The Value of a Life

I just started watching Black Mirror with my fiance. This evening, we watched the White Bear episode- spoilers ahead for this episode if you have not seen it yet and are planning to.

During the episode, you watch a young woman run and fight for her life as the world, it seems, has gone crazy. Some people are chasing her and trying to kill her. Others- the vast majority of them-  are chasing after them to catch all of this on their phone cameras. It’s really quite disturbing- especially when you see people filming others’ deaths.

At the end of the episode, you find out that it’s all a show. This woman was convicted of abducting and murdering a child with her fiance- and filming it as she did so. Apparently, as a part of her punishment, an entire facility was created where people can come and film the scene of this woman fighting for her life. At the end of the night, the person in charge takes the woman back to her room and forces her to watch the video where she murders the child as they erase her memory of the day so they can start again the next day.

It is an extremely disturbing episode. They make you sympathize with the main character- a child murderer. That feeling itself is extremely uncomfortable. To me, there is an ethical line you cannot cross, no matter how awful a person someone is and no matter how much you think they might deserve it. Torturing a person for entertainment day after day is always unacceptable, no matter their crime.

Relatedly, this made me think of the justice system and capital punishment. For a long time, I didn’t know how I felt about capital punishment. In general, think I often come across as somewhat of a cynic and a Utilitarian- finding the best outcome for the least amount. But at heart, I really am a Kantian. I believe that the value of a human life is infinite. You cannot put a price on it. If someone has murdered another person, this is an absolutely despicable crime. But ending that person’s life in return is also unacceptable.

I, therefore, don’t believe in capital punishment. Besides the fact that our justice system is extremely biased, racist, and broken in a lot of ways, I still don’t believe the appropriate action is to end another life.

Truly, I believe the best in people. I believe in their potential. I see their best possible outcomes and strive to encourage and inspire them to work towards those outcomes. Even the “worst” people, even prisoners have value.

I believe in rehabilitation rather than revenge. We can’t save everyone, but we can do a lot better for a lot more people if we didn’t throw them into a cell. I was recently introduced to Norway’s prison system and think we could serve people so much better if we aimed to rehabilitate them.

If all of us cared a little more about others and a little less about ourselves, we could truly change the world.

My Person, Our Engagement

This past Friday, January 25, 2019, is a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. My best friend, the love of my life, asked me to marry him.

Let me back up a bit. After work this past Friday, I drove down to a place called Ravenwood Castle where I was meeting my then-boyfriend for a Harry Potter-themed Murder Mystery weekend. I was pretty excited for this- I re-read all the Harry Potter books in 2 weeks, we got nice Ravenclaw robes for Christmas and I bought us wands, and I even created a detailed fake puzzle to throw the other teams off.

It started off a little rough- most people had already formed their teams and the one we wanted to join (with other people wearing robes) was full. We got stuck with a trio of women who didn’t seem all that bright (spoiler: they weren’t) and one nice couple (who it turned out also got engaged there and were planning their wedding there in a few months). It picked up some when I started getting singled out with some special clues that said “Books turn Muggles into Wizards.” I was pretty excited that I got to be a special part of the mystery. Pretty soon Mr. Denham, the guy running the mystery weekend, showed me an ad in the newspaper (a clue!) and informed me I needed to call that number.

I tried a few times, but no answer. I left a message and then joined everyone else for dinner. In the middle of dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Denham encouraged me to call again. Apparently, the person on the other end (a part of the mystery, of course) had pneumonia and was asleep, but he woke up to get in on the mystery. I felt a strong sense of urgency, so I left the middle of my dinner to call again.

Swvenson Global Services was not terribly informative. To be fair, the actor was probably a bit confused; he was expecting the engagement call, but I gave him my fake character name and remained in character to say that the clues were “disturbing.” He asked me questions and made remarkably astute assertions like “You’re in a long-distance relationship” and “the place you live starts with C,” “the place your boyfriend lives starts with C.” I was so convinced this was a part of the murder mystery though, that I thought nothing of it.

