Today I woke up with mindset on my mind.
I spent about three hours editing three poems and took my usual fifteen minutes to read through the first draft of my new novel.
It feels scary and hopeful and exhilarating and good to be doing this. When I stop and get up, I study my emotions for the usual dread, perfectionism, doubt, and emptiness that comes from a well-lit, empty apartment during a pandemic. I have not been outside in three days, and every time I consider just stepping outside my apartment, I’m afraid, because I was sick but not confirmed to have COVID, that I can’t risk anyone’s health by my presence. This is classic Dave—playing the martyr to save the world. I plan to walk around the block; I probably won’t.
After every poem, I make a little voice recording. I not only recap what I did in editing every poem and how I felt about its transformation (so far, all three of them transformed into something better and more genuine) but I also commend myself for doing it at all. I’d done this before but only causally before; now I know these little kudos and congratulations from myself to myself is another brick laid down in the building of a loving self, a stronger self, a more peaceful and more productive self. A working, producing, and someday published writer.
I am cautious of my Ego and the tricks it will play on me. Distraction is a big part of his game. I put my phone on airplane mode. I try not to clean anything. I also try not to get up to go to the bathroom too much (more likely this is psychosomatic; I hardly ever use the bathroom when I write in cafes). I am also aware that this is day two of my writing streak, and day two is never as successful as day one. So I give myself baby steps, keeping my expectations at bay. Expectations, a wise person once said, are just resentments waiting to happen.
I am patient, take deep breaths, and give myself plenty of forgiveness for the effort and plan on showering myself in kindness and reward. We are all children, especially writers. We tap so frequently into imagination and wonder and discovery, so it makes sense. But because we live in a world of adults and adult expectations, that child can become scared, shy, sore, fussy, panic-stricken, and wounded. We must nurture that kid.
I hope your day is full of wonder and silent miracles.
Create and Complete
And remember, any day spent sitting down to write—not in the quality or quantity of the writing but merely in sitting down to make a go of it—is a day won. And if you don’t win your day, remember your humanity, forgive yourself, and try again the next day.