Patience – The Art of Doing Nothing
There’s been an undercurrent of struggle going on beneath the surface of my life at the moment. I know that some kind of transition is taking place within me, but I don’t know how it’s going to play out. When I told my friend Suzanne about my struggle and she asked if I was the type of person who enjoys the journey, or one who wants know the outcome. I replied unequivocally, “I want to know how things are going to turn out, and then I want to write about how I got there.” As soon as I said the words my thoughts flashed back the previous Friday afternoon when I felt stuck, unable to make a decision, a voice inside my head said, “Don’t do anything.” Despite my desire for action, doing nothing felt right. I need more time to adjust to the changes taking place before I can feel right about making any decisions.
Now that the writing part of my journey is coming to an end, my thoughts are turned toward the publishing aspect. In this, I’m not only totally out of my comfort zone, I’m flying blind. The entire experience is a learning curve. My thoughts are scattered in many directions with the things I should do, must do, to see my dream realized, but I can’t seem to settle myself on any one thing. Consequently, nothing gets done.
Over dinner that night with Suzanne and my husband, the topic of publishing came up and I shared my concerns about building my platform. The truth is I am overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what is needed to get my name out into the public eye. Not only am I expected to teach, give talks, market, and figure out how the publishing process works, it is necessary to have a presence on social media. I’m not quite sure how I’m supposed to do all this while I’m trying to get my current book, The River of the Stick Wavers, ready for publication, and do the historical research I need to write my next book. I’m a writer. I enjoy researching the subject of my next topic. I’m not a publisher, and I’m certainly not a marketing expert.
However, in articulating my concerns I was able to say the words out loud that I had been holding back, “I really don’t want to do all this media stuff, but I’m afraid if I don’t it will hurt me.”
“Then don’t.” Suzanne said.
Wow, was it that easy? I wondered. Could I say no? A light went off inside my head and everything seemed to fall into place like coins in a slot machine. That night I learned that it’s OK for this writer to say no to the things I really don’t want to do. However, I don’t have to say no to everything. I’m OK saying yes to the occasional speech, or teaching. I’m even OK expanding my media presence in ways that will fit into my writing life. This feels right and good.
I realize it will take time and patience to learn all I will need to do in order to sell my book. During this transition I would do well to accept the process with good grace and a lot of patience. In this way I will be fully present when my instincts tell me when it’s time to move forward. Sometimes the best thing we can do is — nothing.