Permission to not do it all

Last weekend I was on a writing retreat in Devon. There were 18 of us, all slightly food-obsessed and we spent the weekend talking about food, eating excellently, and learning about food writing. It was energising and exhausting all at once.

By the end of the weekend, I had realised something: it is okay to not be doing everything all at once. For years now I have been focused on securing the next thing: the next achievement, the next job, the next opportunity. Each thing I’ve been doing has been a gateway to the next, and there has been little possibility of focusing on sitting with the now – of enjoying the moment, the work, or the time.

For the last few months I have been pushing on through work while also searching for writing opportunities. This is writing I do in my spare time, on the weekends, in the evenings. This past weekend I realised that it might be okay to not pursue or look for those types of opportunities at the moment. There are aspects of my current day job that I really, really enjoy, and it is actually quite nice to just do those things, to enjoy the doing of them, and to not worry about all the writing I am not doing. I can focus on what is happening now, and try to worry less about what I might be doing in two or three years time.

It is a massive challenge! It has been ages since I have been content enough to simply let things develop. I used to be a queen of not planning. I pursued work that interested me at the time, and then let things change, grow, seed. Somehow, in the last few years I have lost that ability, that ease to allow things to occur of their own fruition. I have been so focused on making sure I hit the next target that I’ve forgotten about letting things flow and germinate of their own accord. I have been so busy pushing through to the next thing that I have forgotten how to live in the now, and wait for possibilities.

I had a meeting with my former supervisor this week, and she suggested that it is okay to just be, because you never know where things might lead to, what opportunities might arise when you stop looking and chasing. It was what I needed to hear. 

Everyone at the writing retreat last weekend already had one career, had maybe had several, and it was only now that they were thinking about what else they were wanting to do, where they were wanting their writing to take them. I realised that I don’t need to be doing my current job and trying to write for publications. Not yet. That can wait.