A lot can happen in seven months. When I last wrote in September, I went away for five blissful days at my summer camp for grownups. When I came back, everything changed very suddenly and painfully.
During the months of recovery, I tried a few times to get back into the habit of writing every day—sometimes with success, sometimes not. Every time I swore it would be easier; I’d already gotten into the habit once, so getting back into the habit should be easy, right? Nope. Every time it’s like trying to move rusty gears that let out a high-pitched scream: No, don’t make me do it! It’s scary!
And I can’t berate myself for that fear. I can’t shame myself for letting the need to write fall by the wayside in order to take care of my other needs, which have far more obvious and immediate ramifications if I don’t.
Please read this beautiful piece, Writing Begins With Forgiveness: Why One of the Most Common Pieces of Writing Advice Is Wrong. A friend sent it to me a while ago, and I keep coming back to it whenever I need it. This morning, I really needed it. I’m letting it begin with forgiveness.
I’ve never really liked that word, for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, but I can come up with a different word later for what you do for other people who’ve wronged you and aren’t sorry.
For now, I’m just embracing this word that I don’t like and breaking it down: for give. Fore give? Either way, it’s the give that’s important. Let it be a gift. Your old self is feeling guilty and you give her a gift that says It’s OK. I love you. I’m going to take care of you. Come along with me, please. I can’t do this without you.
What is that gift? What does it look like? I suppose it depends on the situation. It might be a vacation, or a third cup of tea, or something pretty you’ve been wanting, or a nap, or a love note, or a terrible movie you secretly love. It is not a push out the door, at least not for me. There’s a time and a place for tough love, and this isn’t it. The gift comes first and is purely love.
Then comes the hard work.
That’s the push out the door, the getting up at 6:00, the morning yoga, the two pages a day. The hard work can only be done after the forgiveness. After the gift. It’s like trying to move ahead in a relationship in the middle of the fight. If you continue churning along at full speed, there will be only resentment. Stop. Give the gift. Remember love. Rekindle tenderness. Reconnect. Then do the hard work.
So what does the hard work look like for me? Writing. Camp NaNoWriMo should help me finish this revision of Gaudiloquence and the Frozen Story. With the help of my Passion Planner, I’ll break down my larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones. Bit by bit. Bird by bird.