November 1, 2010

Letting Part of Yourself Go

What I’m Reading Today: I picked up Granta Best of Young American Novelists 2 again. Every story is just amazing.

As I’ve been struggling to be productive on these precious few days off, I’ve been thinking a lot about what a writer has to do to get the writing done. And it occurs to me that we not only need to create boundaries and be firm with our loved ones and other less important commitments. We also have to let go of some things, expect less of ourselves.

Yes, ironically, at the same time that we’re expecting so much of ourselves ~ get the work done, make it as good as you possibly can, giving it the time and attention, getting feedback, spending our hard-earned bucks going to conferences and workshops ~ just as we’re doing that, we have to lower our expectations in other areas. We have to give some things up.

We have to maybe let the laundry go a little longer. We have to not work those extra nights. We have to let the car be trashed. We have to sit at our kids’ soccer/swimming/gymnastics and write, instead of watching the cute things they do. We maybe have to care a little bit less about the other stuff, the inconsequential stuff, maybe even some big stuff.

Our identities are wrapped up in our writing, but they are also wrapped up in being parents and being good housekeepers and being good at our day job. Maybe, just maybe, if we want to be the best we possibly can in our chosen obsession, we have to give up a little of the other stuff. We cannot be superman or superwoman. We just can’t.

So being the best you can involves giving up some stuff, grieving over some things. It’s up to us to decide whether it’s worth it.

Questions of the Day: How far are you willing to go?

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