I realize I don't look fearful or doubtful in this photo. Sorry!

First, I’d like to apologize for again not posting on the 21st of the month.  I had a good excuse last month, as I was in Bermuda.  But yesterday, November 21st, I was as home as one can be.  I just didn’t notice that it was the 21st of the month already.  I guess after five months, one really does lose track of time!

The other thing that happens after five months is that one becomes a bit afraid of what’s coming next.  Well, I became afraid, anyway.  And not the normal amount of afraid that I’ve always been–very, very afraid.  It feels like time is whizzing by and I’m making little to no progress.  I can honestly say that career break month five has been the most stressful so far.

I did make one decision about this past month–I wasn’t going to travel anywhere, but instead stay home and really put my nose to the grindstone book-wise.  And I did.  I also had big plans to finally start querying small publications with the hopes that I can begin to do some freelance travel articles.  I have lists of article ideas, I’ve done research on appropriate publications, I made an easily-viewed online resume and profile to attach to my cover letter–I’ve just not written up one single query to send out.  I’d like to say that this is because I didn’t have the time, but that would be a lie.  I haven’t sent anything out because I’m afraid and doubtful.  After all, what happens if I do send out a bunch of queries and no one bites?  What does that mean for my future career options?

See–fear and doubt.  Sucks, right?

I fully realize that fear and doubt are not productive emotions.  This is not only because they are negative emotions–anger, for example, is one of the most productive emotions, and anger is pretty damn negative.  Fear and doubt are unproductive by definition–they inhibit productivity.  They cause a person to freeze.  They stop progress.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m angry, I do something about it!

However, I don’t think that anger is my best emotional choice right now.  After all, it is the holiday season–fa la la la la and all that!  Thus, I’m going to have to choose another emotion, something better than fear and doubt that will carry me through this admittedly very uncertain time in my life.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Because I’m at a loss here!

Though please don’t think that I spent the last month in the fetal position, shaking, in the corner of a darkened room.  I did accomplish a few things.  Since my return from Bermuda, I’ve…

-finally become serious about finishing my book in a reasonable amount of time and managed to draft a good chunk of it.

-wrote a guest post about my Bermuda cruise for Solo Friendly, one of my favorite travel blogs.

-wrote another guest post for Solo Traveler Blog, details and link to come once the post goes live.

-renovated my home office, photos and post to come asap!

-planned a holiday weekend trip to Colonial Williamsburg with my husband–we leave Friday!

-planned a return trip to Walt Disney World with my mom and friend for late February, in order to do some final book research.

-planned and already began cooking for a medium-sized family Thanksgiving, to be enjoyed in my home the day after tomorrow.  As I type this, a ball of dough rises in my kitchen for the challah I’ll be using to make challah apple stuffing.  Mmmmm!

Honestly, some fear and doubt creep into my mind when I read over that list.  It really doesn’t look like much to justify a month’s worth of living–does it?  See–this is the problem with fear and doubt.  They are pretty hard to shake.

I almost managed to overcome fear and doubt when, inspired by the birthday of one of my favorite fictional characters, I thought about how failure is something that happens to everyone…even Mickey Mouse.  I need a way to hold on to that understanding, even when in the midst of my own failure.  Because I’m going to fail–over and over.  I know this.  I just hope that I’m strong enough to pick myself back up every time until eventually I find success.  Because that’s what successful people do.