Eventually, after about 20 minutes of relatively unhelpful observations and suggestions, talking to Swvenson Global Services led me downstairs to the library. I now knew I was looking for a book, but which one? There were thousands here. Then it hit me- Harry Potter! Of course! It was a Harry Potter Murder mystery! I asked my boyfriend to help me look for the Harry Potter books and was a little annoyed when he announced “they’re not here” after not looking very hard. How could he possibly know that?

Swvenson Global Services kept saying things like “is there a book that you read to each other before bed?” which struck me as an odd question, but this was coming from a man who had done about 5 different voices in 30 minutes while asking me to hold my arms up in the air and do the hokey pokey.

I was distracted by the mystery, so I missed Michael’s hushed conversation with a woman who was in the library with her phone out. “Are you the one who’s supposed to be taping this?” He asked her. She wasn’t, so we made her extremely nervous and she spent a good day and a half thinking we were the murderers. We later tried to explain that we had got engaged, but she was so suspicious of us that she pretended she was someone else.

Finally I picked up a book on the shelf that I’d noticed previously. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. It was one of my favorites and, as Michael pointed out, was newer-looking than the other books. I didn’t think it could be the right answer though- what did this book have to do with Harry Potter? I gave it a cursory flip through and, seeing nothing, put it back on the shelf. It would have to be more obvious than that for people to find it.

Annoyed and hungry, I gave up looking and went back to my dinner. We were even missing the welcome and announcements! (The proposal was supposed to happen after dinner, but I guess they forgot.) I’m sure Michael was sweating at this point.

After dinner, I became very concerned with the fact that they forgot to post our baby photos. So many things were not starting out right. I confronted them and followed them to their rooms while Michael went off to search for something. I helped them use the internet (Mr. Denham didn’t know how to search his email…) and get the baby pictures.

Michael comes back with a newspaper. “Look at this article! You had the right book after all!” There was an ad in this article all about Shallan, Kaladin, and Jasnah- my three favorite characters in the book. Clearly, that was a clue meant to lead to Words of Radiance.

I wanted to get back to the book before someone else found my clue first! I raced back down to the library, Michael following a little more slowly as he grabbed someone to film the moment he knew was coming.

I grabbed the book and started leafing through more carefully. Sure enough, there was something in there. A gorgeous engagement ring and a photo of the two dragons in How to Train Your Dragon saying “Will You Marry Me.”

I look up and he’s down on one knee and I’m just in shock. I always wondered how I’d react when someone proposed to me. We have the moment on video- my mouth is dropped open and I’m looking back and forth from the book back to him, breathing heavily.

Maker:S,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Of course I say yes and the shock turns to elation as I excitedly relive the moment, talk with him about how I couldn’t believe I missed the book the first time, and tell everyone I can see that I just got engaged!

And then a carrot falls out of his ear.

Earlier at dinner, he received a note in his silverware- he had a magical disease and needed to see the healer. The healer gave him a carrot to keep in his ear for 15 minutes as the cure. Michael is a good sport and plays along, eventually forgetting about the carrot.

“Do you know what this means? You proposed to me with a carrot in your ear!” I inform him, delightedly.

I’m only a little disappointed that the carrot doesn’t show up in the photos!

Almost every girl dreams of the day that someone will propose to her. I wanted something creative, something special. I couldn’t tell you exactly what, but I loved watching those crazy engagement videos online and dreamed of them one day being me.

So many little things went wrong, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my proposal. My fiancee conspired with the man in charge of the murder mystery, and used a series of clues to lead me to a library, complete with my favorite book, a photo of dragons, and a ring with a purple stone. I couldn’t have planned it better myself! He knows me, he knows what I like and what I would find meaningful and exciting.

