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On Second Winds and Finish Lines

Sun Goes Down, The Race Goes On

I love this photo. I have no idea if that runner is getting his second wind, but looking at it helped me find mine. I would have liked to get that second wind last Friday, but I’m just glad I got it.

One thing about living long (and sometimes prospering) and finishing things, is understanding how finishing works. Of knowing that finishing is possible.

Now some things aren’t worth finishing. There were times this month when I wondered if I was pursuing the right goal at the right time. Was I diverting time and energy and words from my primary business?

The answer is yes. And yes. I did divert time from my business, but I also think it was worth, mainly because of the new people (and their blogs) that I’ve “met” through doing this blogging challenge.

And it was only a month. Thirty days. If it was a mistake, it wasn’t a life altering mistake. It’s a tiny speed bump. Through the years, I’ve seen a lot of people get close to finishing big things, important things, and faltering instead. They don’t cross the finish line, and even worse, IMHO, they never get to find out what finishing feels like.

I used to think I wasn’t a finisher. I was sure I was a falterer. I never finished college, for instance. I took some home study classes and didn’t finish a couple of those. These things weren’t life altering—except for the stuff going on inside my head. Stuff that made me want to not try to the things I really wanted to do.

Failure is only final if you don’t keep trying.

I blogged here about what keeps us from making our mark. After I learned to let myself just go ahead and puke on my tutu, to push through the fear, I learned a couple of other things about how to finish.

•    Pace yourself. Honestly, when I first signed up for this challenge, I felt this almost overpowering urge to write all 30 blog posts the first day. I wanted to get it over with. Get ‘er done.
•    Planning is key. I didn’t write all the posts, but I did do a blog map. I use a program called Scrivener to write my novels and blog posts, so I created a folder for the month and used it to note down ideas and plan how to tackle the challenge.
•    Rally your resources. I rallied the hubs and he helped me with photos and ideas. My family and friends have also been cheering me on. A good cheering section is awesome. If all you have is you in your cheering section, be loud. 🙂
•    Visualize the ending. I have to do this with my novels, because I’m an into-the-mist writer. This was really hard with my first novel, but now that I know I can write a whole novel, I try to pause periodically and “see” myself finishing.
•    Look up. Look around. So many times I’ve seen people stop so close to finishing! They couldn’t see the finish line because they weren’t looking. I’m not a runner, but I suspect that good runners know when to take the short view and when to look ahead and see their goal.
•    Believe the people who tell you it is possible. There are people who are at the finish line, waiting to cheer you across.
•    Don’t believe the people who tell you that you can’t. They need you to fail so they can feel better about themselves. Or they are afraid you’ll be hurt when you fail.

I know a lot of my friends participated in another writing challenge this month called NaNo. I’d like to cheer them across the finish line as I stagger across myself. And ask, did you finish something that mattered to you this month? Please share! Success if catching! And you’ll be entered into my my monthly drawing for an AnaBanana gift basket, worth $50 this month in honor of my NaBloPoMo blogging marathon. Winner will be announced in the first blog post of December.

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Perilously yours,

Perilous Pauline's signature

Pauline is peering past this post to the finish line she can see! She wishes she were closer to finishing her next project, but she is confident she can do it. Most of the time. Really. She wouldn’t make that up. Okay, she makes things up all the time. She’s written 13 novels and some short stories. Is working on #14. For information about her books, hop over to her website. You can also sign up to hear about #14 when it is finally finished.

“…the story is magical, romantic, and funny.” Over My Dead Body Reviews

Out of Time cover art

What happens when a twenty-first century woman on a mission to change the past meets a thoroughly 1940s man trying to stay alive in the hellish skies over war-torn Europe?

Buy Out of Time on Amazon in digital or print.

Amazon Prime Members can borrow for free. 🙂