I completed the first draft of my memoir yesterday and sent it off for review. I had been sitting on it for a couple months, knowing that I had the opportunity to have it looked at once I completed it, yet couldn't quite manage to get it done. Jumping into it in fits and starts over those months, the task seemed too daunting, too hard, too taxing...all the things I tell myself for why I can't see a thing through to completion.
So I questioned it: why couldn't I get my manuscript done? Because the Saboteur told me I couldn't, that's why.
The Saboteur has been lording over me for more years than I can count, the fact that I never seem to finish anything. "Never" and "Always" being those exaggerations that the Saboteur is so particularly fond of to keep us paralyzed, under control, reigned in tight. Faced with the prospect of needing to finishing my manuscript, I was downright terrified.
Enter the Saboteur's partner-in-crime, Perfectionist. If the Saboteur gets edgy, if it thinks he needs reinforcements, he calls in his old pal for back-up. In my case, personally, this is particularly effective. Not only did I worry about whether I could "ever" get finished, I was convinced by the Perfectionist that whatever I did throw together would be crap. They give me the one-two sucker punch and sit in waiting, sure that my answer to all of this resistance will be "Why Bother?!?"
One of the things I vowed to do for myself this year is to question my assumptions. What is it that holds me down, holds me back, makes me careful and coming from fear? Listening to The Saboteur and Friends rather than my own wisdom.
Calling my hero, Courage, I found the guts to consider that as close as I was to finishing my manuscript, what if I just did it? Who cares if its crap? I mean, really. That's what first drafts are for; take a stab at it and see what comes next. Babies don't spring from the womb able to talk and walk; it takes time. And practice. And trying and mistakes and trial and error. Creative projects are just like children and deserve the time and the space to develop and grow and become, regardless of what others might expect of them.
The saying goes, we can do anything we put our mind to. I'd like to ammend that a bit: We can do anything we put our heart and mind to. The resistance we encounter through the mind isn't all bad -- it requires us to call upon the courage of the heart to continue on. We need both, in order to bring our best selves to our work. And to the world.
I have to admit, I expected some degree of fanfare when I clicked "send" and emailed my manuscript off to its reviewer. But there was none. Instead, there was a peaceful celebration, a content, satisfied quiet that let me know the Saboteur and his band of merry mischief makers were taking a break. If they're on vacation, it's all good. I'll take it.//