Remember that old saying: the teacher shows up when the student is ready?
Well my teacher showed up via a recent post here at Middle Grade Minded.
Wonderfully written by Rob Polk, it encourages writers and readers to be easy on ourselves in pursuit of our goals and to prioritize our physical and mental health.
I haven't been able to get it out of my mind since I read it.
I don't know about you, but I'm a goal setter.
This summer's goals:
1) finish revising my work in progress
2) read twenty-five books
3) write every day
These goals are a sub-set of my overall 2019 goals, which include revising another novel, researching a novel, finally writing that picture book I've been thinking about, and reading 125 books.
But then something happened after I read Rob's post.
I realized I was rushing my life, instead of savouring it.
I'd forgotten that downtime is crucial to creativity.
I'd forgotten that downtime is crucial for wellbeing.
Meeting my self-imposed deadlines was robbing me of the joy of DOING and BEING.
I was seeing other writers publishing and doing more and feeling like I needed to match their pace if I was to succeed.
I'd become a hamster on a wheel. And just like the little guy below, was in imminent danger of falling off...
Something had to change.
Last Monday, I decided that my work in progress needed a more substantial rewrite. It will take how long it takes.
I decided that trying to meet an arbitrary number of books was not how I wanted to read.
I decided that tracking everything and writing to-do lists was NOT helping me any more.
I must meet my commitments, but I don't have to be a perpetual motion machine to get them done.
Mostly, I reminded myself that summer is fleeting.
I need to stare more at my garden.
I need to take more walks.
I need to nap in my Adirondack chair.
I don't have to be at my desk by 7 a.m. every day.
I hope that you'll reread Rob's post and think of what you can do for yourself that will fill up your creative and happiness reservoir.
The truth is, my books will get done. So will yours.
I'll read lots of books. So will you.
But I vow to enjoy the journey more.
My name is Wendy, and I am trying to learn to relax about this whole writing thing!