Well I’m not exactly sure how this happened, but March is already ending, y’all. (I like to start my letters to you by stating the obvious. I dunno, just really gets those creative juices flowing, you know?)(Sarcasm implicit.)
(Also, I have a real problem with overusing parenthesis.) (It’s a whole thing.)
Anyway, it feels like Christmas was 5 minutes ago and time is starting to do that thing that it always does this time of year, that thing I always forget to remember will happen, where it just ramps up faster and faster until it reaches a fever pitch somewhere around May, when there will come a week, ONE week, when two science fair projects are due, baseball tournaments will rule our life, preparation for the school talent show will drive me to the edge of my sanity and to the local JoAnn’s craft store 27x in a row, but will also turn me into a puddle of happy tears and fill me with that special brand of pride (the terrified kind) that’s singularly attached to watching your kid do something brave.
Ohmygod, are you tired yet? I am. That was the longest sentence I’ve ever typed. Which is a perfect metaphor for May, I guess. May is like June’s unpredictable, slightly unhinged kid sister- the one that shows up and wrecks herself just for funsies. Anyway, enough about May. That’s not why we’re here. We’re here to say goodbye to March.
It struck me yesterday that the first quarter of the year is over. For me, it’s been a season of putting my head down and putting one foot in front of the other. Putting in the work, even while I wish the quality of my work was higher.
My goal was to finish my book proposal by March 31 and GUYS, I did! I actually did!
I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are still parts of it that feel like hot garbage, but I’m taking my own advice from one of the chapters and embracing my amateurism. Or at least embracing done instead of perfect. Could it use polishing? Sure. Am I proud of my sample chapters? NARP. (That’s how we say yes or no in our house. Yarp or Narp. But I digress…)
The point is, it’s all there. All the parts are there. It’s done, so I’m forcing myself to pause long enough celebrate that milestone because it’s a mark I’ve had my eye on for so long, it doesn’t even feel real to pass it by.
I’m not great at pausing to celebrate, I tend to immediately move the goal-marker for myself and turn all my attention to the next thing. The trouble is, when you’re constantly moving the markers for yourself, you never really feel at peace or like it’s okay to rest. I don’t have a lot of helpful insight to offer there, so I’ll just tell you that I’m working on it.
It’s such a strange feeling to finish, because I’ve been fussing over this thing for so long. I’ve finished it 2 years ago, only to deconstruct the whole thing and start over because something didn’t feel right with it, in my gut, I mean. I put in all that work, only to decide that I needed to start all over. Which is precisely why I have a note-card taped to the window above my computer that says, NOTHING IS WASTED. I knew I’d need the reminder.
I’ve set it aside for chunks of time, partly to rest and partly to see if it would finally leave me alone. (It won’t. It’s like a monkey on my back at this point. It won’t be tamed and it won’t be ignored. It’s just there, flinging poo at me until I give it proper attention.) I’ve paced and muttered, I’ve prayed and lamented, I’ve even invested in a fainting couch for the moments when I literally can’t even.
I made the tough and risky decision to part ways with my agent, trusting that I’ll be able to get a new one that feels like a better fit, again, for no other reason than my gut told me to.
I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve felt like a crazy person, I’ve crawled around my office floor rearranging ideas on note-cards eleventy billion times. I’ve loved my chapter ideas and I’ve hated the same ones 48 hours later. I’ve felt spectacularly ill-equipped to do this work, but I’ve also felt more alive and awake in the doing than I have in a long time.
And now that it’s done? I feel like an exposed nerve.
I feel mortified and convinced that I’ve been polishing a turd for two years. I sent it off to someone who’s opinion I value, and I feel like I’ve just thrown my dirty underwear on the table between us, as if to say, “Ewe! Look at that! But also… what do we think about that?”
But I know that those wonky feelings are probably just good old fashioned Resistance, and a knee-jerk reaction to sharing my work. It’s normal. I think? I don’t know.
Sometimes those wonky feelings are there to alert us that it’s not the right time, or the right project, or that our work needs more work. But other times the wonky feelings are there simply to teach us to overcome them. I guess the trick is to know the difference.
I’m still learning.
Either way, I’m honoring the place I am in this process. There are a thousand seemingly impossible steps between me and my book dream. Get a new agent. Polish the proposal (again). Wait. Grow my platform. Send out the proposal. Resist the urge to curl up and die. Wait. Wait some more. Get the book deal. WRITE THE DANG BOOK. Wait. Grow more. Sell the book. Resist the urge to curl up and die. Grow more. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
All of it feels beyond my reach, yet I can’t NOT try, so here I am, chillin’ with my book dream. Except NOTHING IS CHILL and we are either madly in love or completely at odds, depending on the day.
It’s all very dramatic, you see.
In case you didn’t know, I’m a 4-wing-3 on the Enneagram, which means I live all up in my feelings, thrive on the drama of the creative process, put heaps of pressure on myself to perform well (3 wing coming in hot!), but on a good day, I’m able to find the balance between following the love and doing the work. Lately I’ve had more good days like that. Another reason to pause and celebrate, maybe?
So as we wrap up another month and a quarter, I wonder what you’ve been struggling through? I wonder what thousand seemingly impossible steps lie between you and that dream echoing around inside your heart?
I wonder if you can relate to the wonky feelings?
I wonder if you too, are fully prepared for rejection but gall-dangit if there isn’t something else in there mucking it all up for you and giving you hope, enough hope to convince you that you have to try because, after all, you didn’t come this far to only come this far?
I raise my 4:30 pm glass of wine to you, sister. We can do this. And if not, at least we’ll have tried. That counts, I think.
(I wasn’t planning on talking so much about this one thing in this letter, but I tend to show up to these end-month recaps without a plan. I sit down and go rogue and am always a little surprised to see what comes out. A lot of other stuff happened this month too- some of it good, some of it cringe-worthy, and some of it ridiculous. I shared all about it in our Behind the Scenes episode over on The Mom Wants More Podcast. You can listen in by clicking HERE or the picture below!)
Thanks for putting up with all my parenthesis, being a soft place to land for my words, and allowing me to be way too earnest (all the time). Love you guys, mean it.
*this post was sent from my computer and my heart*