Overcoming Monday Morning
I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, checking my email on my phone, waiting for the Novocain to take effect.
The night before I was to have two of my wisdom teeth removed I did an interview with Mady Joshi, co-founder of AllAuthor.com, an online platform that helps to connect readers searching for new books.
Around the time my bottom lip lost sensation, I opened a new email from Mady. He thanked me for the interview and would contact me when the full interview was be published on AllAuthor.com
The dentist enters the room and asks, “Numb yet?”
“I think so.”
“Good. I’ll be right back and we’ll get started.”
To my left stood a shiny tray full of torture devices with thick handles and curved edges. To my right, tacked on the wall, is an x-ray of my teeth. The left upper and lower wisdom teeth are circled in blue pen. My mouth is dry. Beads of sweat loiter my forehead. I slide my phone in my pocket.
I might die.
I take a deep breath and the doctor’s assistant enters.
She rests a rubber-gloved hand on my shoulder, “Nervous?
It’s faint, but somewhere down the hall a dental drill whizzes. I’m usually not nervous to go to the dentist but I’m about to have a new procedure. A procedure that requires medieval weaponry.
I might die.
“I’m okay. I just get a little worried on Mondays.”
“Just try to relax. You’re in good hands.”
“So you’ve done this before?”
She laughed, “More times than I can count.”
In the interview, Mady asked if I have a specific writing routine I follow?
I laughed and said, ” Every Monday, over morning coffee, I seriously doubt myself. I think I will never write again. I entertain thoughts like, “You’ll never be a great writer” and “Maybe you should just give up already.” If I’m in a boat, the Monday morning ocean surges, tosses me about, and convinces me that I will drown. Monday morning is about survival.
However, around lunch time, the waters calm. Slivers of ideas and scraps of dialogue begin to visit me. I write these trinkets down. As I spend the rest of Monday collecting, And in doing so, ideas begin to blossom and doubt subsides. The water calms and I go to bed hopeful. Convinced I will write again.”*
The dentist selects a weapon from the shiny tray, warns me, “A lot of pressure,” and dives his hands into my open mouth.
Do dentists, like writers, question their abilities? If so, is the questioning more intense on Monday mornings? Should I have made my appointment for later in the week? I think I might die.
As I drove home with the left side of my face numb and the tang of blood in my mouth I thought about how I dreaded this procedure for months and, for all my worrying, I survived. I didn’t die. I thought about how this was a lot like Monday mornings for me as a writer. How when I arrive home I’d have to face the blank page. How Monday after Monday I have to coach myself through my worry and doubt. How, despite my skepticism, I’m capable of writing to you. And writing something I can be proud of.
So if you’re reading this letter and you’re feeling doubtful or fearful or worrisome, you’re not alone. I want you to know I began writing this letter with an ice pack on my face, uncertainty in my heart, and echoing the nurse’s reassurance to myself: “I’ve done this before.”
If I can do it, so can you.
*The rest of this answer, along with the entire of the interview, will be published soon on AllAuthor.com.
But before you go, here’s another exchange from that interview:
“What are the challenges of being an award-winning author?” asked Mady.
“Not being able to go to the supermarket without being hounded for autographs.”
“No, that has never, ever happened. But I was recently stopped by a few kids who know my son and asked me the name of my book. I told them “The Great Gatsby.” They told me they had never heard of it and walked away.
However, the biggest challenge is getting over the awards, accolades, and egotism and simply beginning again. The blank page, like any new beginning, can be quite terrifying.”
December Book Promos:
Are looking for inspiration? Are you searching for a better version of yourself?
This month I joined literary forces for some best-selling authors to promote our books in, Become Inspired. Become You.
Memoirs, Biographies, Self-help books…oh my!
This month I joined literary forces with some best-selling authors to promote our books in the inspiring December Nonfiction Collection.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take…
A few months ago, with low expectations, I took a shot and entered “Bedtime Stories for the Living” in the highly regarded, highly competitive international book contest presented by Readers’ Favorite. Readers’ Favorite is an established force in the publishing industry. They have worked withPenguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors.
Anyway, just before I was about to take a midday nap, I was informed that this suburban dad had won…
First Prize, the Gold Medal, in the Non-Fiction/Parenting genre!
Quote of the Week:
If you would like to share something with others (a photo, a poem, a song, a quote, etc.) that tosses some positive vibes into the world, please send your suggestions to me at email@example.com. Thanks!
Are you a reader? Looking for your next good book to read or listen to? Check out my new page “Jay’s Book Shelf” for some book recommendations.
Here’s what I’m currently reading: The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
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Jay Armstrong is a speaker and an award-winning author. Despite being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, that impairs his movement, balance, eyesight, and speech–Jay presses on. The leader of the Philadelphia Ataxia Support Group, he hopes to help you find joy, peace, and meaning in life. For Jay, a good day consists of 5 things:
4. Hearing his three children laugh
5. Hugging his wife
(Bonus points for a dinner with his parents or a drink with his friends)
Jay hasn’t had a bad day in quite a long time.
You can also visit Jay at jayarmstrongwrites.com