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Before Michael, I never knew what it meant to have your partner be your best friend. Mine never were. Michael is so clearly my best friend, I don’t know how I ever thought anyone else was worthwhile. We have the same interests and values. I want to spend every moment with him. When we’re not together, I’m thinking about him. Best of all, he loves me in the same way I love him- as much or more than I love myself.

Before Michael, I used to try and guess- “I’ll be with this person forever,” I’d say, because I wanted to but not because I knew that it was true. Maybe I even said it because I knew it wasn’t. I didn’t know how it felt to be so sure about someone. But it was so obvious when we got together. There was no one else. Neither of us is perfect, but we are perfect for each other. There has never been any question in my mind that this day would come. I can’t wait for the day that I can officially pledge my love.

Don’t settle for second best. Wait for your special person. It sounds so cheesy, but you really will know when you find them.

Maker:S,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

 

Gratitude and Happiness

I just returned home from a 4.5 hour wine date with a friend, that we both expected to be closer to 2 hours. It was so refreshing and wonderful to chat with her for so long. It left me feeling an undercurrent of happiness and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the people in my life right now.

First, this friend is someone who I connected incredibly with, despite having very different hobbies. She enjoys things like bird-watching, yoga, and national parks, while I’m into boxing, axe-throwing, and nerdy things like fantasy books, D&D, and Magic. She’s also about 20 years older than me. But we both like wine and we both have excellent conversations! A few months ago, she said something about seeing us as being sisters in a past life, and it made me so happy.

We chatted about all kinds of things- work, relationships, family. It also made me so grateful for my incredible boyfriend. For me, at this point, I feel like I’ve found my person. I’m not thinking things like is he the right one or will this be my last relationship, but when we move in together (just a few more months!), when we get married, when we have kids. People always say that when you meet the right person, you’ll know. I used to always say I knew with my past relationships, but I just wanted them to be the right one. It’s different, when you do meet the right person, and you do know it. I never knew what it meant to feel that your significant other was your best friend until him. I never knew what it meant to “just know” until him. I never really felt like my significant other was part of my family until him. Everything just fits. Even when there are struggles, I never think about whether we should break up or if I’m really happy. I know I am and I know it’s just a part of any relationship. Instead, I just think of how to deal with them so we can be better, happier, and stronger.

I also felt so grateful for my family. I went this morning with my dad to TribeFest- a celebration for the Cleveland Indians. Throughout my childhood, I have memories of going with my dad and my brother to baseball games, even watching the World Series in the 90s. Today, my dad and I have been going to games for the past few years again and going to events like this one where we get to meet players, get autographs, and get an excellent caricature of us in our Indians gear. I am truly lucky, not only for my dad, but also for my mom and brother. To have parents who are so selfless and a brother who is more than a best friend. There are so many people out there who aren’t close to their family. I couldn’t live without mine. I would be successful or really much of anything without them.

And finally, my dog Zephyr. I recently had a bit of a scare when I found a giant lump on his back leg. He had it removed recently, but I didn’t find out it wasn’t a tumor until today. He just turned 9, so I know that we’re running out of time together, but I’ve been so lucky to have him in my life. He got me through graduate school, and through a lot of important milestones in my life. For practically his entire life, it’s been just the two of us living together, and I’ll never really experience that with a pet again. We both adore each other and I love every minute of it.

Thank you to all of these people (and dog!) who have been such an incredible part of my life. I look forward to many more happy experiences! Take the time to be grateful for your people(and animals), to tell them that you love them and how much they mean to you.

New Year and Old Friends

Almost every New Years Eve in the past 15 or so years, I’ve spent with my high school friends. I was a little disappointed at first to miss that party this year, but I’m happy to have spent the time in Chicago with my boyfriend and his friends.

Sometimes in my life, I’ve had these strong feelings of this is what my life would’ve been like had things turned out differently. Spending time with Michael’s friends was like that for me, because I knew them in college too.

