The tab at the top says “Ruth Ann Writes,” but Ruth Ann hasn’t been writing. More accurately, I’ve been writing, but not finishing. If you write, you understand. All procrastinators understand. The longer we put something off, the “better” we think it has to be. So we put it off longer, lather, rinse, repeat.
While not-writing, I’ve been amused to see how many others whose work I read regularly are writing about not writing, or not doing whatever it is they promised themselves – and maybe others – that they were going to do. As I was writing this, Melody Joy Kramer shared her own struggles with living up to her own expectations. She tells us: What I’m trying to say is: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Set the bar at a more manageable level. I will try to do this too.
I don’t know if Melody succeeded at setting the bar at a more reasonable level for herself, but her words helped me to adjust my own expectations. I’ve helped many authors get out of their own way in order to meet their deadlines, so I’ve experienced a combo platter of amusement and pain as I miss my own deadlines. I stumble on the same blocks I’m so great at helping my coaching clients overcome. Oh well, “we teach best that which we need to learn most.” Now that I’ve completed the “feeling terrible about my failure to keep my promises to myself and others” portion of the program, I’ve moved on to the “So what?” segment.
My clients know I love that quote from Madonna in a pre-Kardashian age, 1985. Back then, no respectable woman posed naked. If your nude pix were leaked, your career was derailed, not made. Madonna had posed in her youth, and when she became famous, the photographer sold the pictures. Confronted by reporters with the shocking news, she said, “So what?” She was supposed to be ashamed! Apologetic! Repentant! And all she gave the world was, “So what?”
For a modern take on “So what?” (minus the nudity), check out Linda Cliatt-Wayman’s talk at TEDWomen2015. After she spoke, I heard many women repeating her refrain: “So what? Now what?” No matter where you find yourself stuck, blocked, failing, or disappointing yourself or others, you can decide right now to speak those words to yourself. Whatever happened, happened. So what? Now, what are you going to do about it?
I didn’t write as frequently as I said I would.
Ruth Ann Writes.
Now, and whenever she feels moved to do so again.