I haven't read the book, written by the music director of American Idol, but I loved the title: There's No Traffic on the Extra Mile. Isn't that the truth? I don't think I've read a truer title in my whole life.
The extra mile is pretty much abandoned, isn't it?
Even those who achieve, let's say, published status often abandon the extra mile. The marketing isn't worth it, or writing that fast isn't worth it, etc. That's fine. No judgment; that's just the life they want. Nothing wrong with it at all. You have to live by your priorities, or else your life isn't worth living.
Still, it's true: once you get on the extra mile, there are no traffic jams.
We say this to kids a lot, but it's the one mantra I tell my students that they really just don't "get:" You get what you give. Or even: You get what you put into it.
I like mantras. My student's parents will often laugh, because I program these into my students real early, and the kids will suddenly pipe up with one of my sayings at an appropriate time, and they'll be like, "Where did you learn that?!"
I do believe these mantras have a power, and I hope my students will remember them at just the moment they need them, years from now.
Sometimes they're just mantras to keep me going when the going gets tough. Y'all know I've got baby fever like I've never had a fever in my life. It's terrible! Somedays I feel like I'm going to burst!
But LaDonna said, the other day, that she got through the waiting periods of her life by saying, "The universe is busy lining things up for me!"
I say that every day now. (Thank you, LaDonna!)
And Erica very generously said, a few weeks ago, that she hoped "Amazing things are in store for you this year!" (I don't know the exact wording, but it was sweet.) And I keep repeating it to myself. (And to my uterus!)
I set high writing goals this year. When I did them on January 1, I was astonished to realize I had really just made time to commit to do what I loved to do.
That was a big phew, because I wasn't exactly up for a year of burnout.
Still, as the work wears on, it's easy to turn a desire into a should. And once it becomes a should, it can slip quickly into drudgery, into the danger of becoming a don't-want-to. So I keep reminding myself that I actually can't wait to do my writing every day.
It's a little odd, though: I have to keep reminding myself to cherish and enjoy those things that I want to do.
Kath asked, today: What separates the ones who never pick up pen again, from those who, even if you cut off all their fingers, do? Along with that, what keeps you going? I answered that the universe doesn't seem to give me a choice. Every time I've been tempted to quit writing, I've needed the money. And by the time I got through it, I found my love for writing again.
But still, I need motivation to keep the enthusiasm and the dedication alive.
So how do you keep going when the going gets tough? How do you motivate yourself? How do you keep going when you find a love teetering on the edge of the should drudgery?
And do you have any favorite mantras? Any mantras I can borrow? :-)