The reason Michael (my boyfriend) and I met was that we were both part of a gaming club in college. I participated in it for two years, but got caught up in some nasty drama primarily between these two other members of the club that I was close with (for some reason). I don’t want to go into detail, but it was the darkest time in my life and I left the gaming group because of it.

My friend group in college ended up on the fringes of this gaming group. People like Michael and a few of our other close friends in college were still in the group and others had been or had friends in it. But for the most part, I didn’t ever see a vast majority of these people again.

Until last July when I went with Michael to a 4th of July party hosted by some of the people (not the nasty ones) from this group. And November when I attended one of the games that Michael is still a part of. And New Years Eve.

I cannot tell you how terrified I was to interact with them again after all of those years. I never really knew what they thought of me because of being caught up in all of that. I was afraid they would hate me or think poorly of me in some way.

I definitely wasn’t expecting the friendly, warm, welcome I have experienced every time I’ve hung out with them since. That’s what the gaming group was supposed to be like (if it weren’t for those two people who ruined it for me). That’s what it was like for Michael over all of these years.

I couldn’t help thinking that it could have been like that for me. It was disappointing to realize that I had missed out on all of that in college and even since then.

But I am grateful to have reconnected, for the time we do get together, and for friendly, welcoming gamers like them.

To old friends in the New Year!

Keep Going

This week I lost 3.2 pounds in 4 days on Weight Watchers! It brings me to a total of 17.2 pounds since I started in September!

At first when I was looking at my overall number I felt a little disappointed- surely this famous weight loss program could help me lose weight faster than any other, right? But it’s not about the number and it’s not about the speed. What WW has done for me, that so far no other diet/health/nutrition plan has is to be a lifestyle change.

There have been at least 3 times so far that I felt I really screwed up on WW. I had spent a week or longer not really caring what I ate, not really tracking my food, gaining weight. Sometimes I would stagnate for awhile and think why am I even doing this?

But the most important thing I did at those moments, the reason that WW has helped me be so successful, is that I kept going. I didn’t give up. I didn’t allow myself the easy path of saying I failed and quitting.

I once read this quote that has stuck with me for decades, “Perseverance isn’t one long race; it is many short races one after another.” (Walter Elliot). To me, this quote embodies the mindset of hard work and how I’ve had to approach the most difficult areas of change in my life.

It’s not just hard to decide to make a life change, or start a diet plan like WW. It’s hard every day. It’s hard when you wake up in the morning and decide what to eat for breakfast. It’s hard when you go to your work holiday luncheon and face the famous desert lineup. It’s hard when you face the scale after a difficult day or week. Every decision you make takes effort.

Sometimes you will fail. No one is perfect. No one can make the ideal decision every time. But the most important thing is to keep going. No matter how badly you think you’ve fucked up. You can always continue making progress. Making mistakes happens; they’re unavoidable. Quitting is a choice. You can always choose to keep going. Quitting isn’t something that happens to you, but it’s when you decide to take the easy way out.

You might occasionally need to take a break from your goals and that’s okay- I did this in November. For my mental health, I just couldn’t keep up the writing habit I wanted to last month. I was exhausted from traveling, overwhelmed from work, and facing my laptop everyday to write just made me anxious. But I haven’t given up on it for good. On my holiday list, I put money toward an online writing class. And I got it for Hannukah! I was pleasantly surprised when I opened that gift and once again, I started daydreaming about being a writer.

Failure is unavoidable, but quitting is not. Keep going- you can do it!

All the Goals!

Part of the reason I haven’t updated in awhile is that I’ve really been struggling with Weight Watchers. The first three or four weeks were awesome- I lost 10 pounds and was so proud of myself! The next three or four weeks were the opposite- I didn’t lose more than a half a pound and occasionally gained .5-1 pounds. I plateau’d. I wasn’t making much progress and I felt ready to quit.

