitment away. Begin now.
choose one big fat dream
Years can go by wishing and wanting and brainstorming and negotiating for enough time. Instead, why not focus? Pick that one big fat dream you’ve been holding off on forever and decide to get it done. There’s no time like the present and you are never ever too old to begin anew. Give your one big fat dream your all for the next six months and I’ll bet it catches fire.
commit to your dream every single day
This dream is big and it’s important to you, so commit to making time for it every single day, even if it’s just for five minutes. Take one step, do one task, make one call, look up one resource, write one page, go for one quick walk, do one set of sit-ups — do something that fuels your dream. Momentum needs to find it’s way into your routines so that it becomes the daily snowball that gathers speed and grows stronger and bigger every day.
begin your day with your dream
If you do it first, it gets done. It’s that simple. Before you check email, before the day’s distractions take over, before the shadow of the undone begins to waft over you, get your dream work done. If you begin with your dream, your day will be lifted by the momentum of accomplishment and by the growing knowledge that you’ve put your best first.
fortify your dream
Not with iron and four essential vitamins, but with a healthy declaration. Write down a lovely descriptor of your dream and carry it with you all day as a symbol of your commitment, your focus, your desire and your vision of your dream. Carry it in your wallet, put it in a special container, make it into a bookmark — then read it and honour it daily. Make it your last thought before you sleep and your first thought when you wake. Fill your heart and soul with your dream.
That’s it. Choose your dream, commit to it, begin every day with it and fortify it!
I wish for you everything that your heart desires. I wish for you success on your own terms and peace of mind. And I wish for you the realization of all your dreams.
Be the match.
I know there’s a fire starting in my heart? Is there one in yours?
Resource: I know how hard it can be to get to the task of daily writing, daily exercising, daily lessons, daily practice. If you need a little help in those early days of setting off towards your dream — help getting over those rough spots — consider The Habit Course, a collaboration with Leo Babauta, Barrie Davenport and me. It’s all about creating new habits for life – habits that last, habits that can lead to the realization of your biggest dreams.