Giving Yourself Grace
There’s a reason why my daughter’s name is Grace. I need as much of it as I can get, so her middle name becomes a daily reminder to myself and others.
As a parent, it’s hard to come home, tired and beat up from a working day. Kids are yelling. (Don’t touch me, don’t look at me!) Dinner cooking. Wife tired. Long day. For men, there’s a little gear that has to turn from job to home. I tell myself, Get out of work mode, get into home mode. Like turning a skeleton key, I try and forget about work life, and remember I’m in a different place now. I also remember that from now until bed, my time is theirs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way; I don’t always make this successful switch. And when that doesn’t happen, it is oh, so easy to wish back the words that spew out of my mouth. To my wife. To my kids. (Geez, hon, I’m sorry for saying that. I just had a hard day, to which she usually replies, Me, too.) This is where Grace comes in. I apologize. To the kids. To my wife. They accept, and I make nice. Usually in the form of extra down time for her and an extra session of monster for them.
What’s hardest is forgiving yourself. You realize that every word you use has an impact on your kids’ future, and the last thing you want is to, how do I say…screw them up? Create a monster ready to emerge for their predictably difficult teenage years?
The point of all this is that Grace abounds. You need Grace, I need it, my family needs it, and as writers we all need a heaping teaspoon of it. Here’s why.
The blank page tends to try and strangle me. We’re afraid of it, so we need to cope. Try this. Close your eyes and type. I’m writing this post with my eyes closed as we speak. It’s tough, and takes discipline. But you’ve got to separate the two parts of your brain–the critical side who wants to stop with every word and edit with the creative side who just wants to let loose. Like two kids who love one another but who won’t always play nicely, sometimes you’ve got to separate them.
So again, here’s the tip: Write with your eyes closed. Then go back and edit. If the blank page frightens you, don’t look at it. And then give yourself a lot of Grace when you edit.
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