Give Up Just a Little

I never, ever give up on the things or people I love.

I read books even if they stink halfway through, I try to eat everything on my plate, and even though I took a break from blogging, I’m here now.

But it’s okay to give up…just a little.

The other day I was writing my novel and I couldn’t get a scene to work. I stressed about it and grew frustrated. The more I sat and worked on it, the more the hours seemed to drag on and the more I got angry that I was working on it for so long. It was a vicious cycle.

I finally gave up for the day and went and sat on the couch. But the story still nudged at me, and a few hours later, I came back and everything was fresh and new. I suddenly knew how to solve the problem.

But in the act of stepping away from it just for a little while, I was able to clear my head. If you give up, just a little, every once in awhile, you might be able to step back with a fresh perspective. As long as it’s temporary and not a permanent giving up, then you’ll always have a better time coming back.



Push Through

The American culture is one of grit. Endurance. Determination. Pushing through pain when you’d love to stop. 

And when you get through all that? Hallelujah! You’re an American! You’ve overcome! Welcome to the rest of your life! 

But what happens when you can’t —

No such thing! 

Uhm, okay. But what happens if you–


Yes, but–

NO! Everyone always pushes through and gets it done. 

NO! They don’t! Sometimes you just can’t take it anymore. You have to stop. You have to take a minute and lie down. You have to start over. You have to try again tomorrow. 

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong with that kind of determination? The kind that whispers, “good try. We’re gonna finish this, just not right now.” Isn’t that a beautiful kind of spirit too? Not just slogging through to finish, but to keep going, a little at a time?

Sometimes, I’ll admit it, I just can’t. And so I stop. And I’m ashamed. But I shouldn’t be. Because I’m not being fair to my best self when I keep going. I may win the day when I push through, but at what cost? 

So, I’m not going to be afraid when I take a break. And even more so, I’m going to admit that I actually need one. 

(Don’t) Give Me a Break

As you may know, I took a week off from blogging last week. (And if you didn’t know that, then don’t worry about it. I’ve been here all along.)

So, why did I do it? Well, have you ever seen a sitcom where the characters pretend to drive, and they sort of wiggle the steering wheel back and forth and the scenery seems to pass by quickly, even though they never change speed? The actors do everything they can to convince you that they’re moving, when they’re really standing still?

I had been feeling a lot like that lately. I was feeling as if I was trying to do everything but doing nothing at the same time. And I had to take a break. Recenter myself. Reorganize my soul.

I thought I was doing myself a favor. I thought I would be able to get some things done that I had been putting off, that had been hard to do when I came home, when I had to type out a couple hundred of words per night. Yet, the words were still there. Even though I didn’t commit anything to paper, I was still writing in my head. Jotting down ideas for blog posts this week, a short story, a poem. I was so happy to find that everything was still coursing through my veins even though I didn’t have any way to express it.

Except when I got into bed. As you can imagine, everything was still there. I tossed and turned with the fullness of my thoughts because I had nowhere to put them or file them away. It was like my mind had to pee, and I couldn’t relieve myself of the urgency.

It turns out that taking a break from writing didn’t help me to get my life in order. It just stopped the flow of it all. (Okay, I’m seriously done with the extended pee metaphor.)

Now, I know that everyone needs to set aside some time for themselves every once in awhile. Everyone needs to take a step back from their life to reevaluate. And even though I fought it, I know that I needed to do this, too. But I didn’t like it.

During the last week, I recognized that it is much, much harder to stop a moving train than it is to try to get one to move. I know that for me, I need to be constantly progressing in order to get anything done.

In other words, if you let me sit in my pajamas all day, I will put off any chores that I had planned. But if I go to the gym and take a shower, I will knock out all of my responsibilities one by one. (And even if you let me sit in my pajamas, I’ll probably still make myself finish a book because I am all about that productivity.)

I don’t think I’ll be taking any more breaks any time soon. And I thank you for humoring me for a week because I had to humor myself. But I can’t really stop. Even when I try.

And so, I ask you to consider this: what has been holding you back? But more importantly, what have you been holding yourself back from?