In May I went to a writing retreat that was truly life-changing. Just eight of us, led by two award-winning authors at the top of their field, along with an awesome adjunct and visiting editors and an agent. It was amazing. What’s best is that since then we’ve grown the bonds we created during that week. We started a Slack channel and post there daily, set ourselves word count goals, share cat pictures and otherwise just revel in the wonderfulness that is hanging out with your own quirky crowd.
In the “goals” thread, I have learned something: I am ridiculously hard on myself. I give no quarter, no slack. An example: yesterday. I wrote it off as a failure because I didn’t hit my word count. I went on the Slack channel to self-flagellate, talk about how I needed to do better.
“I did nothing. Well, I wrote 500 words on a book, but not the one I’m under contract for. I wrote the author’s note for the one I AM under contract for. I re-read twenty-six of forty-six pages of what I already have done for the book under contract so I can start moving forward again. Also I read fifty pages in one book and about twenty in another. And I worked a full day.”
Before anyone could chime in I realized what I would say if anyone else had posted that. Why isn’t 500 words on another book progress? Why not give yourself credit for the words of the author’s note? What about everything else? I am so much less kind to myself than to anyone else. Sometimes friends teach you things just by being there and having real estate in your mind.
So I ask, that thing you said to yourself just this morning: would you say it to me? To someone you met at a party? If not, should you say it to yourself?
If not, let this post take a tiny slice of real estate in your mind to remind you: be kinder to the most important person in your world: you. As we all know but sometimes fail to remember: there’s no love for others unless there’s love for you first.