Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Tonight the word count stands at 25,006.

I'm halfway done with NaNoWriMo - exactly on schedule and going strong for the First Time Ever. 

And feeling rather pleased about it, I might add. :-)

I know I've mentioned this before, but going in with a completely different attitude this time seems to have made the difference. 

I haven't been stressing about it, I haven't been thinking much about it when I'm doing other things. 

I definitely haven't been reading over what I've got so far.  That was always the Kiss of Death in other years.  Those were the moments when the Inner Editor would work herself free of whatever evil trap I had managed to confine her and offer to just take a small peek.

The resulting deluge of criticism would then wash away any amount of enthusiasm I had for the project.  Within a few days of her "small peek," I would give up, knowing I could never live up to my own high standards.  I'd rather not even waste my time.

The really scary thing?  She looked a lot like me, dealing with my kids.  And surprisingly enough, I got the same results.

I'm happy to say that I've had a change in attitude toward them as well.  Starting with I let them know that I love and value them.  No matter what.  Whether they are High Achievers in whatever they are working toward has very little to do with me and everything to do with them, as it will be throughout their lives.  Backing off with the criticism and perfectionism has changed absolutely nothing about their performance - but it has done wonders for how we relate to each other, and for the increased confidence and responsibility I see developing in them as they create their own outcomes.

I tell them all the time that people tend to criticize in others what they fear most about themselves.

(Note: It's actually really tough to criticize other people when you've been telling them something like that for a while.  They start looking at you in a kind of knowing way. Narrowing their eyes and nodding.  That kind of thing.)

Maybe I finally got to the place where I could honestly look at myself though that statement.  If I was  criticizing them for being lazy or for giving up too quickly or taking the easy way out, maybe that was saying more about me and my own Inner Editor's take on my life than it did about anything they were doing or not doing. 

My worries that any one of them would miss out on opportunities to live a full, satisfying, unapologetic, truly authentic life because of the lazy choices they are making now suggested that it might be my own life that needed some attention; my own choices that needed to be examined.

I've done a lot of that.

So now before I criticize (and I mean criticize, not parent*) them, I can ask myself, "Am I putting forth 100% effort?  Am I challenging myself?  Managing my time well?  Showing self-discipline? Keeping my own space clean and organized?  Looking for opportunities to pitch in and help?  Am I living a full, satisfying, unapologetic, truly authentic life?"  If I'm not, I can make the choice to go work on that first.  Setting a better example appears to be getting better results from them than all the nagging and fighting and criticism in the world was accomplishing.

They can follow that example or not.  That choice is theirs, not mine, and they are the ones who will live the lives they create for themselves.

Meanwhile, I can love them for the unique individuals they are. They really are much more pleasant people when they sense that they are loved and valued, even when they screw up or don't do everything they know they're supposed to be doing.  I know I am.

So those are my Deep Thoughts on this, the night I actually hit the 50% mark on schedule for the first time in the many years I have attempted this challenge.  I sincerely hope that my kids will have many opportunities in their lives to know how good this feels.


*criticize: meaning to find fault with, to judge unfavorably, to tear down one's character or actions  vs. parent: meaning to guide and nurture, set limits, enforce natural consequences

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