Suits Me to a “Tea”: A Birthday Gift for You

free-giftI had a great birthday weekend. (If you’re totally confused about that sentence or its relevance, read this post.) Friends and family treated me to three great meals during which I ate more than a human being should ever ingest and still hope to retain the ability to stand.

Since I had such a great time and am very full, I want to share the wealth. Before you recoil due to the belief that I’m about to do something disgusting (like provide a photo of myself with gross, chewed food in my mouth ala what my older brother used to do when we were younger), let me quickly reassure you, starting by reminding you of the tea I received as a birthday gift.

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In a minute, I’ll tell you why I brought that up. But first, a quick word about a meeting I attended this past Saturday—the quarterly meeting of my SCBWI chapter. Our speaker talked about e-publishing and mentioned that some of her friends can write 100,000 words a month and therefore produce several books a year. The speaker also had a couple of projects of her own and hoped to squeeze in a third later on.

As I listened, my first thought was, I have a hard time finishing one project. But today, I realize that I’ve convinced myself that I have this limitation. When pressed, I can produce way more than my current level of output, as I’ve done in the past.

It’s funny how you get used to a certain level of activity (or inactivity). There was a time when I wrote three books in a year, because the book packager I worked for had extremely tight deadlines and demanding clients. When I stopped working there, I convinced myself that I was now free from the pressure to produce, and therefore, could focus on quality. But that was an excuse to slack off. I can’t say my quality increased when my output severely dropped. I can, however, put a name to this state of affairs:

Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion, including changes to its speed and direction. In other words, it is the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at constant linear velocity. The principle of inertia is one of the fundamental principles of classical physics that are used to describe the motion of objects and how they are affected by applied forces. Inertia comes from the Latin word, iners, meaning idle, sluggish. (Wikipedia)

Having tight deadlines on the job or in graduate school helped establish the discipline of regular writing. Being forced to crank out a certain amount of words every week (for some projects, no less than 10,000—12,000 words) pushed me past my comfort zone. I grumbled, but I met the deadlines. So why do I settle for less now? Picture me shrugging or sitting slacked jawed. The only limits I have currently are the ones I’ve placed on myself due to doubt, fear of failure, or fear of rejection. It’s time to go beyond those limits and reach for the sky.

Number-2-iconNow, about that giveaway: I thought it would be fun to give away something I was given for my birthday. (Um, no, I don’t plan to regift a gift.) I’m giving away two (new) tins of chocolate mint tea, one per winner. Why two? Because I’m writing a duology and 2 is the magic number. Sadly this has to be a domestic, rather than an international giveaway. But if you live abroad, don’t worry. There will be other giveaways.

If the thought of chocolate mint tea gives you the hives, I’m willing to go this route:

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Wondering how you can win one? Just comment below. Share how you’re willing to push yourself past your comfort zone in order to achieve a goal. Winners will be announced on Monday, May 5.

Here’s another gift from me to you, along with these special words of advice:

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Cinnamon sunset burst tea from Target.com. Number 2 image from iconarchive.com. Gift image from thebeautyroom.co.uk. Cat from LOL Cats.

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33 thoughts on “Suits Me to a “Tea”: A Birthday Gift for You

  1. Funny how the mind plays tricks on us. I woke this morning finding it hard to get back into the ‘groove’ after a weekend of not writing. Inertia certainly stops this train moving down the tracks. Solution – I just tell myself I’m only going to write a paragraph or two… ten times out of ten that does the trick and I finish my page count.

  2. I’m so happy you had a great birthday celebrating with family and friends, Linda! I’ve discovered the more free time that I have I’m less likely to meet deadlines. I work better under pressure and always meet a deadline when I’ve got a lot going on at once. Have a great Monday!

    • Isn’t it funny how much we’re able to produce under pressure? It’s like the story of the pearl and how it’s born out of irritation. I guess we need the constant friction of stress to keep us going. 🙂

  3. Whoa — can’t believe how beautifully the theme of your post matches our earlier email exchange re: perfectionism! Thank you for yet another post that makes me think and also reminds me that I’m not alone 🙂

  4. Happy to hear you had such a wonderful birthday Linda! Inertia is the worst… But you’re right. It’s amazing just how far we can stretch ourselves when we don’t have self-imposed limitations.

  5. Really relevant post to my life right now! I’m been pushing myself to start a new novel for a long time, and this week I’ve really tried to up my daily word count. And as much as it doesn’t make sense to me, I think you are right … the more I write in a day the better the writing is.

    I’m starting an MFA program in New York City in the fall, both of which are things that I think will push me out of my comfort zone (I’m not a city person at all). I’ve also started querying my first novel and trying to talk about it more, even though I still blush a little when I tells someone I am a writer.

    Happy Birthday!

  6. I’ve got to produce about 50K words by mid-May, read and rewrite them, and leave them all with an editor on May 29. I know I can do it, but I know what you mean about the limits we place on ourselves. I’ve written as many as 25K words in one week when I focused, so this should be a piece of cake. But all the promotional things I’ve got to do for the current book do distract from making new words.

  7. Sounds like a wonderful birthday celebration!!! Keep on writing, Linda! Oh, and I will absolutely die If I win the Chocolate Mint Tea. Mint Tea is my FAVE but I’ve never had the chocolate version. Thank you God for inventing it. 🙂

  8. I’m the same way–the more I have to do, the more I get done. (And the more that falls between the cracks, but that’s another story.) In any case, e-publishers do have a lot of pressure to produce, since output = sales — without any mediating factors.

  9. Alas, I’m in Hong Kong, and my carrier pigeon doesn’t know the route all the way to and from the US 😉 That choc mint tea sounds divine by the way, how very kind of you to give it away!

    I accidentally did a very interesting experiment today. I had 4k words left to finish Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m also in the middle of apartment hunting so I’ve been pretty busy. But I had to get the 4k words done to win Camp NaNo. Well I ended up writing 4k words in 2 hours. Because I had to get it done, and because I had viewing appointments afterwards. It’s made me realise that accountability (and deadlines) is possibly the best way to combat inertia, so I’m planning on coming up with ways to make myself accountable to others. But it’s so tempting isn’t it to relax output when we have time, and to give in to academic procrastination (which is what I call the over planning, over researching, over world building that can be done as a way to avoid writing)

      • Thanks 🙂 I was pretty chuffed but more than anything it highlighted the power of deadlines and being held accountable. If I had had the option to push back the end of CampNaNo by another day I would never have been able to squeeze out so many words. I wish I had more discipline!

  10. Pingback: “The Real Time Is Right Now” | El Space–The Blog of L. Marie

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