How to Achieve Your Goals (Even When It’s Hard)

I set a goal last Monday night at my writing group: to go back to writing a Monday Blog Post every week until we meet again. Every. Single. Week. Except for this week because Monday was a holiday and no one reads blogs on holidays, so this week I am supposed to post my piece on Tuesday. Or so I promised my group (and more importantly, myself).

The problem? I have nothing to write about. Well, nothing worth writing about anyway.

I tried writing a clever post about what I did and did not do over the holiday weekend, but when I wrote…

Things I Did NOT Do Over the Three Day 4th of July Holiday Weekend

  • Do something fabulous or go somewhere fabulous and post the pictures on Facebook like (seemingly) everyone else I know.

…it sounded whiny and bitter instead of self-deprecating and funny as I’d intended.

 

And when I wrote…

Things I DID Do Over the Three Day 4th of July Holiday Weekend

  • Exactly one load of laundry – the cloth napkins and kitchen towels, which I folded while watching one of many, many hours of Property Brothers. (So, it looks like I’ll be wearing the ratty underwear this week.)
  • Got into a deep discussion with Marley about which Scott brother is hotter.
    Discussion went like this:
    Me: Jonathan’s the cuter one, right?
    Marley: Totally, Mom.
    Me: Are you sure, because sometimes I think it’s Drew.
    Marley: It’s not.
    Me: Okay.

 

  • Took two naps. (I’m getting over a cold. I’m a little disappointed in myself for not taking four.)

 

  • Took Marley to the gym and walked on the treadmill at a ridiculously slow speed while catching up on John Oliver and called it a “workout.” (See above – I was sick.)
Last-Night-This-Week
Please take note of how the reflection of the florescent lights makes it look like John Oliver is holding a light saber, not the sad, sad time of my “workout.”

 

  • Played cards with Dave and Marley Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night. (Yeah, the three of us – we’re like a party machine!)

 

 

  • Watched fireworks (through some very thick trees) at my mother’s house Monday night with Dave and Marley (Chandler was working) and then played more cards.

 

… I felt like everyone would die from the boredom of my pathetic life.

Seriously, you’re not still reading this are you? And if so, why? Is it because you feel sorry for me? Are you one of those weird Type-A-OCD people who has to finish whatever you start no matter what, even if you’ve figured out there will be no reward at the end? (Trust me, this post is not going to all of a sudden get better.)

But here is the good news: this blog post will be over soon.

And I can pat myself on the back for doing what I said I would do (at least this week) to achieve my goal. (To steal from and paraphrase the awesome Elizabeth Gilbert, I said I would write a blog post every week, not a good blog post every week.)

And you can be happy because you, too, have achieved your goal by finishing what you started. And because your life is way more exciting than mine. (Hey, I meant that in a funny/self-deprecating, not bitter/whiny way.) 🙂

The Definition of Literature

The city I live in, lovingly called “The Bubble” by its residents, has an annual book club event in the spring called One City, One Book. Past books have included Farenheit 451  by Ray Bradbury and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

This year the book chosen for the event was The Mountain Story by the incredibly talented Lori Lansens. Lori is one of my favorite authors. She writes unique, compelling stories in gorgeous prose. Her writing gets to the heart of human emotions and her books always stay with me for a long time after I’m done reading them.

The-Mountain-Story-by-Lori-Lansens
Looking for a great read? Look no further!

 

Lori is a local resident so there was a real opportunity to have several One City, One Book events that started with a launch party where the book was sold a week before its release, a library event and finally a book club meeting a few weeks later held at our library. The city put a lot of publicity and effort behind the event and it was quite successful.

Do you want to hear something really cool? I’m actually friends with Lori. I met her years ago at the beach through a mutual friend after I was already a fan. Can you imagine what it’s like to meet one of your favorite authors and become friends with her? (I don’t have to imagine – I know! And it’s awesome!)

Anyway, Marley said to me the other day, “Mom, when your book comes out next year you can do One City, One Book.”

I smiled and said, “That’s sweet, honey, but my book would never be picked for One City, One Book.”

“Why not? We live here.”

“Yes,” I told her, “but you don’t have to live here for them to choose your book. My book is not the right kind of book. Lori’s book is literature; my book is a funny beach read.”

“What do you mean?” she asked. “Aren’t all books literature.”

Um… No.

“Not really,” I said. “There are lots of different kinds of books. Books that are literature not only tell a good story, but do so with beautiful writing. My writing is funny, but it’s not beautiful. Also, literature often has a deep meaning or complex theme. My book is not deep; there’s not much to discuss. Other than, you know, how freaking funny it is!”

“So do you mean that literature has big words?”

“Not always,” I said. “In fact, I think the best literature makes small words have big meanings.”

She looked at me with narrowed eyes.

“I’ll give you an example. Think of the John Green books you’ve read. He tells a great story with many layers in beautiful, quotable language. Someone who writes a book about kids with cancer that people actually want to read, and writes things like, ‘As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once,’ is writing literature.

“Now think of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Those books are great and incredibly funny, but they’re easy to read and aren’t very complex. I’m not saying that John Green is better than Jeff Kinney, both of those writers are among the best at what they do, and both of their books have value. But Diary of a Wimpy Kid ain’t literature.

diary-of-a-wimpy-kid
Hilariously funny. Not Literature

“So Lori Lansens is like John Green and you’re like Jeff Kinney?”

“Well, Lori Lansens is like John Green. I aspire to be as witty as Jeff Kinney.”

“I still think your book could be in One City, One Book.

“Well, that would be awesome, but I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.”

She shrugged.

“Okay?”

“Okay.”

(If you’ve read this John Green book, then you know that in the right context writing an exchange as simple as “Okay? Okay.” is truly literature.)