A New Attitude

Beaches make me feel peaceful!

I’m about to confess a thing or two. A year ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes. At the same time, I was writing the first full-length book on my Heartwarming contract. The diabetes was really bad. Four days in the hospital and insulin four times a day. (Although, with good fitness habits, excellent nutrition advice, and guidance from my amazing daughter, who happens to be an NP and who saved my life because she heard something in my breathing–over the phone–and she forced me to go to the ER, I’m off insulin now.)

Tangent: I’m fretful about that run-on sentence, but it leads me to my second confession.

The book I was writing was filled with diabetic gibberish. Turns out when your body’s not using sugar properly, your brain truly suffers. So–after I finally managed to stay awake (huge fatigue with ketoacidosis) long enough to read, I realized a book that didn’t make sense wouldn’t be a good submission. It’s not fun to cut about 30k of gibberish and rewrite a book a few weeks before it’s due. And from there, I had two more books and a novella, and by the time I finished them all, I was frozen in fear.

Frozen fear does not feed the creative mind.

I want my mind to be creative again. This is going to seem like another tangent, but I went through a time when I was bullied as a kid. Not a big deal, just mean girls, feeling out the shy kid who had some stuff that bothered her. Only these mean girls followed me all the way to high school before I finally stopped dreading seeing them, and thought “What the ef?”

If you’ll pardon the language. And by the way, if there’s a gift we could all give our children, it would be having them reach that “What the ef?” moment in kindergarten!

So, back to that year of frozen fear: Will I die? Will I be able to see again? (Thankfully, that question was beautifully answered a couple of months after the DKA.) Will I be able to think again? Will I be able to foist the internal editor off my shoulder?

I finally reached “What the ef?” I wrote a holiday novella that was less joy of the season than how depressed can I make a reader? Had to delete 18 of 20k and rewrite that in a week. But I love that story now. It is hopeful, and it makes me cry a little. (Home by Christmas, A Heartwarming Christmas.) And it taught me a lesson. Loosen up. Writing should be joyful, not one disappointment after another. Writing is better if it’s not built out of blocks of frozen fear.

So–I’m running with that, and I’m trying to incorporate it in all my life. What’s the worst that can happen? Some mean girl will make fun of me?

What the ef?