Know When to Let Go

There are some days when you feel like a superhero. Days when everything goes right, and you get everything done, and it’s as if nothing can ever stand in your way. It’s on those days when you take on as much as you can. Because you think, if every day were like today, my life would be awesome. I could feel so fulfilled, and helpful, and recognized, and rewarded. 
Depending on who you are, those days might be frequent, or rare. But no matter what, they’re almost always scattered among the “half-way-there” days, the “just can’t” days, and the “don’t talk to me” days. 
We think we’re invincible, but heroes always fall, don’t they? Have you ever taken on so many projects, set so many goals, agreed to so much work that before you know it, you’ve inadvertently scheduled over all your writing time?
Maybe I’m the only person who’s done this, but it’s never intentional. Family comes to visit, a friend needs help, I’ve had a hard day and just want to relax. And before I know it, I haven’t written anything in four days and I feel like some part of my soul has been left at the gas station. 
…not sure you’ll get that metaphor, but I’m crossing my fingers.
For me, this feeling of overexerted, overwhelmed, and overworked comes once or twice a year, and I have to stop and take stock of what I’m doing, where my priorities are. Often, I make a list–be it mental, digital, or physical–and decide what I can live without, and what I can’t. 
I remember and interview where J.K. Rowling told about her daughter, who once asked, “Mom, if you had to choose between us {your children} and writing, which would you choose?” 
Jo said, “Well, I would choose you, of course. But I wouldn’t be a very happy person.”
This is how I feel. There are so many things in life that are important to me, more important than the draft or the edits or the revision. But writing brings me joy. And when I make the list, writing is one of those things I cannot live without.  
And so, this means cutting myself off from other things. Sometimes it’s asking a friend to give me space, cutting out a project entirely, or declining an offer I’d really love to take. Almost every time, it requires some kind of break from social media because that’s my biggest weakness. And without fail, there’s a goal I’ve set that I realize I cannot possibly meet, and I have to come to terms with that failure.
Is it selfish of me to retreat to my safe place? To take an inventory of the people and things that are influencing my life and mercilessly cut out the ones dragging me down? Some would say yes. 
Some would say, you can’t just “unfriend” or “unfollow” or “purge” your social media connections. Some would say it’s impolite to ask others not to call you, or to just not answer when they call or text. Some would say you’re only thinking of yourself, not others, and that you could be a force for good if you’d look beyond your own bubble.
Well, they’d be wrong.
It is not selfish to take care of yourself first. You cannot lift others without first lifting yourself. In writing and in life we have work to do, things that need to be done. There are some things, some people, we cannot go without. And there are some we can. Those are the ones you let go of.
Part of me wonders if this post is too vague to make an impression, but I think those of you who have been through what I’m talking about here will know what I mean. I’d like to think it’s not just me. 
It takes courage to let go, to admit when you’ve agreed to too much or that life has changed to the point where you just can’t do it all anymore. If you’ve ever felt this way, know that you’re not alone. You’ll find the strength to let go, and you’ll be better for it.

Darci Cole is an author of YA and MG scifi/fantasy, usually with a romantic twist. She spends her spare time making magic wands, reading good books, eating good food, and raising two sons alongside her incredible husband.

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2 thoughts on “Know When to Let Go

  1. I feel like you're reading my mind. I have reached the point where I've decided to let a few things go and focus on the things that bring me joy, like writing. It's nice to know I'm not the only one.


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