Were you a “good child”? Were you taught to answer “yes” when somebody asked you to do helpful things? Are you too dutiful for your own “good”? Read on.
Back in 2012, I’d been organising a group involved with children and reading for some years, Sadly, I could see that - no matter how fond I was of the group and the organisation as a whole – I had worn out my energy for the thing. I didn’t want the group to fold, but I was doing it no good. As a writer, I live a fairly solitary life, but what the group needed were people with links and professional contacts and lots of social energy. None were coming forward. None were saying yes.
So, last December, as part of a mailing to all the members. I called an ExtraOrdinary General Meeting for early in 2013. I wrote that I was stepping down. Then came the bit of blackmail: if I wasn’t doing X, then Y would not happen. I posted the envelopes, crossed my fingers and waited.
Well, it turned out that Y did matter to the members. Some people came forward. Over the year, bit by bit – because they are all as busy as I am - the group has taken on this or that aspect of the work. I have just signed “my” last cheque and the new committee’s is about to take over the finance. When that happens, I’ll be totally free of any responsibility. I am so glad there were people there to catch the baby.
However, that “NO” took almost a year to accomplish. My escape had to be planned well ahead so others could take on the burden at their own pace.
So why I am blogging about this? Because I want to remind you that if you are a “good child”, your sense of duty and obligation may get in the way of your writing. This busyness – and heaven knows there’s enough of that involved in looking after a writing career already – can get in the way. It may make you a “good child”, but not the good writer you could be.
Instead of creative day-dreaming, the mind grinds on about all the small things it should be doing or sorting out. Instead of being free to “fill the well” with new experiences and good or interesting stuff, you spend your spare time – and more - sorting out administration.
We all have things we get involved with: clubs and groups and organisations. If your special thing “feeds” you and is just what you need, all’s fine and dandy. But if it doesn’t - or doesn’t any longer – stop being a “good child”.
If you feel you need to make an escape, start working out when and how. You have all the coming year to make your escape. Maybe, for your writing sanity, you need to learn to say no?