The end of 2020 is near. I’m on the bandwagon with everyone else who is eager to see 2021 roll in. The new year will bring a new administration for these not so United States of America, and if everyone that rallied to ensure this change in our government keeps on keeping on, perhaps peace and love will unify us for real. A vaccine is also on the way, which means— fingers crossed— a decrease in Covid-19; provided safety protocols are followed as needed because it’s going to take time for everyone to get the vaccine, and not everyone plans to take it.
What we hope for doesn’t come with a guarantee.
I chat with my writing accountability partner— let’s call her Lisa because that’s her name— every four weeks on a Saturday. Lisa just finished NaNoWriMo and met her goal of writing 50,000 words, and that’s a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Victory! During our monthly chats we share our doubts, fears, and every OMG-I-Can’t-Believe-I-Just-Figured-This-Out moment that comes our way during our social distance writing. Even if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, we would social distance; she’s in California, I’m in New York. Lisa and I also share everything about our works-in-progress without talking specifics— not even our characters names. Well, she knows Kaitlyn is my protagonist, but so does everyone who reads this blog. But the only reason I’m comfortable sharing Kait’s name is because she’s been with me for so long, I don’t believe it’s possible for her to be jinxed.
Talking writing with Lisa energizes me better than any inspirational book on writing, which is quite a statement because you know how excited I can get about craft books that inspire. If you don’t know what I’m talking about check out I’ve Been Kidnapped by Chuck Palahniuk and Big Magic’s Magic.
Needless to say— although I shouldn’t because it’s a useless waste of words, but I do love the sound of them on my lips— I was extra psyched about last Saturday’s chat because I’d finally tackled Chapter Three and the impact of its successful execution upon the chapters which follow was still giving me goosebumps.
Then along came a virtual event with two historical fiction writers that I didn’t want to miss. The event was to begin two hours after my chat with Lisa was to start. I don’t like to lock my chats into a timeframe, but a writer has got to do what a writer has got to do. An hour before our chat, Lisa texted to ask for a delay of 15-30 minutes. I agreed and clued her in on the virtual event. Cue Jeopardy theme music. Thirty minutes turned into forty-five and nerve endings prickled my skin. I was unable to concentrate, couldn’t read, couldn’t write. The day spiraled into a waste of time. But when I texted her to ask about rescheduling, she said she was ready— only an hour to go before the virtual event. Breathe, breathe, breathe.
We dove into Lisa’s NaNo writing experience and parsed out her next move, then I gave a fast and furious summary of a substantial writing lesson month that wasn’t accurate in the least, although I didn’t realize this until later that night. Then I popped off and popped on to the virtual event.
The introductions for the authors gave me time to settle, and even though I wished I was still on the call with Lisa, I managed to give my attention to the writers I’d looked forward to learning from. All was well for about twenty minutes, then the conversation barreled downhill. The one author rambled so much, it looked like the other author couldn’t follow either.
What we hope for doesn’t come with a guarantee.
I was certain that virtual event was going to provide great insights for my writing life. But. It. Didn’t. I would’ve been happier hanging out with Lisa and letting our probing and sharing deepen the wellspring of my writing.
That realization gave me permission— long overdue— to let go of the need to believe I’ll miss out if I don’t sign up for every interesting virtual event, read the novel everyone is buzzing about, or the latest craft book, or enroll in today’s hot-off-the-press writing course.
Cutting my conversation with Lisa short because of a virtual event that didn’t pan out reminded me that I work best without restrictions or expectations. When I give myself 100% to the moment, whether in conversation with a person or on the page that’s when the magic happens; A fully present me is how I grow best. I learned this as an actor and shared it as a teacher of Alexander Technique, but it has escaped me as a writer.
And so, during Monday’s Full Moon Eclipse Kundalini class, I set new writing intentions— Let go of the need to Endgain or be dazzled by external quick fixes, and allow myself to be fully present for each task until it comes to the end.
My gut says these intentions are good for the long haul because, as you know, There Is No Finish Line. And as Seth Godin says in his new book, The Practice, which appears to have come to me via Big Magic…
Art is the work we do where there is no right answer, and yet, the journey is worth the effort.
Best to relax and write with a maddeningly lack of urgency.