The power of saying no.
NO is a powerhouse of a word that opens up space for yes. A million years ago I majored in economics. And while I understand the concept of opportunity cost, I find it difficult to apply to my writing life. I want to write all the things. All the things take time.
My husband’s former co-worker (RIP B. Bowden) had a beautiful way of saying NO. “We have no interest in this deal on any level.” I love this and always thought it was the equivalent business-speak for “Bless your heart.” End of story. NO room to come back and say, “Well, what if we do it this way?”
I say all this not to moan or preach or pontificate but simply to explain why these days I’m not blogging as often as I once did. Not blogging as much means I’m working on Book Two. Working on my new book means I haven’t been able to pitch freelance article ideas even though I really want to. Maybe I’m a slow writer. As Popeye says, I yam what I yam.
Time spent away from the story I’m writing, even doing other writing, often yanks me out of the groove as though I’ve been physically moved to another realm. Two or three days without working on it is like binge-eating all the wrong foods for a week and then trying to fit into my skinny jeans. Frustrating!
Newton pegged it. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. At the end of every “no” there’s a “yes” waiting to happen. Maybe, just maybe, decluttering and making time to listen and think helps brings about new opportunity that wouldn’t otherwise show itself.
The Good News!
I’m making headway. In fact, the bones of my manuscript have been printed and scattered all over my writing space. Now I’m buried in the fun-bordering-on-maddening part. Editing. Rearranging. Filling in. Slashing words. Trying to make the whole thing flow as effortless as a nursery rhyme. Later, an editor will polish it. Later, I’ll repeat the process. So, no, it isn’t nearly finished, but every day brings me closer to the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
True, I no longer have a regular 8-5 job outside my writing. To some folks this translates into having all the time in the world. Writing doesn’t work like that. Not for me. (I yam what I yam.) I have creative hours and I have dead-in-the-water brain-drained hours. I’ve learned to be highly protective of my creative time because once my brain is drained, I have to do those replenishing things. I cook, garden, take a walk, read, go to the gym, sleep. I avoid the negative. Avoid waste of time television (except for this season’s The Bachelorette because I know Rachel’s family!)
Sometimes I have to do laundry and pay bills and sweep the kitchen floor. And yes, I take complete days off from writing but not often. And if I’m being honest, even then, my brain is still working on my story. Writing takes “the little engine that could” mentality. I think I can, I think I can. That’s half the battle because, believe me, there are ugly flashes when I know I can’t, I know I can’t.
The Fun News!
The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee is going to be featured on Arts & Letters! Professor Brad Minnick is producer and host of this podcast on Little Rock’s NPR affiliate KUAR 89.1 FM. This most excellent podcast highlights arts and humanities in the South, something near and dear to my heart. I encourage you to subscribe now, follow along, and listen to as many of the back programs as you can. (Arts & Letters audio podcasts can be accessed through its web page on KUAR.org, iTunes, or via NPR Podcasts.)
Minnick does a fabulous job, treating each creative project with integrity. The score accompanying each podcast is spot-on, bringing the work alive in a stunning way. I can’t wait to hear the musical score designed to highlight Gracie Lee’s world. The process takes up to six months with recording, editing, and producing the music. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a date around Christmas. After all, the very best time to bring the masses to Boon Chapel is during the holidays.
That’s it for now. I simply thought I’d say hello, and remind you that I’m on Facebook HERE. I’ve starting doing regular “Garden Dispatches” on the Grace Grits and Gardening Facebook page. Something like a mini-blog post. Sorta.
My coffee tastes extra good this morning. Happy Saturday!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
P.S. I’ll be in Harrison, Arkansas on Thursday night (7-20-17) talking all things Gracie Lee. Come visit with me at the Boone County Library 5:30-6:30 p.m. (no relation to Boon Chapel.)
The Lone Bellow, You Can’t Always Get Want You Want