Touch your book manuscript every day. I don’t remember where I heard that, but I’ve adopted it as a daily mantra, a way of reminding myself that no matter what happens, I have to touch my manuscript everyday, even if just to write one paragraph or read the last few paragraphs I wrote. But then I got oversubscribed, my attention pulled in so many different directions that I couldn’t find space inside my head to touch my manuscript every day. (If there’s no space inside your head, the excuse we often give ourselves is that we have no time, but the time we have is a reflection of our priorities.)
I thought at first that I’d need a week to dig myself out. A week turned into six. For six weeks, I didn’t touch my manuscript at all. I got back to it today, cried a little bit as I wrote about the last and happiest summer we had as a family of three — mother, daughter and father. I stopped after 90 minutes or so of writing because I know that what comes next is the beginning of the end. Soon, our family will become a family of two.
I’ve learned to forgive myself for pushing aside daily goals. I’ve learned to forgive myself for taking whatever time I need to get back to whatever it was that I had to push aside. I’ve learned to stop when I’m overwhelmed, and to stop writing when my heart tells me it has had enough for the day. That is the secret to doing everything that I do.
I stopped today to write to you because I had to tell you that it’s OK to take breaks when you have to. It’s healthy to take breaks. And it’s really important to listen to the voice inside that’s telling you to be compassionate with yourself. Because love, compassion and kindness toward others can only sincerely exist when we are loving, compassionate and kind to ourselves.
With gratitude — for you and for me — and with purpose, always.