“I need to fold the laundry and put it away.” “I have to get my word count up!” “I have to remember to take dinner out of the freezer to thaw.” “I need to get that submission off.”
When I say these things to myself, what I really mean is: “If I don’t fold the laundry and put it away, we’ll be living out of a basket for the next week and I’ll go bananas.” “If I don’t get my word count up, I’ll feel awful and scared that I won’t have another creation to get to the world in a nice timely fashion that will help my career’s momentum.” “If I forget to take something out of the freezer, I’ll get an eye roll from hard working husband over having frozen pizza again.” “If I don’t get that submission off, I won’t make a sale and I won’t keep this career going.”
Errrch! Yesterday, as I lay cuddling with my daughter and the guilt creeped in, I noticed these whoppers for lies I’ve been telling myself. Total BS, folks! On a stick!
The truth is, I don’t have to or need to do any of this. In fact, if I don’t do them and all those ugly consequences occur, so what? Have to and need to are lies.
Whoa there, Amber! You might be thinking: I definitely have to go to work because I need to pay my bills or I shall be living on the streets.
My answer is, well, maybe. OR, perhaps it is that you want to go to work, because you want to pay your bills because you don’t want to live on the streets. But you don’t have to. You could give it all up and take a tent to the woods and join a commune with free wi-fi, if you wanted to.
So, I told myself this very thing. It isn’t that I have to do any of it. Laundry, dinner, writing, submitting. It is that I want to. I want an organized life because it makes for easier everything. And I want word counts and submissions because they make me feel accomplished and fulfilled.
And as I changed the way I talked to myself–that slightly scitzophrenic penchant all writers have–the emotions surrounding the task evolved. The guilt whispered away. In its place came the promise of the joy I would feel once my tasks are complete.
I challenge you to try it today. How many have to’s are on your list? How does it feel if you change that one little word in your self speak?
Remember, we are magicians of words. The right incantation can make all the difference! (Just ask the naked Wiccans–a guess–next door.)