Giving up or giving in?
Why does one sound better to me than the other? Why would I snub my nose at the thought of ‘giving up’ yet embrace the idea of ‘giving in’? How are they different?
I’ve given up on my memoir – for the time being anyway. I’m not burning pages and erasing hard drives, but I’ve given myself permission to put it away for now. For the rest of April actually. During my no-reading week I had another breakthrough. As I sat there, writer’s block digging its boney fingers into my shoulders, I noticed how I felt when I approached this memoir – drained, irritable, agitated and frustrated. Could that just be normal writer’s block? Absolutely. But could it be something else? That question I needed time to answer.
Time away. Giving up. Or giving in?
I am not giving up on myself, but I am listening to my intuition. I am done battling and working towards something simply because I told myself I NEED TO WORK TOWARDS THAT SOMETHING. I’m giving in. To that feeling in the pit of my stomach. To that little voice that sits down with me at my desk as I attempt to write but feel detached from my words.
I’m giving in to the idea that this year may not look at all like I had planned. At the very beginning I warned myself – Nadine, the end could look very different from what you expect, be open to that. This sounded great when I didn’t consider it could have to do with the very book I took a year off to write. Gah.
But in the past few weeks I’ve had to step back and take a breath. I took the gloves off and stopped fighting the material, waiting to see what would show up.
And then to my surprise something did. I wrote a children’s book. Out of nowhere it flowed, but out of everywhere it came. The work I’ve been doing for the past seven months seemed fruitless until it led to the very product I am most proud of.
I know I needed that memoir as a guide to this year. I wouldn’t have given myself permission to quit my job and wait for a book idea to emerge. But was that its sole purpose? Who knows. I might come back to it another week, month or year. I might pull it all together one day and feel as great about it as I do about this book I wrote. It doesn’t really matter either way, what matters most is that I worked with what came up. I trusted my instincts.
I didn’t quit my job to write children’s books, but when I stopped telling myself who I should be and just let myself be, a children’s book is what I wrote. I sent off a query letter to an agent who then asked to read the manuscript. Regardless of what happens going forward, I wrote this book and it felt fantastic. I felt happy, energized and connected to the material, which further convinced me that I’d made the right decision.
I didn’t give up on writing, but I did give up on fighting it.