I talked to my boyfriend about it, who was trying to be understanding, but said something along the lines of I’ll support you if you want to quit. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I was looking for someone to give me the motivation to keep going. To tell me the magic secret to how to lose weight but still eat whatever I wanted. Spoiler alert: there isn’t one.

However, he did join WW with me. I was surprised, but really happy that he joined me in making his own progress and in supporting my goals. I felt so loved and appreciated. I also thought, Shit, now I can’t quit.

I re-committed this week and used a self-control technique inspired by a TED Talk I saw by Dan Ariely. Though losing weight and being healthy should be a goal that is naturally rewarding, it just isn’t. Future me isn’t that powerful. So, I used my psychology knowledge of positive reinforcement. I told myself that the only way I get to play Magic the Gathering Arena each day is if I keep to my daily points in WW (blue dots for those who are familiar with it). I’ve been way too into playing Arena lately, so I figured this would either get me to play it less or get me to eat better. So far it’s been the latter, and I’ve been really pleased with the results! (I’m sure the social support probably played a role here as well, but the extra reinforcement definitely helps!) We’ll see how it goes and whether it pays off, but I’m at least feeling a lot more positively!

My writing goals have been basically nonexistent as of late. I skipped the once a month writing meeting that my colleague does, for no good reason. And I’ve done almost nothing otherwise. I did write a character backstory a few weeks ago that I felt really good about, but no writing for the sake of writing.

I’ve been feeling especially anxious about writing lately because it’s almost November. Every November (except one) since 2012, I have attempted NaNoWriMo (and was successful all but one time). This year though, I just don’t think it is right for me. I am nowhere near ready to attempt to write any novel based on the ideas I’ve been kicking around. I thought about just winging it from nothing, but that seems like a waste of time.

All of the novels I’ve written during NaNoWriMo have been bad. They could definitely be turned into something worthwhile, but as is they’re pretty horrific. It’s just not feasible for me to write a good novel in 30 days. I could probably do it if I devoted 4-5 hours each day to writing, but with my current schedule that is impossible and overwhelming to even think about.

But I don’t want to just give up on writing, especially in November, because I’m not prepared to write a novel. I still want to be a writer and what I’ve loved about NaNoWriMo in the past is how it encourages me to set a writing habit and makes me feel good about writing (I feel like I “get” to write instead of that I “have” to write).

My biggest problem as a writer is that I don’t practice enough. I just need to log those hours writing. So during the month of November, I’m making it my goal to write for at least 1 hour every day. I’m going to try to keep that as actually 1 hour a day rather than a few hours on one day and skip the next several, because I want to make writing a habit.

It may not be as intensive or sound as impressive as NaNoWriMo, but I think it’s the right goal for me. Please still send your support! And good luck with your own goals 🙂

 

 

Weight Watchers

I just joined Weight Watchers at work and what I did not expect to feel was a huge sense of relief.

When the semester started 5 weeks ago, work sent out an email about Weight Watchers, but I couldn’t make the meeting time. Two or three weeks later, I remember thinking to myself that I needed to re-commit to eating healthy and it was a shame that I couldn’t make Weight Watchers. Literally that same day, they sent an email saying they were changing the meeting time. I remember feeling terrified because I knew that meant I had to commit. There’s nothing I hate more than making myself a hypocrite, especially when it comes to dodging my goals.

I knew I had about two weeks of eating whatever and I somehow tried to fit in literally every unhealthy food that I enjoyed eating into the time before Weight Watchers started. The first week of this was exciting. By the second week, I wasn’t even enjoying the food and just felt bad. I was looking forward to Weight Watchers.

I’m still a little bit scared because this is going to mean some pretty extreme lifestyle changes. I have 23 points per day and what I usually eat for breakfast (a yogurt and Bellvita) that I thought was pretty healthy, is 11 points. That’s almost half of my daily calories and isn’t even that filling.

