Last night, I was filled with inspirational writing ideas. Seriously filled. Ideas were tripping all over each other, vying for attention.

Pick me!!!
No, I’m so much better — choose me!
Hello?! I’m your girl. Shut the door on those other imposters.

It was late and I did not act on any of them. “I’ll get busy first thing in the morning,” I told myself, effectively placing a blanket on top of all the racket.

Upon waking, the ideas were still there, just waiting to be uncovered, but I made what turned out to be an unfortunate mistake.

Or, was it?

I read a couple of stories from my Medium feed.

The first was from a motivated achiever. Somebody who’d put most aspects of daily life on hold while finishing a book. Great, right? Except I read it as — to be a successful writer, you have to put everything else in life on hold. (BTW-I am certain this was not the author’s intent.)

Maybe I need to quit writing? I don’t have the driving/striving qualities it takes.

But then I remembered some advice from my friend Bruce. He once asked me if I could consider life in terms of yes/and instead of this/or. “Your life depends on it,” he said.

There is a lot of truth and wisdom in those two sentences. I’ve been chewing on them for months.

The second story I read made me feel like I was too plain, vanilla, and reserved to be a good writer. I lack the flair, oomph and creativity to engage a reader. I am as flat and dull as the blade on the elementary school’s overused paper cutter. (Again, I am certain this was not the author’s intent.)

I chewed on that, too. “Is it true?” I wondered. And then I thought of all of the readers who have recommended, commented and encouraged me over the last year. Surely they see a spark of some kind.

My thoughts, my dog and I hit the trail. As we walked I contemplated, “Should I write about this. Maybe other people get stuck in similar thoughts. What if I honestly open myself up and it encourages somebody else to do the same? Maybe my negative thoughts could be a positive for somebody else. Hmmm…”

Did you ever bring home a delicious looking steak only to discover it was tough and full of gristle? Although disappointing, it was dinner. You chewed and chewed, eventually swallowing what would feed and fuel your body?

This morning I chewed on my thoughts — generated by somebody else’s words. I tasted, masticated and transformed them into fuel to help move me forward.

Sometimes a tough steak is just what you need.