Emerge Unstoppable in 2011!

Emerge Unstoppable in 2011! That's my mission this year. Join me as I blog about life during divorce, raising a three year old, and the fight to live one's dream of being a writer, a graphic designer, a prayerfully a success at it all.

Monday, April 4, 2011

ABCs for New Writers – “E” is for Expectations

Boy howdy, do we know how to have expectations! We expect to be able to stay on top of everything all the time, our kids to do well at school and in activities, our raises or bonuses to come through, and when we say our prayers, now think about it, we ask for what we expect. I’m going to ask you an honest question, and I want an honest answer…how many of you pray (or meditate) only for your Higher Power’s will and acceptance of that will? I certainly haven’t always prayed for what my Higher Power believed was best, I selfishly asked for what I wanted on my schedule. I had…expectations.

Now, I don’t want to get up on my soapbox today, instead I want to talk about our expectations as writers. You probably already know where this is going, but I could throw you for a loop. I often fool myself when I am writing so please keep reading and let’s see where this goes.

As a writer, I (personally) expect to:
Accomplish my goals, no matter how crazy and time-crunched they may be;
Publish this year;
Not get frustrated, overwhelmed, side-tracked (fill in the blank);
Learn something new about craft every day;
Never get my feelings hurt over a critique or a bad review.

You name it folks and every single time I (I can only speak for myself) expect perfection. The thing of it is we’re not perfect. We’re human; flawed in every sense of the word. But, as writers, especially newbie writers, that can be a welcome and wonderful part of our journey.

Take that list of bullet points up there, insert yourself, then see failing at every single one - you can’t meet your word count on a daily basis; can’t get published; got frustrated, overwhelmed or side-tracked for no real good reason; didn’t learn a single new thing; and you took your last critique so personally you folded into a blubbering lump on the floor. Can you see it? Feel it?

I know it hurts, but don’t give up on me yet…

“In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel "burnout" setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.” – Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama is a wise man. Don’t have impossible expectations. In fact, try not to have any at all. Instead, remain flexible. Give yourself permission to withdraw and restore when necessary.

Now, imagine loosening your belt a bit (aka lowering your expectations). Your writing goals aren’t as stringent so you’ve been able to accomplish them for the most part; a publisher has requested a full on spec; you had no real reason to feel frustrated, overwhelmed or side-tracked because you accepted each of these emotions as they arose; you learned a tiny little snippet of something new (without voraciously consuming the latest book on craft) almost every day; and your last critique offered up some really good advice from an author you admire. Now how do you feel? Things could still work out for you, right? Do you feel defeated or driven to work a little smarter, maybe change your perceptions?

If you want to find success as a writer or as a human you can’t put so much pressure on yourself. If you do the certainty is that you will fail. But if you relax, stop asking for what you want on your schedule, do the work and let things happen, then no matter how you look at it, you will have succeeded.

Do you have high expectations of yourself? I’ve just added to mine by joining the Round of Words in 80 Days Challenge (ROW80). My tiny goal for the next 80 days is to work on my current WIP for 30 minutes a day and to work on plotting the next WIP for 15 minutes each day. Will you join the challenge?

Until Wisdom Wednesday I remain flexible, open to my Higher Power’s will and Unstoppable.


  1. I am the queen of unrealistic expectations. But I am working on that; I want to learn to treat myself the way I would treat my best friend. Kindly, gently. I am looking forward to participating in the ROW80 challenge; we can encourage each other. Good luck!

  2. Thanks Pam. It's hard as a new writer not to have unrealistic expectations, but if we continue to guide one another, anything is possible in due time. - Lindy

  3. Good stuff--remember the flight attendants always tell you to take care of yourself, before taking care of others. Having known Pam since grade school, I would say that having unrealistic expectations is something we've always had in common. Best of luck to you both on the ROW80 challenge. I'm entering the Harlequin Memorial Day challenge. There. I've posted it. I have to do it now, right? LOL Cut yourself some slack and keep writing. We're listening.

  4. Hi Julee. Thanks for following along and for your comment. I'm excited to work on ROW80 and can't wait to hear about your success in Harlequin's Memorial Day Challenge. Keep me posted. - Lindy