Note To Self: Life is Not A Sprint
I know I’ve mentioned before my deep-seated need to learn patience, but I’m going to mention it again, since it didn’t sink into my thick skull the last time I mentioned it. I have to remember that it’s neither possible nor advisable to do ALL THE THINGS immediately and at once. Because I really want to. I always want to, but it leads to me being unhappy despite a number of things that should have me over the moon.
What started me thinking about it is the editing I’m in the middle of. It’s going well, don’t get me wrong. I’m plugging away at my stand-alone novella, and making good progress with it. But it’s not going at the warp speed I’d like it to. You know, where I’d be done already. That I need time to think about this and how I’m subtly reshaping it isn’t the point. I want to be done so I can move on to the next task on my never-ending list. I don’t want to rush through this and do a bad job, one that will cost me more time later, but I look at my to-do list and all the stories waiting and feel pressured to get it all done NOW.
I know I shouldn’t. I’m still (kinda) young at 34, enough to have what will hopefully be a long career ahead of me. I keep telling myself I have all the time in the world to write and share all these stories buzzing around in my head with everyone who wants to read them. Worse, I’m robbing myself of a fair amount of joy. The joy of finishing, of beginning, even of editing. Believe it or not, I love editing, the chance to make the story better, to refine it so it can shine to my readers. But right now, I’m having trouble feeling that love, because I’m too busy staring down the road and adding up all the things that are waiting for me to have time for them.
I used to live in the moment in a good way, savoring the things I was doing, thinking that the next thing would come when I was done this and I’ve somehow lost that in the last few months. I don’t know what happened to derail my zen, but if you see it, please direct it to come home. I need it back. I need to enjoy what I’m doing, to remember that there will always be a next thing, as there is always a tomorrow. I need to get back to understanding that my life can only be lived one day at a time, with no way to speed time up. It’s not a sprint and that’s actually a good thing.
So I’m going to try it. I’ve been sort of trying it for the past couple of days. Instead of telling myself I have to finish editing by a certain date or get so much of it done that night, I decided to look at it more holistically. Have I gotten some of the work done? Did it improve the piece? If so, then I’m accomplished for the night. I can stop if I hit part that I need to think on, or just make a note of the problem and carry on. I’m having to remind myself every five minutes that this attitude is okay, but that’s fine. I’ll get there in time, I figure. This is just the process of getting back to being okay with things not happening instantly, to not rushing through things until I don’t enjoy them.
That doesn’t mean I’m not doing multiple things at once. I am. I always do, because it’s just the way I think, and that’s okay too. Mostly at the moment, I’m making revision notes about Unmasked as they come to me. I might make some noticeable changes to it when I come back to it, or maybe not. I’m mostly just writing everything I think of, and I’ll sort it out later. I don’t really feel ready to start building Book 2 of Masques yet, though I’m making the occasional note on that too as things come. The work I’ve been doing on the novella is significant enough that I’m letting that be my focus.
One thing at a time. One step. One story. The rest will come in time.