At one point over the weekend, I was lying on the floor whispering obscenities into the carpet. It wasn't as dramatic as it sounds. I was already on the ground, hovering over a big, rolled out piece of brown paper, and reviewing scribbled notes.
For the past month, I've spent my Saturdays submerged in memoir writing. I don't talk about it much on the blog anymore, because my intention isn't to take you into the nitty gritty details of the process.
I might not even have a process. If I wrote a page for every time I said "I don't know what the hell I'm doing", I'd certainly feel more productive. I've spent a lot of time at the laptop—writing actual words—but I've also been down on the floor, sketching out the story on paper. I need to see it. Holding it all in my head hurts my head.
So at one point, I set down my pen and rested my hurting head on the floor. "This is so effing hard," I said out loud, to myself.
Then, I got up and got back to work.
I decided that I wanted to share this scene from my behind-the-scenes life with you, because of what it's teaching me about my life as a whole. I'm learning that:
Our first instincts may really, actually be correct. I rocked my world recently when I returned to some early ideas about how the opening chapters of the book should unfold, pulling from scenes I'd written four years ago.
Just because we can trust our instincts doesn't mean we know everything. Those early drafts had lots of issues that needed to be untangled. I had a lot to learn. I still do.
When a situation gets really hard, or when I feel like I'm trying too hard, that's always a red flag for me. It might be a sign that it's time to let go. But I can't let this go. I've hypothetically pretended to let it go many times. Even the thought of quitting doesn't bring relief.
This is what love looks like. Not love of success, or accomplishment, or love of any external thing... but the real, lasting kind. The kind I'm willing to hold on to, the kind that holds on to me.
The relief comes when I get up and get back to work. And if working on something—to the point that my head hurts and I curse into the carpet—teaches me how to live better and to love to better, then every single bit of it is worth it.
In other news: Guess who's two? It also means it's been two years since I gave you a peek inside the butterfly garden, got rid of my little car, and wrote a rap song. That's the latest from the Year in Pictures.
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