Monday, May 30, 2011
Life has a way of identifying favorite words. They may be favorites for a short period of time, or they may be permanent favorites. A feeling of piling on led to this round of favorite words.
I generally don't read the sappy, inspirational forwards that flood our email inboxes. One came last week that struck a chord. Why? Because I was in the midst of a similar thought pattern. The message was about separating the important things from the chaff in your life. I realized a few weeks back I mislaid my Zen calmness. I missed it. I've let too much small stuff get in the way of the truly important things. Clutter in parts of my house represented clutter in my brain. I decided it was time to declutter and focus on the big stuff, stuff important to me and my family. Blow away, rest of the chaff, thank you very much.
So, my first favorite word right now is an old favorite: sabbatical. For me, a sabbatical is part of the decluttering of my life. I decided which important things I will focus on for the next period of time: my husband, my children, my adorable new grandson (all grandchildren are adorable in the eyes of the grandparents), making my home a place of peace and harmony, and rewriting my first Mad Max manuscript.
You wouldn't think that rewriting a manuscript would be part of the important stuff. I've worked on Mad Max 1 for a long time. My agent has been shopping it about for several months. Last week, three editors from top six publishers pointed out the same flaw in the novel. After a long conversation with my agent, we plotted how I can fix it. Two editors left the door open for a requery; one didn't. That one didn't like the murderer; thought the novel was too dark. We won't query that editor again.
To achieve the sabbatical, my second favorite word comes into play. I often have this word as a favorite. Just as often, I forget why it helps simplify my life. That word is "no." Powerful. Might mean, No, never. Might mean, No, not right now. Might mean, No, I have to take a break from this activity until the rewrite is back in my agent's hands.
Expect me to say No a lot in the next few weeks. Expect that you are not alone when I say No. Expect that I will qualify that No with not now/not never/maybe in the future.
I'm not sorry, because the important stuff has to come first. That's the only way I'll regain my Zen balance and stop the piling on of the small stuff. And that's just the way it has to be for a while.