Writing a book is a project, one that can be overwhelming or manageable, depending on your approach. Taking the time to get clear on boundaries is essential, as is deciding what you need to say NO to so that you can say YES to your book.
For most of us, it’s much easier to get started. (New = Excitement + Fun!) Getting to the finish line, though, requires a commitment. It requires getting crystal clear on what you can accomplish, what you can’t, and where you need help.
All of which can be really liberating if we take the time to do it consciously.
The truth is, we can only keep adding so much to our plates before burning out. (Been there, done that!) When things get too full, it’s only a matter of time before something gives (our health, a relationship, a meeting we couldn’t afford to miss, you name it).
For example, if you want to write 30 minutes 3x/week, what do you need to say NO to in order to say YES to your writing?
Do you need to watch one less TV show at night? Wake up 30 minutes earlier? Maybe your NO means taking a sabbatical from FB or protecting that writing time by not answering your phone, checking emails or cancelling it as soon as someone asks for that time.
The trick is to create a goal that’s realistic—one you can actually commit to in your real, human-scaled life. One that takes into account ALL the different pieces of your life: work and family obligations, as well as your personality traits (hello, my inner introvert!) and energy level, whatever it is you need to thrive.
This has been one of my deepest life-lessons. Whenever I start something new, I’m a Hell Yeah! kind of person. If someone tells me I can’t do something, it only strengthens my resolve. Maintaining that level of Hell Yeah! over the long run, though, is a different story.
Like many folks, I’ve got work, family, friends, dog, meals and a messy house to content with, as well as all sorts of other obligations (real or, cough, imagined). There’s nothing I’d love more than to go off and write for hours on end. Since I’m not able to do that most of the time, it’s easy for me to want to rush, or push through.
But what I’ve found is that powering through only leads to burn out. As does trying to force something. I’ve had to learn the hard way that moving forward consistently is more important than moving forward quickly.
Because here’s the truth: real life is messy and unpredictable. And that Perfect Future Version of Myself that Can Accomplish Anything? Um, yeah …
Much better to take baby steps, course-correcting as I go.
The trick is recommitting to ourselves (and our loved ones, and our projects) with kindness and compassion, readjusting as we go. In the long run, I’m pretty sure that’s what life is all about, anyway.
So tell me: what is it your heart is crying out for? What does your heart want to say YES to?
And what are you willing to say NO to in order to get there?
I’d love to hear your YES and your NO–please leave a comment below!