I expect that this will change the way I think about food and how I cook and eat. If I can stick to this, I think I will lose a lot of weight. More importantly, I will make healthier decisions and formulate healthy habits that should last a long time. I’ll also stop feeling guilty about my eating. It’ll free up a lot of mental space and help me feel better about myself and my body.

I think my biggest obstacle will be holding strong, even when other people aren’t keeping to the same healthy choices. So many of my friends and family love deserts and we love to share them. My parents bring or make me desert, my best friend takes me to all the different ice cream places when I visit her, and the first thing my boyfriend asked me today when I told him about SmartPoints was how much fries from Five Guys were (30 in case you’re wondering. Remember, your daily limit is 23).

I’m proud of joining and committing to this lifestyle change, but I’m definitely scared of how different and how hard it’s going to be. Please be understanding and supportive, especially as I start this journey. And I hope that you’re inspired to start your own- weight and health or otherwise!

 

Axes and Acceptance

Sometimes I think at heart, there’s still a big part of me that’s a lonely little girl terrified of rejection. But in this case, this is a happy reflection. Because partly, it means that I’m absolutely overjoyed at new friends.

I haven’t posted much (at all?) about the axe-throwing league I joined this summer, but it’s been AWESOME! First of all, it feels amazing to throw axes. There’s nothing more satisfying than the thunk of metal lodging itself into the wooden target. The atmosphere at axe-throwing is also amazing. This is a combination of a few things- amazing music in a warehouse that smells like woodchips (for some reason I strongly associate this with summer), lots of beer, and incredible people. Even though I started off REALLY sucking (and now I only kind of suck), everyone is super supportive. Some of the best people in the league cheer me on and share in my joy as well as my frustration when the axes clatter off the target to the floor. The best moment was definitely when I hit the special 10 spot that you can only get on the last throw. Literally the entire league burst into applause and congratulations.

There’s a lot of down time in the league as well, but I find this to be a perk. When you’re not throwing, you end up sitting around while drinking beer and chatting with the other axe-throwers. Everyone is friendly, supportive, and fun. We all have different hobbies and jobs during the day (from someone who works at NASA to teachers to hot tub sellers and more), but we all bond over axes and beer.

Now that I’ve finished the first league and am getting pumped to start the second in a few weeks, I feel like I really belong. One of the axe-throwers invited me to participate in a D&D campaign, which is amazing because I definitely can always use more gaming in my life. I also got invited to the special Facebook messenger group (for participation in 1+ leagues) and they invited me to come throw axes with them in Columbus this Saturday. I was disappointed that I’ll be at a baseball game and fan appreciation event, but really pleased to be invited.

Just these simple conversations put a big smile on my face today. I joined the league because I was interested in throwing axes- still am and it’s awesome! But I also found friendship, and that’s been a lovely surprise.

Sucker for Sales

I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for sales. Any time I hear about a sale, especially a Big Sale with extremely low prices, I gravitate to it like a hungry person to a buffet. I can’t help being attracted to the great deals, even on items I would never have thought about buying before that sale.

So when I was at the mall, and saw the sale on used TV shows (buy one get for $1!) at FYE, I just HAD to stop and investigate. Pretty soon I found 12 (yes, actually 12) seasons that I needed to own. I called my parents (they love buying TV shows on DVD) and asked if there was anything they wanted. They didn’t have the shows my dad wanted though and I couldn’t get ahold of my mom. But I knew she would be extremely excited to find out. I assumed I’d be coming back to get her some more.

I walked out of the store feeling great about spending $100 on 12 seasons of TV shows I had already seen.

When I did finally get ahold of my mom, she was shocked, “That’s so much money for you!” and I tried to convince her that it was such a good deal! Besides, she was the one who I had inherited my love of sales from.She had certainly spent more on much worse purchases. I felt affronted that she would be the one to attack my great finds.

