by Molly Jo Realy (@MollyJoRealy)

[Originally posted at MollyJoRealy.com on January 24, 2021]

“Always clean the house when you’re angry.”

That’s one of my mother’s mantras. Her proven theory is you’ll expend your negative energy with force, and when it’s done, you and the house will be better for it. She’s not wrong. Although, TBH, (“to be honest” for those who don’t speak internet shorthand, like, well, my mother) [MOMMYILOVEYOU!], she doesn’t say it now that her kids and granddaughter are grown and out of the house. Come to think of it, I’m not sure she actually gets angry anymore, either. Hey, do you think there’s a correlation? {Note to self: Research connection between Mom’s peace and kids leaving nest.}

I like cleaning. An unkempt living space is so far out of my comfort zone it is a world unto itself. So, I cleaned my apartment a lot this weekend. And while it usually doesn’t take a lot of work to keep it clean, I certainly put a lot of, shall we say, effort into the task. During and after a three-hour phone call in which a certain unnamed friend politely called me on the carpet and kicked my youknowwhat.

I had to clean up after a wild four-day party. Y’all were invited, didn’t you get the memo? And many of you showed up. And brought some uninvited guests with ya. Well, what the heck. The more the merrier, right? Except … This was really a party of one.

It was the best dang pity-party I’ve ever had.

Many writers showed up. Those with outstanding numbers. Huge successes which equate to huge followings which equate to huge ratings and reviews online. The things agents and publishers pay attention to. The things I don’t have. But these very rude writers didn’t share. They just sneered at me and flaunted their successes. At my party! How rude, amiright?!

And the readers were no help, either. They sat around talking about how great books are. They shared their favorites. And I gotta tell ya, I’m a little put off by the fact that I’m not Number One on everyone’s list. Sure, there are billions of books to choose from, and billions of readers. But, really. I mean, c’mon! Don’t you people know how hard I worked on NOLA, and am working on BLINDSPOT?

Don’t you care?!

Molly Jo's Journals: Ernest Hemingway Quote

Molly Jo’s Journals: Ernest Hemingway Quote

The entire party was a reverse-scene from Albert Finney’s Scrooge when he and the Ghost of Christmas Present drank and sang, “I Like Life.” Except instead of drinking from the milk of human kindness, my cup was filled and refilled with the dregs of self-inflicted despair. Because, for this moment, darkness was my comfort-zone.

So, the whole thing really started with a bad dream. Literally. Three nights in a row, I woke up after some serious, heart-wrenching, crazy events that were only in my head. But some of them stuck. And festered. So I shared my party plans online. [Feel free to click here to join NOLA Swarm on Facebook.]

I’ve been on the fringes of the writing industry long enough to know the self-talk, and the counter-talk. “Don’t compare yourself to others.” “Just keep writing for yourself.” “Everyone succeeds at their own pace.” “You have so much to offer.” “Numbers don’t matter. If you touch one person, it’s worth it.”  But these things do matter.

If you’re a writer, these things really do matter.

So I talked with my counselor mentor friend and after a good bout of emo-vomit (Hey, Mom: “emo” is short for emotional, so emo-vomit is just what it sounds like: spilling your guts!), I felt better. Cleaner. More stable. And, yes, a little lot foolish. She helped me see through the darkness, to step back on the path I was already laying down, and come up with a game plan to move forward. She challenged me to recognize what I saw as comfort was really just complacency. My inability to move forward was less that, and more an unwillingness to trudge through the muck.

She also helped me see that a lot of the jungle was my own doing. I’d grown negligent in my own actions. Sitting and waiting for someone else to chop down the vines and let the sunlight in, when no one knew I was caught in the vines to begin with. I found my own machete and started hacking. A little freedom here. A speck of sun there. Pretty soon I was dun-du-DUN-dunning the theme to Indiana Jones. The apartment door was open. The fresh air came in. The dishes were done and dinner was cooking.

And of course, like any good cleaning story, there was a mountain of laundry to conquer. *Raise your hand if you can relate!* Sort. Load. Wash. Dry. Fold. Put away. Repeat for the next pile. Who else likes to let their non-wrinkables sit over night? A quick spin this morning, and I grab the warm and fuzzy load. You know what I find? The pajama bottoms (okay, actually just sweatpants) that I had to buy back in 2015. That story is here: And They Say Getting There is Half the Fun ... I’m reminded of the fun, the adventures, the growth, and the relationships that have come out of me being uncomfortable and needing to find solutions when it seems the main path is blocked.

I’m reminded, in the cleaning, that I have a good foundation. That my path is my path. And it is quirky and weird and wild and mine alone.

And today, I’m okay with being a writer with growing numbers.

Because they are growing.

And I have some really comfy PJ bottoms to wear while I work my way out of my comfort zone and into the light.

Now it’s your turn. Drop a comment and share a time when you conquered you broke through your comfort zone to find something better.

Molly Jo's Journals: Breaking In Comfort

Molly Jo’s Journals: Breaking In Comfort

From Molly Jo's Journals: Breaking In Comfort. (And a favorite #Hemingway #quote!) #mollyjosjournals Click To Tweet

Come alive and stay wild,

Frankly, My Dear . . . : Bohemian Hurricane

 

Author of the romantic location mystery novel, NOLA, Molly Jo Realy is an award-winning writer and author coach. Known as the Bohemian Hurricane, she encourages people to embrace their unique talents to come alive and stay wild every day. Addicted to cats, coffee, and pens in no particular order.

 

Annnnnd … in case you missed my recent successes:
Check out the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and Divine Interventions on sale now. (My contribution, “Love Letter From Dad” starts on Page 68.)

NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT: The Author’s NOLA is the behind-the-scenes look at the inspirations and perspirations for NOLA.

And for the writer in you, or someone you know: Get the Book Builder Binder now to create, curate, and keep all your story-writing ideas! *HALF OFF with coupon code STARTWRITING2021*

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