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?