Happy Friday everyone! If you have a moment, visit me at my blog where I discuss the 16th president – There May Be Blood, Mr. President.
These past few weeks I’ve been on a scary journey – teaching my youngest son to drive.
Yes, my baby, the Eagle Scout has a learner’s permit. As a parent, there are many fears (some real – kidnapping, some improbable – alien kidnapping) that keep you awake at night. Your child getting their license is probably at the top of the list. Especially the realization that your child will be driving a car.
With you in it.
Now, I went through this process with my older son last summer. He was reluctant to learn and by nature is very cautious. And no big surprise, he drives that way (and I am not complaining!). I’m probably one the few parents who’s told their teen driver, “speed up, you’re driving too slow.”
Not so with younger son. During our first few lessons, in our vast local middle school parking lot, he eagerly mastered steering, braking, and acceleration. I’m not suggesting his attitude is cavalier. He does understand that he’s responsible for wielding the giant hulk of metal and to quote Stan Lee – with great power, comes great responsibility.
He’s not alone in his journey. I’ve had to learn how to let him go – to trust him and the universe (okay – honestly, I trust him more than the universe).
It sure hasn’t been easy. These are my babies!
I also noticed something else. About a week into younger son’s driving lessons I made the comment to him,”Funny, same time last year, when I was teaching Older Brother, I was writing The Undead Space Initiative.” I managed to complete that book in about 6 weeks. The bulk of the writing took place while I was giving driving lessons.
And coincidentally, the same week I started teaching younger son to drive, my word count on my latest WIP skyrocketed to almost 3,000 words a day.
What is up with that?
Upon reflection, I believe I was holding back. I wasn’t “letting go” on the page. Too much caution, too much thinking, dare I say – doubt. I had myself in a mental stranglehold. I had been writing, but it was slow, laborious, and at times, painful (you know, staring at a blank screen taking hours to get down a few hundred words).
For younger son, he’s made mistakes (none so far resulting in damage). I’m fine with that. In fact, I want him to mess up (safely, of course) because nothing teaches better lessons than mistakes!
So here is what I’ve taken away from this experience. If you find that you’re in a rut or just sluggish, give yourself permission to let go. Write crap if you have to, but don’t hold yourself back. Even if you end up chucking it all later, it’s better to try and fail, than never try at all.
And if next year rolls around and I find myself in a slump – who’s got a teenager in need of driving lessons?
What are your tips for “letting go”? And what have you been hanging onto for far too long?