New York Times  Bestselling Author

Let's Have a Worry-Free Week

All right, I will settle for a semi-worry-free week.

I spend too much time worrying about things. One of my main worries is always the book I’m working on. Will I meet my deadline?  Will it please my readers? Will the reviews be good? Will it make any bestseller lists? Etcetera, etcetera. I was thinking about my book worries this afternoon and realized there was only one book I never worried about, at least not while I was writing it and that was my first, Private Relations, written a zillion years ago. When I wrote that book, I viewed writing as a hobby. It was Just Plain Fun. I was a social worker back then and though I loved my job, I couldn’t wait to get home and play with my story. It was actually relaxing, the way knitting or doing a puzzle or playing with the dogs could be fun.

Don’t get me wrong: I still adore writing. I love making stuff up, creating interesting characters, figuring out the best structure to tell the tale, and polishing my words. But for the past twenty-five years (holy moly), that whole process has been infused with the worries I described above. So here’s my promise to myself for this week: I’m not going to worry about my book. As a therapist, though, I learned you can’t simply say you “won’t” do something without substituting what you “will” do instead, so I’m still going to write, but every time I sit down at the computer, it will be with a smile and an expectation of discovery and joy. If I don’t reach my word goal for the day, I’ll say “Whatever!” And I’ll take a few dog-petting and lemon-ginger tea breaks during the day. Maybe after a week of this, it will become a habit? I’ll still allow myself to worry about all those things that DO merit worry in my life, but not my book.

Do you want to join me in my grand experiment? What would you like to stop worrying about until Monday, January 30th?

9 Comments

  1. Sharon on January 24, 2012 at 5:11 am

    I would like not to have the fear or hurt sometimes that comes from worry. I would like to say I would like to stop worrying about my three teenage children but I think it is that natural instinct of worrying for our children which is unique to a parent especially a mother. Worry is not always a negative – it is something that comes from having a special relationship with something or someone. So I don’t want to stop worrying about them but I would like more days of contentment and reassurance that I know they will be ok and that I have done the best I can in giving them tools for life.

  2. Virginia Kantra on January 24, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Oh, I like this! Okay – gulp – I’ll give it a try. (It will be easier because my editor called yesterday and said nice things about the book I just turned in. Otherwise I’d still be fretting.)

    Not going to worry about the new book. Or fuss about the extra three pounds I packed on over the holidays. Instead, I will take walks and rake the leaves from around the daffodils. Which may boost my creative brain and burn off some calories.

    Oops, is that cheating?

  3. Diane Chamberlain on January 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Sharon, yeah, worrying about people we love doesn’t count! Virginia, I like your attitude, but I’m jealous you have a completed book. Not worried, mind you, just jealous!

    • Virginia Kantra on January 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Except now I have to start all over again…

      Uh oh. I feel a worry coming on!

  4. Cindy on January 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    This has been a very fretful week personally and professionally. On both fronts…But it seems to have blown over so…until Jan 30 I promise not to worry about this again…After Jan 30, I can get it back out..work on the things that brought us here in the first place and start anew. But to let it go for a week…well… I think that is just what I need. My head has been in a vice grip for 2 days.OUCH.

  5. Sheree Gillcrist on January 25, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Wow. This made me really think that I worry about just about everything. So to chose just one thing not to worry about is incredibly difficult. For one week I will not worry that I am here at the age I am and my mom is there across an ocean at the age that she is and that just for this week, none of that will change. From my lips to God’s ear.

  6. Margo on January 25, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Diane, I’ve already practiced this ‘no worry’ exercise a few weeks ago and it helped me get through the stack of work I had at the office, which piled up while I was on vacation over the holidays. I took each day at a time and told myself not to worry that something wouldn’t get done on time…I went in early to work and just ‘dug in’, worked hard and stayed focused. As of today I can say it worked and I’m completely caught up. I think it’s true; if we just have patience and forget the stress that can come with worry, we will excel.

  7. Diane Chamberlain on January 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    I’m doing pretty well with this exercise. Hope you all are too!

  8. Virginia Kantra on January 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Except now I have to start all over again… Uh oh. I feel a worry coming on! Still, a good reminder, Diane. Thanks!

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