I write this blog every week, and sometimes I have a million things I am burning to say, and sometimes I struggle to come up with something relevant to say, and every once and a while, the system totally breaks down and I’ve got nothing at all to offer.
That happened last week when I was in the midst of moving from one house in one city to another house in another city, packing up 25 years of memories and furniture and objects and books. I not only had nothing to say, I actually completely forgot that it was deadline time for the blog — and this is after my on-the-ball assistant even wrote to remind me. I simply didn’t do it.
I woke up the next morning and thought, “OH NO!” And in my head, I went through all the steps I would have to take to get back on track for my normal rhythm of putting out a blog post. These steps would have included canceling appointments, scrambling around for something to say, getting the words on the page, making an apology to my readers, and taking on more stress in an already stressful time.
I decided just not to do it, which caused me a different kind of stress — the darker kind. I kept thinking, “What kind of an entrepreneur are you?” What kind of a writer are you? What kind of a leader are you?” I kept thinking, “How can you expect to be in the business of motivating writers to write when you can’t even meet your weekly blog deadline?”
It only took me about 20 minutes of stewing in this toxic wasteland of my own perfectionism to realize how misguided it was to think that such a small mistake would have such dire consequences, to think that anyone actually cared that much about one blog post, to think that the world revolved around me.
I was able to shake off the catastrophizing voices in my head and go about my life — and my move.
And my business did not collapse. And the world did not end.
It was good to be reminded of this.
As a book coach and the founder/CEO of Author Accelerator, I juggle a million things. People often say to me, “How do you do it all?! Do you work 24 hours a day??” And the truth is that I do work a lot, and I love my work, and most of the time, it works out just fine to work all the time at it.
But we all have limits, and I reached mine this last week. Forgetting to write a blog was just one sign that I can’t do it all. A resurgence of the migraines I have worked so hard to manage and tame was another sign — — that one flashing neon.
I got the message and I welcome it.
In my new space, I am going to adopt some new habits of self-awareness and self-care. I am going to take more time to breathe and to be intentional about the work I do. I am also going to reconsider how often I write this blog, and what purpose it serves, and how it fits into all the other things I want to do.
In order to create, we need energy, both for our daily work and for the sustained effort needed to bring a vision to life.
We need passion and commitment.
We need focus and intention.
But let us never forget that a cornerstone of doing good creative work is self-forgiveness.
Because we’re going to mess up.
We’re going to miss our deadlines and our goals.
We’re going to make mistakes.
We’re going to want to throw in the towel.
We’re going to have days when we have nothing to say, and when we are far less than perfect.
But all of that is part of the work, too.
Books and businesses are created by human beings in the context of real lives, and that is usually what makes them so poignant and powerful.
Thanks for taking the time to read. If you enjoyed this article, please hit that clap 👏 button to help others find it!