I know it’s been a while since I posted here, but unfortunately LIFE does not always care about individual schedules and my own schedule was thrown into a whirl by several life-changing events since May of this year.
Some of you have met my sister in real life, while others have read her comments on my various social media accounts. This past March, she developed a wound on her left foot which became toxic to her system, and she had an emergency amputation which forced her to give up her home before moving into a long-term care facility an hour from me. Overnight I went from being the youngest sibling in our family living my own life, to being totally responsible (financially and medically) for my sister and all THAT entails. It has been stressful and challenging as we both try to adjust to her role as an amputee and my role as a semi-caretaker. We’re still figuring things out.
For the past 21 years I’ve had the pleasure of running our martial arts school. I’ve trained to achieve the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt and Senior Certified Taekwondo Instructor. I worked with hundreds of students (children and adults) and helped them achieve their own martial arts goals over the years. When the pandemic arrived in 2020 our school took a massive hit to our student base and three years later, we were finally forced to close our school’s doors forever. Making that announcement and saying goodbye to my students placed tremendous stress on an already stressed out mind/body.
Closing our school’s doors threw me into the unemployment arena. I could file for unemployment, but the bad news was I had so much difficulty actually applying, I never received help these past few months. This added to my stress load and forced me to be creative on how to live day to day on ZERO income. Early retirement benefits should kick in next month so there’s that.
So what’s a girl to do?
Count my blessings…
My sister is still here. She was literally days…if not hours…away from dying back in March so the loss of a leg is a small price to pay in my book to still be among the living. I visit her once a week and talk to her several times a day. I definitely count THAT as a blessing!
Being unemployed and having no income from a job forced me to reevaluate my life. I simplified things. I sought out help from groups equipped to help me and gave back in my own way whenever I could. My life is more streamlined now, and I spent some of this time to implement some much-needed self-care and THAT is never a bad thing!
Filing for early retirement and getting approved will allow me to not be forced to seek another job. I can focus on my writing more and expand Story Catcher Publishing like I’ve wanted to for so many years now. My next picture book, A BARNYARD CHRISTMAS, will come out around mid-November. I will also FINALLY be able to complete book four in my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series called “President Lincoln’s Balloons”. It was originally scheduled to be released in 2021 but the pandemic threw my life into a continuous tilt-a-whirl, so now maybe I can get off that crazy ride and release my next book in that series!
As writers, we sometimes allow other people, other obligations, other tilt-a-whirl circumstances to derail our commitment to our stories. Family comes first. Job responsibilities get in the way. Everyday wear and tear on our minds or bodies can wear our spirits down.
But that fire isn’t out…just diminished by time and “tilts” happening out of your control. So, make it work in your favor! Start your day with a mental list of blessings. Find a few minutes each day to focus on your writing…even if it’s just running a scene through your head to get clarification before you can actually get back to your story. Take a hard look at your schedule and simplify your life where you can, even if it’s taking just one thing off your plate.
Small steps to reclaim your writerly life and THAT helps you stand firm in the middle of your own tilt-a-whirl world!
Scare up a little fun this Halloween with this cute holiday read!
Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day, boy and monster both decide they no longer want to be afraid of what hides in the dark. Both have a plan but will be surprised by what they discover during A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.
Donna L Martin wanted to create her own stories after her older sister taught her to read at age four. By the time she was eleven, Donna entered her essay “Why I Love America” in her hometown library’s annual writing contest and won first place!
In 2013, Donna fulfilled a lifelong dream when her first story was published in Chicken For The Soul: Angels Among Us. Ten years later, she finds the time to write picture books, historical fiction chapter books, sport chapter books, young adult fantasy, and inspirational essays, as well as being the editor at Story Catcher Publishing.
Donna shares her stories with audiences all around the world through her writing blog and author website at https://storycatcherpublishing.com. She also loves participating in kids’ writing workshops and author book signings.
She is a member of the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators, Children’s Book Insider, and Alliance of Independent Authors. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach, and adding to her growing book collection.