On heavy things like unwritten books and headboards trapped in hallways. Welcome to:
I will start with the moral of this story, which is: you don’t have to carry the heavy thing by yourself. Please be aware that this is also a how to story, as in, how to finally move the heavy thing you really want to move. (note: the heavy thing may be your unfinished book)
This morning I had to stop myself three different times from carrying this big wooden headboard down one steep flight of steps, plus two more sets of steps, over an icy patch, by myself to the outside door down into our basement.
Now I’m a smart woman, but I didn’t go to do this once. I did it three times.
Three times I picked up the headboard, each time remembering how heavy it was, and each time talking it through with myself (the smart part of myself will be in italics, because italics just say cunning, don’t you think?). Our dialogue:
It’s not that heavy.
Um, yes, it is. You’re using two hands and barely getting it a few inches off the ground.
Well I’m just not using my full strength.
Would your full strength involve throwing your back out?
*blank stare; feels back; slowly nods*
Okay regardless: steps. You know you couldn’t carry that and hold on to the bannister at the same time, right?
Do you want to fall down the stairs today? Not to mention ICE. DO you want to slip on ice?
As Tina Turner once said, we don’t need another hero. Wait. For. Mike.
Finally. *stays on call*
To back up a little bit, I’ll share this. A few months ago, Mike and I had gotten our very first bed frame -a hand-me-over from a dear friend- but to our dismay, excessive squeaking made it unworkable. One day, while Mike was at work, I took the bed frame down (with some help from our kind landlord and the power of a screw gun) and moved it out to the hallway, intending to get it out asap, either gifted to someone else or moved to the basement. But then holidays, plus depression, plus unexpected loss, and the frame has stayed, annoying us both, in the main hallway of our apartment.
Regardless, I really want to move the heavy thing, but it hasn’t happened. Every day, I can’t help but notice the heavy thing. It’s right there, taunting me. This morning, I decided something had to happen, so I carried the side and foot boards, which are much lighter and actually manageable, down to the basement. That felt great. But the big heavy thing is still there.
Since my mind works in strange connections, I immediately thought of how this whole thing was like writing a book, maybe the one you’ve always wanted to write. How there are manageable pieces you can do yourself (a whole bunch of writing, or even a little writing). And some with a little help from a friend (maybe a writing date). But then you get to that point when you’ve moved it as far as you can move it by yourself and it may not be appropriate or feel right to ask your friends for help again. You get stuck. And that big heavy unwritten book taunts you daily. You might not be doing anything with it, but you can’t stop thinking about it.
If you’re American (or even if not), you might feel that nagging impetus to do it your own damn self and if you can’t, to beat yourself up about that, every day.
I’m getting increasingly frustrated with this independence impetus and feel like I might need to take a big sharpie marker to my wall to scrawl: YOU DON’T HAVE TO CARRY THE HEAVY THING BY YOURSELF (if my landlord is reading this, please know I’m kidding about the sharpie). When we can’t or don’t know how to do something hard or heavy, we don’t have to struggle at the expense of our physical wellbeing and sanity. We are interconnected beings. We are stronger together. People like helping each other, so can’t we please learn to like being helped?
Any of this resonating with you? If yes, here’s a question: What if you didn’t have to write this book by yourself? And another one: Who or what could help you?
Just asking the question can help to lighten the load. Exploring answers even more so. To answer it, do some old fashioned brainstorming of resources you already have or resources you want to find. Look stuff up online. I googled “how to write a book” and 397,000,000 results came up in .75 seconds, including helpful articles, ideas, and guidelines. Reach out to your community, online (Facebook, email) or in person (the library, writing programs). Check out available courses, like Discover the Book You’re Meant to Write (I personally love this one :), and others.
At this point, you might even feel overwhelmed with the possibilities of what’s out there, so I suggest you back up and ask yourself another question: What kind of help do I most want and need?
For instance, are you someone who needs structure, accountability, or someone to meet with once a week? Do you need some basic pointers on writing? Emotional support? Someone to help you refine a sense of purpose? Someone who has done this before and can guide you through a process? Feedback on your writing?
Once you’ve answered that question and come up with the help you most want and need, use those answers as your filters to sort through the help that’s out there. To rule out what wouldn’t work for you and to call in what would. If you’re going to invest (time, money, energy) in a creative pursuit, it matters that your investment both feels right to and works for you.
As you consider your options, I invite you to check out Discover the Book You’re Meant to Write, a three month course that’s filled with heart, a balance of playfulness and structure, plus some live coaching and editorial feedback from me! Registration is now open through Tuesday, January 17, and the course begins on Wednesday, January 18. If it feels like the right fit to you, I’d love to adventure with you in this way.
I hope this is all of service to you because, without a doubt, the world needs all the brave writers it can get right now. Please feel free to reach out if you have particular questions. I’d be glad to help in your discernment.
As for me and my heavy headboard, I know that Mike could and would help me when he gets home from work tonight. In terms of the kind of help I need: well, I need someone physically stronger than me with some knowledge of how to move stuff without hurting oneself. Applying that filter, Mike looks like a great resource for me to pursue. Side note/bonus: he’s also pretty handsome and funny, and I love him.
with so much love to you and your heavy stuff,
P.S. Stay tuned for DTB Preview #4: If you’re not having fun you’re doing it wrong.
Thank you so much for reading. You might notice that I don’t have a space for comments, but I’m certainly open to conversation about what’s written here. If you’re so inspired, feel free to start a conversation with me via the contact form on the homepage of this site.