Have you ever been reading along in a book and read something that you think the author wrote specifically for you? Well, I just did, and I’m going to share it with you. But first, let me tell you about this book All Roads Lead Me Back to You by Kennedy Foster. I’m not very far into it, only 78 pages, but I’m really liking it. Honestly, the writing is not really my style…in fact, it takes a little more concentration to follow than I usually like in a book, but my friend Janet Reid talked about it on her website a long time ago and I was sold by both her recommendation and the title. Doesn’t the title just sing?
Over the last year, or whenever it was she wrote about it, I’ve tried to buy it in bookstores several times, but no one ever had it in stock. Finally, I ordered it from Powell’s. Perhaps the Universe conspired with the bookstores to keep it out of my hands until I really needed to see this paragraph and would understand how it applies to me and how to make use of the information. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I have it now. Here it is…all you need to know is this paragraph is the thoughts of a Mexican cowboy, working on a ranch in Washington state.
Himself, he had no use for lists, even mental ones: proper work led one onward, task into task, in a natural rhythm, satisfying even when exhausting. He disliked schedules and timetables. Americans were obsessed with time, blocks and strips of it, quarter hours, designated minutes. It was sad. If you like your work, why crank it around to fit the clock? he wondered. If you don’t like your work, then you are a slave, of course, and that’s a different matter. But to treat one’s own self as a slave, the patron mind driving the peon body, seemed to him perverse.
This is exactly how I work. I block out Monday through Friday and keep it free from obligations, but in general, I wander into my office sometime in the morning, and sometime during the day, I get done what I have to do. So why did I need to see this, you ask…because even though this approach has worked beautifully for me, I still beat myself up over not being more efficient. At the end of the day, I look at the minutes walked on my treadmill while writing and see it has taken me five or six hours to do ninety minutes of writing and I immediately think I have failed somehow. I think, “Tomorrow, I will be in here first thing and then I will pound out twice as much work! And I’ll also have the whole rest of the day free to do whatever when I’m finished.”
However, after reading this…I am going to embrace my natural pattern for writing. Why? Well, why not? For one thing, it works for me. And for another, I love my job. I am no slave.
Update: I have since finished the book and I truly loved it. I enjoyed it so much that I was up until the Shark Hour (after midnight) reading it on Saturday night and I usually hit the hay around 10pm! In all honesty, I will say that at times I found it a bit hard to follow and had to reread a paragraph or some dialogue to sort out the story, but it was totally worth it. It’s a truly epic tale told in a big sweeping fashion as befits a ranch story.