The Empty Docket

Every October or so I buy a new moleskin 18-month planner, usually in black – the flexible, bendable kind. It is my world’s equivalent to a new year’s resolution – except combined with the overly quoted “definition of insanity”. You know the one, the thing that guy says when he feels all wise and shit. “You know the definition of insanity- doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Well, my October insane resolution is buying a planner and expecting it to make a difference. If I just write things down, I think, it will be different. I will somehow transform into the person I want to be because I will have my to-do list right in front of me and I will make it happen.

Inevitably, like every new-year-new-me #goal, although I eagerly jot down and cross off item after item for a month – even two if I’m lucky, by the end of the year, my attempts become sporadic at best, and in the end, the planner becomes exactly what it is – an overly priced, leather bound collection of paper and I become exactly what I am – insane, at least by most people’s standards. 

I have never liked that definition of insanity – the one about doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same results. Because even though I don’t feel like doing a quick google search, I’m pretty sure if you google the definition of “perseverance” or “heart of a champion” or “practice”, you’ll find a description pretty dang close – but I guess hindsight is 20/20, right?

I can tell you right now that I know the definition of insanity, but that’s about it. I know it, because I am feeling it, and the feeling is absolutely indescribable. It goes something like this though – insanity is having done the same things over and over again, realized they didn’t work, and having no clue where to go from there. It is the realization that you literally don’t have one to-do list item, even a dentist appointment, to write in your under-used yet overpriced moleskin notebook, and even if you wanted to make up a list just to have the pleasure of checking off an item, you wouldn’t know where to begin.

Insanity is a feeling of helplessness like no other. Not the kind where my friends and family should be worried about me in a life or death kind of way, but the kind where I am worried for me in a having the life I wanted or living a life wasted kind of a way.

It’s pretty funny, really, I used to bill by the hour. A large number. Now, I seek to fill every hour. How can you work for 26 years towards a goal only to achieve it, take a wrong turn and suddenly you’re out of the game? But more on that later. All I can do right now is write.

A stranger at a bar a few months back (I know, doesn’t sound good) asked me if I could accomplish one thing in life that would really make me proud of myself, what it would be. I immediately said have a successful relationship and beautiful children and be a great mother. He nodded, he had a son, he said, and he understood. But he said that that wasn’t big enough. He asked what could do or create to make myself proud. Personally. I still think my original answer fit his question, but I acquiesced and admitted that I wanted to write a book. I always have.

He asked me what was stopping me. I said I wouldn’t know where to start. He said that isn’t an excuse. Start writing.

I think I wrote something on here that night, I don’t remember. Or maybe I wrote in a journal. But I know that I want to write. My docket is empty and my brain is full. But how do I do it? Is my story even worthy of telling? Beyond that, is it worthy of listening to?

Right now, I know one thing. My insanity is wanting a different result, but not even trying. I also know, that I’ve done a lot of trying and a lot of succeeding and a lot of failing. There has to be some meaning interwoven in my insanity.

Have any of you had experience with publishing? Advise on the business/how to break into it? If not, any words of wisdom or thoughts would be appreciated in comments.

Love always,


16 thoughts on “The Empty Docket”

  1. LOL your not insane, You write, we all wish we could be great writers and get published, then maybe we could be “somebody” well… you and I and all of us who feel this way need only to “KNOW” that we are somebody, and make peace with ourselves and write lie crazy just because the river of words flows in us. Then when we are drowning in the campaign bubbles for the joy of creating….. who know some blind publisher may stumble into our words and TADA !! Off we go to writers block and deadlines. All my love Hubert


  2. Good for u, i just bought an inspiring planner i started to do more and wanting to track to be sure im not double booking my plans and of course i get this “your phone…..?”just doesnt feel the same.


  3. To write, you must write. I left a 30 year career in medicine, three years ago due to injuries. I knew crazy, believe me. Here’s a suggestion and an invitation. Every Wednesday there is a photo posted and the challenge is to write a 100 word story, poem, essay, or letter. You will find writers of every ability here and a warm welcome for showing up. This is last week’s challenge but refresh it on any Wednesday to find a new challenge.
    I hope you’ll try but there’s no pressure.


  4. I started by keeping a journal many years ago – it began because of a bad breakup with a boyfriend, but I found that the process of writing, of putting thoughts onto a page, was so satisfying that it went far beyond relationship issues. I went to Europe after college because I didn’t know what I wanted to regarding a career choice. I wrote letters home, I continued the journal, and because I was travelling alone and not willing to venture to some places at night, I tried writing my first short story. Again, I had no idea what I was doing, but it didn’t matter. I enjoyed the process. I settled and worked in London for a few months & wound up sharing a flat with an aspiring singer/songwriter/actress who was so supportive of my desire to write that it kept me going. I went back into office work when I eventually returned home, but I wrote a little bit everyday. I stumbled. Self-doubt was there, but I signed up for a night class, then took another, and I met other writers who understood the struggle. All these years (9 published novels later & 50+ short stories/essays/articles), it’s still pretty much the same…writing, connecting with writers, learning, sharing, and getting a little better at it all the time. What I tell the new writers I work with, is to read voraciously, write at least a little everyday, take a class, attend a conference, and join a good writers group, if you can. I’m traditionally and self-published, but that’s a whole other story that starts with researching publishers & reading their guidelines, sending query letters and sample chapters, or whatever they ask for, and a whole lot of waiting.


  5. Hi told you I’d absorb it.

    Your post has so many entry points. I won’t even attempt to address them – the Internet, home of the facile answer.

    I heard a great quote, and it was used to refer to Glenn Gould and his hatred of doing something in ‘one take’, such as a Bach piece, but constantly doing it again and again and refining it: ‘Genius is the infinite capacity to take pains’

     In a way I found it heartening. Doing something over and over is like the side of social media one never sees. And it is what I do. I draw and write. It is like sculpting, each strike of the chisel brings me closer to perfection

    The film’ Adaptation’ resonated with me, as it touched on that – the making sense of life by delving deeper into a specific area deeper than anyone has gone before. But then, paradoxically, casting it all aside in favour of something else. That has been my experience.

    I am not making much sense here, but believe me, in my head, it does haha. (The Internet, also home of bitter hard-won laughter)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve seen that insanity on the faces of those we visit, and may even have caught a glimpse of it in the mirror. Especially since leaving a job like yours that required lots of billable hours. And now like you, I continue to strive to fill life’s hours with compassion and meaning. For those I visit with pet therapy as well as for myself. Thank you for swinging by the Ranch and for the follow. We 💖 visitors.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can totally identify with you. I do not have any information regarding publishers, or the publishing business. I like your writing though. It is clear and totally without guile. I hope you do get started and find the people, circumstances, and situations that help you. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have a half manuscript ready. I pick it up, write furiously for months, then get discouraged and I leave it someplace. A year later, same thing. So, now I blog regularly (a little less during summer vacation but still often enough) to keep me in the habit. Because this book needs to be written. It’s part of my identity. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The book? I just started typing one day. Didn’t care about spelling, grammar…just wrote. After a few days of complete focus I spent a week agonizing over it and finally invited some people (family, friends) to read it, give feedback. Then…nothing for a year. Wash, lather, repeat. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

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