I mentioned yesterday that we’ve passed another gateway in the process of getting this script to the screen: our producers love it, and the production company is coughing up cash. It is a stressful time waiting to see what comes next. A reader said: “All the best Steven, this sounds like a riveting time. Hopefully you have another project to work on to keep you from biting your nails to nothing!”
Exactly. Precisely. The “Garden” or “Machine” idea is set up to keep you so busy you don’t have time to freak out. The mind, unoccupied, eats its own young. If you spend a year writing a book, when you send it out it can be an horrific obsession that it not be rejected. That’s a YEAR of your life! But if you write a story a week, by the time you get rejected you’ve written six or ten more stories, and that one wasn’t even written by you…it was written by someone you used to be.
So…my task is to do, every day, what can be perfectly done THAT day. If I set a series of daily goals, I ask: “If I did this, successfully, every day, at the end of a year, where would I be? Five years? Ten years?”
Then, all I have to do is live TODAY. As close to perfectly as possible. Did I try to do too much? Plan on 5% less tomorrow. Dive deep. Did I exercise? Eat properly? Read? Write? Plan? Check my finances? Hug Jason? Kiss Tananarive? Tell at least one of my friends that I love them? Help a stranger? Meditate and connect with my own heart?
Yes? Perfect! Good day! Just do it again tomorrow! Don’t worry about yesterday. Nor fear tomorrow. Just…today. And today.
Better still: find the breathing pattern that produces the best dynamic flow. What combination of focus, flow, posture, and language produces the best effects? Ah! THAT one. All I have then to do is practice that breathing while I do my work, or exercise, or whatever, and let what Stephen King calls “the boys in the basement” to do the work, while I get to enjoy the benefits. That breathing can be practiced anywhere, anytime. My task is just to engage with my life, and then sink into the flow.
That means that I can practice being my best at any moment, anywhere, anytime. And you know? When I am totally engaged in what I’m doing now, I don’t think about that script, or that book, or that relationship I can’t affect at this moment.
Heck, I’m writing an ESSAY about dealing with the stress waiting to hear about that script, and I’d forgotten that’s what it was about, because I was so immersed in the process of writing this! THAT’S the stuff, right there. To do your best, you have to do the very best you can, be totally engaged, without being attached to, or obsessing about, the results. Otherwise, you’ll chew your fingernails to the elbow.
No, thanks. One day at a time. One breath at a time. With clear goals, faith, constant action, and a sense of gratitude every step along the way.