Saturday, June 12, 2010

Try Smarter Not Harder

Almost a week. That's how long it's been since I've touched this blog.

This disappoints me more than a reader can know.

I have no problem with deadlines, proficiency or finding something to write. This summer, even in its early stages, has taught me much about myself and my art. (Neither myself nor my art can survive well with iron-deficient anemia.) The universe has told me to bring my life to a standstill and rebuild my red blood cells.

So while I have been writing, while I have thought of this blog, my body has not cooperated. C'est la vie.

No need to bore you with my symptoms, instead I'll tell you my lesson learned:
No matter how much that project burns within you and feels urgent. It does not HAVE to be done now. Sometimes you want to do it, but life or yourself gets in the way.

In some situations, time management can cure the problem. Sometimes this can help you balance work, school, kids, home, and volunteer commitments and still have time for writing. Sometimes it's better when we slow down and let go of activities or even a self-imposed expectation of how well something will be done. I sometimes do this with the kitchen floor or cleaning the bathroom.

I suppose we can use this in writing, but only on a first draft, because really... in today's marketplace we need to do our best and remain innovative all the time.

In times of illness or family emergency, sometimes we cannot pursue what we want to do. This hurts. The frustration of falling asleep at my keyboard because of anemia is real. So is the super frustration of finally being awake, and then my hands going numb and feeling beyond my control... But frustration merely produces stress.

When this happens, I do something else. Read. Daydream about my characters in a quasi-nap state. Listen to music. Follow the World Cup.

Because we're all in a hurry to "finish," to "publish," to "query," but we must remember... that provides neither happiness nor success.

You can defeat many obstacles by thinking in a new way, persistence, strategy, etc., but stubbornness against certain obstacles wastes time.

I don't remember where I heard it, but it's a lesson I took to heart:

"Try Smarter, Not Harder."

The insect caught inside your car flings himself against the window again and again. He's trying hard. But how many times must he bang himself against the glass before he realizes he has to try a different spot? That eventually he can find the open window if he doesn't keep stubbornly flying into the windshield?

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