Why not write a novel?

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November is notoriously known as National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short. It’s a month where you write approximately1,666 words a day with a goal of 50,000 by the end of the month.

In 2012, I attempted to write a fiction novel, but I did not like the story and I also was too busy with my senior year of high school and college applications.

In 2015, I sat down to write a non-fiction story about my life with anxiety. I wrote 11,000 words and then I was just too consumed with my senior year to continue to write.

I promised myself that when I was out of college that I would continue the story that already had 11,000 words and keep going. I’ve always wanted to be an author and I have wanted to do a lot of writing to work towards eventually publishing a book.

Even though I was out of school in 2016, I was going through a lot of anxiety as I waited to find out when my surgery for wisdom teeth would be happening. I was experiencing so much anxiety, that writing about anxiety just did not feel right at the time.

Fast forward to this November — I’m settled in my life in Cape May, working the motel front desk and writing for the local newspaper weekly. I have no excuse to not be writing, so I decided that this year is going to be the year I write a 50,000-word novel.

NaNoWriMo’s slogan is “the world needs your novel,” and that is truly an inspriation to me to sit down and write this damn book.

Writing about my anxiety is not always easy, but if I could write a book that helps one person with their anxiety – then I feel my book will serve the right purpose. I have so many thoughts about anxiety, that writing it all down feels really good.

I thought I would share an unedited excerpt, for those who are interested in reading some of my thoughts:

      Once I started learning I had friends and family who struggle with anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder among others, I realized that we all cope in different ways.

            The treatment and medication that I have used to treat my anxiety work for me, but not necessarily for others. Finding what works for you is half of the battle and it does take some trial and error to find the right match.

            I am a strong proponent of therapy and medication, which is something I had to learn for myself. I was extremely resistant to both at first; but again, it’s the culmination of finding the right person to speak with and the right medication to take. Having a great therapist and being on the right medication is what allowed me to see that asking and receiving help did not have to be a scary thing.

            I have read a handful of books about anxiety, but none have clicked completely. I wish that there were more books about mental health, particularly with anxiety out there. With this book (and if you’re holding a copy or eBook in your hands, mama I made it!), my goal is to provide context for not only people in my life who have both understood or misunderstood me – but also to enlighten those with anxiety.

If you read this book and can take away that you are not alone and that anxiety comes in all shapes and forms – and realize that you should be patient with yourself, even when you are the most frustrated.

To those who have no experience with mental illnesses, but might be reading this book to understand someone who does have one, I hope that you might find yourself with insight into illnesses that might not be visible, but are very much real in every way.

Lifestyle change

I hate exercise in all forms. I’m not a huge fan of being outside, especially if it is hot. So yeah, it’s a little ironic that I’m a beach person. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not an “I’ll sit on the beach no matter how hot it is, even 90 degrees” type; I know my heat limitations.

I always found that I became more active when I vacationed in Cape May. It’s such a walkable town and there isn’t really a need to drive a car most of the time. Especially in the summer when the parking situation is a hellish nightmare.

But ever since November when I bought my FitBit, I decided that I needed a total overhaul on my sedentary lifestyle. I wanted to be more active, eat healthier and not be going on WebMD to search symptoms that might be a heart attack (side note: apparently sitting in a desk with hunched over posture can cause upper back/neck pain – but that can also be a symptom of a heart attack. Shoutout to my mom for telling me to stop using WebMD and sit up straight).

Also another sidetrack, the point of this post wasn’t to go into the details that caused a lifestyle that is/was unhealthy but about the changes that I’m doing to make myself better. Anyways…

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Somedays and weeks I go over my goals.

The last few months that I’ve been living in Cape May, I’ve become much more active. It started out that I would go on daily 20-30 minute walks on the beach. They were not fast walks by any means, I usually took my time because I was also looking for beach glass. And sometimes I took walks through the neighborhood because I was not really up for putting on sneakers and getting sandy at the beach.

And then on my last trip home, I packed ultralight so I would be able to bring my bike back with me!  I’ve always wanted to ride my own bike in Cape May but was never here long enough to bring it, until now.

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I set my Fitbit to autorecognize 10 minutes or more of exercising.

So the last few nights, instead of my walks, I have been biking. Nothing long or intense, but just a quick 10-15 minute cruise around our neighborhood. I love that you get to see more of the areawhen you bike. The only downside is that it makes it harder to get my Fitbit step goal. But as my mom reminded me, the point is that I’m exercising.

 

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Locked my bike up and headed to sit on the beach.

 

And if you had told me a few months ago that on Wednesday this week that I was going to ride my bike to the beach (with my beach bag and backpack chair in tow), I probably would’ve laughed at you.

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