Her comment made me think about it some more. I talked to my boyfriend as well, who responded with these gems: “I don’t know if I own any DVDs since someone gave me the box set of Monty Python’s Flying Circus for my Bar Mitzvah” and “If you like having them on display by the TV then it could still be worth it.”

I didn’t think I wanted a $100 display of DVDs. I really could spend that $100 much better, even if it was just on a piece of artwork or one of my clay dragon obsessions.

I realized that despite owning quite a few TV shows on DVD, I hadn’t really watched them since before the days of Netflix. In fact, some of the shows I had purchased from FYE, I even had digital copies of on my external hard drive.

So why did I buy these?

It all came down to the sale. It sounded so good. I couldn’t pass up the deal. I thought I had better buy these now before someone else comes along and figures out what a great sale this is and gets all the stuff I want.

After some reflection, I decided I could really spend this $100 better. Lucky for me, I was still able to return the DVDs, which I did, thinking about how all I had really done was waste about an hour of my time.

It reminded me of my commitment about two years ago to buy less clothes and books. I know some have criticized minimalism as a fad, but I really get it. Honestly, sometimes owning so much stuff is overwhelming. I have to figure out where to put it and constantly re-organize my closets to fit everything. I don’t want to be the kind of person who buys all this stuff she doesn’t need. I especially don’t want to be a hoarder. But it’s so hard to give things up when you’ve already spent the money and can’t take it back.

I’d like to make a new goal to this effect, but I think I still need to process what would work best for me in terms of buying and in terms of getting rid of stuff. Either way, I’d like to definitely be committed to thinking carefully about my purchases and especially to be wary of sales!

Writing, Motivation, and Fear

Here I am, making a public commitment to writing again! I just caught up with a high school friend I hadn’t seen in months. One of the things we did together in the past is served as editing buddies for each other for our NaNoWriMo novels. It was actually extremely effective and motivating to get stuff written and get excited about our stories.

We just decided to be writing buddies again! I’m excited to get back into writing, but also apprehensive. I feel a bit like I have a fear of commitment in writing- not wanting to commit to a project in case it isn’t good or isn’t the “right” one. My friend has been working on editing the same novel I helped her edit two years ago. I wrote another one in the meantime, and now want to start fresh writing a third. To be fair, my novel idea is one I tried to novelize before (and failed miserably), have been thinking about for awhile, and just finished a Pathfinder campaign in this setting.

But still. It makes me think Is this the right project? Am I choosing the right thing to spend my time on? I’m going to outline this one before I just jump into the writing. I started some outlining work and have a LOT of questions still about the way this story is going to go. I know a lot of the characters, but there are already a lot and I will probably need more. I also don’t exactly know who the main characters will be and from those who the POV characters will be. As I’m thinking about the overarching plot for the story- there are three major plots and it’s kind of a complex story. It makes me wonder if it is too much for a single novel or if it should really be a trilogy or some other number of serial books.

That question terrified me enough to stop my outlining and write this blog post instead of finishing my outlining first like I had planned.

That question also makes me angry. I’m angry at myself for doubting myself. I’m frustrated that every time I start making progress on something I love, I doubt myself. I stop. I don’t trust myself. It’s hard to understand why. It’s even harder to combat it.

So I’m making a pledge here and now to work on this novel, this project. If it’s the “wrong” one, I won’t have wasted time. I will have learned a lot of things about outlining and about writing. I will enjoy working on this project, even if I don’t edit it and even if I never publish it. Even if it’s three books. Even if it should have been three books but I wrote it in one. I’m giving myself advance permission to fail. It’s okay if this book is terrible. It’s okay if nothing ever comes of it. It’s okay to write because I like writing. It’s okay for this book to not even be good enough to submit to be published.

I’m giving myself permission to write for myself. To not be perfect. To not succeed. To put in a lot of effort, even if it comes to nothing- or less than I expected.

Hopefully these permissions will be enough to finish this project- however long it takes. That’s what success will look like for me.