Sharpen the pencil

The last 4 months, I've done almost nothing but write. My copywriting assignments have been fierce (don't get me wrong... they're most appreciated 'cuz without my clients, of course, I'd be penniless), with a schedule of 15 to 18 hour days. Not sure how I did it, but along the way, a couple of dear friends reminded me of this metaphor: once in a while your pencil lead wears out. You could keep making the motions, but the words would not come.

That's why you stop to sharpen the pencil.

In these jammed days since February, I finally got it: sometime around 6 or 7 pm, whenever the day's copywriting assignments had taken up all they needed to, I laced up my shoes and hit the road, knowing full well I'd have to come back later and write some more.

My biggest breakthrough was an evening in late April. I was already training for the half marathon, but my runs had been tight, tense, one more thing I "had to" get done. I was deep into high pressure deadlines with work. I was trying to be The Good Mom to our four teenage girls. My work stuff was strewn all over the dining room and bedroom while my husband continued to work on framing in, insulating, painting, putting in new windows and refinishing the wood floors of my new office space. The phone rang constantly. The emails poured in. The kids had all the usual teenage stuff, sometimes ramped up, and sometimes garden variety. My husband had to travel to South America and all over the US in the midst of it all.

That April night, though, I set off in cruise mode on a course longer than I'd ever attempted. For once, I quit worrying about time and who needed me at home. I threw my arms open and looked to the sky, and ran on in the full knowledge that it would all be OK.

Two hours later, I ran back down my driveway. I finished up at the horses' gate and realized that I wasn't panting or gasping or exhausted. I was exhilarated. I was alive. Of course, the horses looked at me like I was an alien and wondered what this had to do with their dinner. No, no, no, don't mind me, I said, I'll get your hay, no keep your seat, don't get up! And with the horses fed, I went inside and the kids wondered what this had to do with THEIR dinner, or their current crises, or their love lives or their laundry and so on and so on... but I could turn my palms up, silently say AS A MATTER OF FACT I DO ROCK, and then go on and do all the things I needed to do for them, better than ever with the work of writing, being Mom, being wife, being example.

Last weekend, I ran my first half marathon, and I loved it. I have photos at the finish line if any of you slacker StrongCopy readers doubt me.

And this week, I'm back at my post with a sharp pencil. As for the horses, they still think I am off wasting time that I could be spending on feeding them.