#writemotivation Check In

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Here are my goals for March:

  • Complete my novel revision
  • Post two blog entries each week
  • Update my journal project and keep it current

One week in on this challenge and I’m fairly wobbly on the balancing act of actual writing versus platform growth and maintenance. I keep picturing Janelle Monae performing Tightrope in my head. I did manage to post at least two blog entries and to work through fifty pages of revision on my latest project, Institutionalized: I’m not Crazy. It’s a young adult (YA) novel about a young girl who is put away in a psych hospital as an out of control alcoholic runaway after she witnesses something she shouldn’t. She struggles with the abrupt changes in her reality brought about by what she witnessed, and how to convince someone – anyone – that she’s not crazy.

Now I only have 240+ pages to go. I just have to make sure I’m revising at least eighty pages a week for the rest of the month. Next month, it’s submission time. *gulp*

I didn’t even touch my journal project. I have been thinking about doing some kind of project/book dealing with autism for a long time, but I haven’t been ready – it’s just too close to the surface, the emotions, for me to write anything good. People are always curious about what life is like with a child autism and it’s difficult to explain in general terms, sometimes. One friend recently asked me if he would ever drive a car. I had to explain that even if he could ever get over his coordination issues, he could never get past his attention issues. Children with autism have difficulty filtering out stimuli and so can easily get overstimulated. Not good for rush hour traffic. Even if an airplane flew overhead – CRASH! So I came up with the idea of journaling my life with my son Trevor for one year. Maybe that could help me show what life with autism is really like and vent all of those emotions at the same time. Trevor turns eighteen next January. All kinds of things will start to change with this birthday. It’s a good year to try it.

Even when I don’t make daily entries, I make brief notes on my calendar and I’m just really behind on putting them down in the actual journal format. That’s the goal for this week for the journal- to get those entries caught up.

How are you doing with your writing goals? I’ll leave you with this motivational song to help you keep the balance going as you try to reach your writing goals as well:

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Trevor still loves you and so do I.

Dr. Seuss has played a prominent role in our family. I read to my children from a very young age, knowing that one day, they would take off without me on their own reading adventures. Well, one of my children did. My son, Trevor was different. My son was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. He needed the security of repetition, of familiarity. He could never get enough of Dr. Seuss. We once flew from Oklahoma City to Denver on vacation and although Trevor loved being in an airplane, it was something new. His anxiety was extremely high. On that flight I must have read Go, Dog. Go! and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish at least twenty times. Each. (I can still read those two books with my eyes shut. *wink*)

Shortly after that trip, we expanded Trevor’s Seuss library – and I may have buried those two books just to save my sanity. (That incessant rhyming was driving me mad!) I’m sorry to say that I fell out of love with Dr. Seuss every time Trevor found my hiding place and those two books resurfaced and I was forced to read them again.

We ran into another situation with Dr. Seuss when Trevor hit grade school. He found a friend in his autism classroom that also loved the Dr. Seuss books. In fact, they both loved Dr. Seuss so much that they would spend the whole day talking in nothing but Seuss dialogue. All his classmate would have to say to get things started would be, “Hey Trevor, ‘Are you my Mother’?” and off they’d go exchanging lines from that book until they moved onto the next one. After much arguing, banning “Dr. Seuss talk”, crying in frustration, I learned to find the silver lining in this problem; he had found a friend.

Life with a child on the autism spectrum can sometimes feel like you have chaotic Things rushing about trying to help you fix a small problem only to end up with a wrecked house. The story of The Cat in the Hat and the other longer stories helped me fall back in love with Dr. Seuss and embrace the chaos. Who says life has to be neat and perfect? Who says our kids have to be that way either?

Seuss really wrote stories for his audience and not for the parents. Although his stories may have a moral or a message, they do not take precedent over the telling of the story itself. What parent would want a writer to tell kids that if they totally wreck the house and break all the rules, but manage to clean up and hide all signs of their crimes, they don’t necessarily have to tell their parents anything about it? I love that. I love how he ends The Cat in the Hat with a question – making kids think for themselves and NOT giving them the answer. Refreshing, no?

My son is seventeen, now, and although he can read by himself – all the way up to a third grade level – and he does read many other books, he still likes for me to read to him. And his favorite books are still by Dr. Seuss. I love you, Trevor.

And I love Dr. Seuss. Happy Birthday!