Overcoming Writer's Regret

Regret weighs tons

On March 7, 2010, I cautiously began my journey into social media and back into writing when I tweeted:

“After sixty years on this planet I find myself starting over, trying to understand the past, prepare for the future and live in the present.”

Later that day I tweeted:

“For my first sixty years my destiny was placed in unseen hands until I finally opened my eyes and recognized those hands as my own.”

A year of therapy, after a bungled suicide attempt, had begun to give value to the life I had wanted to end. I learned I did not want to die; I just wanted to escape the torment my life had become. Now, five years later and after much struggle trying to repair this wounded mind, I’m ready to let go of that torment, that guilt, that anger pent up inside a mind that had become too weak to think clearly about a concept as complicated as “my future.” I am not courageous; I am merely stronger. 

Those previously “unseen hands” are restless now.

As the fog of mental disease lifts and I am able to account for my life, what it holds and what it lacks, I see more clearly and feel more distinctly that gnawing notion of things desired but not yet accomplished. There is one life-long weight on my soul that has little to do with the mental and physical trauma I suffered in Vietnam. That weight has pained me. It has dragged me down. It has drained my energy. It has, at times, crushed my spirit. I lived my life never stopping to think whether that crushing weight was avoidable.
Jim Rohn said, “There are two types of pain you will go through in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

And there is my answer: define the reason for my regret and discipline myself to defeat that reason. Move beyond thinking about what I want and change who I am. My old standard was to want, to wish, to fantasize about, to piddle with the notion of being a writer. 

Therefore, I change my standard. 

My new standard is to write … not to think about writing, not to fret over low productivity, not to give up every time life takes a poke at me, but to write … to treat my favorite fantasy with the same seriousness and discipline a man would treat a career he loves. New daily rituals will redefine me and fill that void which once held only regret. 

Take this journey with me. In this essay of three parts I will explore what I never dared give serious thought -- Don L Turner as a writer. I will develop and lay out plans and processes for my future reference. Although my intent is purely selfish, any writer frustrated by his product might find useful what I learn and reveal here. More articles will come as my knowledge grows. Those articles will document the application of my most useful new tools and skills; they will describe my successes and my setbacks. 

So that you will know from where I’ve come and so that I can identify my needed changes, I will first discuss my writing history.

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