Making My Way.

Posted On: 06.01.12

Today was supposed to be the day.

Today was supposed to be the day I met my lovely agent (Brettne Bloom of Kneerim & Williams) for breakfast in the neighborhood. The day I handed over a crisp stack of pages, a draft of Book Two.

Instead. Instead I am going on a field trip with Big Girl. We are walking across the Brooklyn Bridge with her preschool class. There will be no breakfast. And there will be no glorious hand-off of my manuscript.

I emailed Brettne earlier this week to tell her that I needed to postpone our breakfast, that something came up with my daughter. I also told her that I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to give her my chapters. I stumbled through some excuses and I hit send. I felt terrible and disappointed in myself. Somehow, I thought if I set a deadline for myself and announced it to the world, I would in fact meet it, and deliver.

Alas. Not so.

I got the most wonderful email back from Brettne. She told me that the best books often take a lot of time to write, that I should get her my pages when they are ready, that I should stop being so hard on myself. I read her words and I smiled and I knew things would be okay. And they will. They will be better than okay.

There will come a time, and soon, when I hand over those pages, when my story is one step closer to completion. I am just not sure when that will be. And I’m trying to be alright with this, this not knowing part. And I’m also trying to remember that I am a busy creature, that my girls are young and won’t always be. This trip to the Brooklyn Bridge? I think it’s as important as that breakfast, and that draft. Maybe even more so?

I know I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. The rub is that this is what I’ve done for upwards of three decades; I’ve expected a ton from myself, maybe too much. I’ve disciplined myself. This is what I know to do, how I know to get things done. So I am wondering if this is something I want to really try to change or whether this is truly something I’d be able to change at this point?

I’m not really sure where I am going with all of this, but I guess I felt it was important to acknowledge this day, this day that will no doubt end up being good, just a bit different than I’d pictured it. This day on which I can’t help thinking about the symbolism of bridges. Bridges big and small and in-between. Bridges real and revered. Bridges anticipated and imagined.

I am realizing some things, and trying to accept them, too: We don’t always get to the other side when we predict we will. And there is meaning not just in arriving, but also, and maybe especially, in making our way.

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Thank you, Brettne, for being such a thoughtful partner in this complicated-for-me personal/professional process. I am excited and honored to be working with you. One day this story is going to be there and it’s going to be great, right?

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Are you hard on yourself personally and/or professionally? How do you feel when you set goals and don’t meet them? Do you think we can learn to be more forgiving with ourselves?

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Comments


7 Comments for: "Making My Way."
  1. AHS

    An important post for you and those of us reading. How do we put an appropriate amount of pressure on ourselves to do things. How to make sure we are actually on the bridge and going somewhere. And how to make sure we actually arrive on the other side some day.

    You will submit your story when you are ready. You know this. And I can’t wait to read it one day!

    Hope the trip was a good one.

  2. I too, am hard on myself. But I think perhaps I have relaxed a bit since I was in high school and college. I have prioritized different things and realize that A’s and completed projects are not the only important things. Relationships (like the ones with your daughters) and time are precious too.

    I’m glad you had someone like your agent to help you smile and be a little kinder to yourself.

  3. “just a bit different than I’d pictured it.” Always and it takes getting used to but you find something very different than you thought yet equally satisfying and sometimes maybe more so.

    Very much love and agree with the last line of your post “the getting there.”

  4. Aidan, thanks for shining the light on being hard on ourselves. In the last year, I’ve been realizing that the last two and half decades, I’ve been doing this too. The caveat is, it always worked for me: good grades, successful career goals, great at exploring new things, good relationships, etc. Except now, with less of a clear future, being hard on myself became negative. When there is nothing clear to push me towards, this once helpful attribute, quickly became more harmful.
    So, we just keep moving forward. Changing, evolving, forgiving, growing.
    Glad you are on the journey too!

  5. Brettne

    A beautiful bridge is both an elegant feat of engineering and a powerful metaphor for one of the biggest challenges so many writers face. As a novelist, you’re constantly straddling two worlds – the land of the living, breathing people you love who need you, and the fictional world full of characters you’ve created and care about.

    It’s hard to be in two places at once.

    Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, my friend. You’re well on your way. And I’ll be waiting for you on the other side.

    (And thank you for this wonderful post. Hope you had a wonderful time today.) xo

  6. Think of the potential of someone waiting for your pages, your words. She’s waiting for YOU for a reason. Take your time. :)

  7. I have always pushed myself too hard. Trying to be perfect and always giving giving giving. I realized in this last year that I had to start following my heart more and take care of me. That meant being kinder to myself than I was. It feels different but I like it! I’m enjoying life a lot more now. You did the right thing.

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