I hold onto things too much. Or rather, I hold onto the wrong things.
Triumphs, kudos, compliments, and five-star reviews on Amazon? They slide off my back like water off a duck, barely permeating my consciousness. Every embarrassing gaffe and mistake? Burned permanently into my cerebral cortex and ready at a moment’s notice with the slightest reminder.
I should also confess I’m a terrible grudge-holder. I wish I was one of those people who could just blow up and get over things, but I don’t. I simmer. I stew. And I stay mad FOREVER. Forgiveness is not exactly my top virtue. Of course, the person I struggle most with forgiving is myself.
I should learn to let things go.
In the last week, I completely failed to show up to work at the nursery at church (to be fair, I had a flat tire, but I also forgot to let anybody know so they could cover for me.) Then I missed an interview with Journal Jabber I’d had plenty of reminders for, because I got busy and lost track of time. I didn’t actually forget it, I just thought it was about 1:30 or 2 when it was in fact 4PM. Aside from that, I failed to fix lunch or dinner for my family.
Did I mention I haven’t got the best sense of the passage of time when I’m absorbed in writing?
Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I pretty much went from everyone telling me how awesome I am to my editor at 3 Fates Press telling me everything that’s wrong with my fiction, and my fellow copywriters at OOHology pointing out everything that’s wrong with my copy at work. While I’m grateful to have the opportunity to improve, and the rational part of my brain is all “Yay! Someone to check my work! I’m not in this alone anymore!” the creative part of my brain is going “Writing = inviting people to look for all my mistakes and point them out. Why did I want to do this for a living again?”
I should let it go.
In fact, I pretty much have to let it go, or I’m not going to be able to keep writing. Criticism is a natural part of a creative life, and especially working in a creative profession. Creative work without critique or revision or editing is never going to be more than amateur.
I can stay wrapped up in shame and embarrassment over my flaws, or I can let them go and strive to do better. I can accept the grace of others gracefully, or I can keep my shields up, deflecting both praise and forgiveness.
In writing yesterday’s post, and going through some old blog posts, I realized that I have posted a lot of good material over the past six years about living as a creative professional, despite the sensitivities and emotional and physical health issues creative people often struggle with. I’ve been thinking for a while about writing a nonfiction book on the subject. I may be letting go of the fiction for a little while to work on that.
It seems like a good time to remind myself of what I’ve already learned, if nothing else.