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November 22, 2018

The Best Reason to Blog — 2018 Edition

Pile of leaves in fall colors with text: Writer Encouragement: Doing Our Best

Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S. The day we eat too much food, roll our eyes at the antics of our extended family, and think about all the things we’re grateful for. Or in my case, try not to worry about my pathetic NaNoWriMo word count while I grab a second serving of dessert something healthy. *cough*

This Thanksgiving post—where I express what I’m grateful for when it comes to my blog—is now an annual tradition on my blog:

And gee, what a surprise! All of you are still the best reason to blog! *smile*

Accepting What Is “Enough”

A year ago, I finally mostly overcame one of the health problems that have been plaguing me over the past few years. A year’s worth of physical therapy and new treatment made it so I could walk again after problems with the nerves and tendons in my feet. At the same time, my surgeon called a time-out on the surgeries and medication for my bone infection to let my body recover while we try to figure out the next step.

So for this past year, I wasn’t “actively” struggling with as many health issues, and I hoped that meant I could get back to the level of accomplishment I felt before. Of course it hasn’t been that simple.

I’ve been stalked by burnout and similar problems, and we also grieved the unexpected death of our cat. So I still don’t feel like I’m running on all cylinders when it comes to writing.

I could be beating myself up about that fact (and truthfully, I sometimes do), but in general, I’ve gotten much better about reining in my perfectionism and expectations of myself. That improvement is because of your reading and appreciation of my work here even when I worried I’d fallen short. It’s because even though I feel like I could do “better”—do or accomplish “more”—you all make me feel like my best is enough.

That’s a huge gift to a perfectionist like me. *smile* Thank you.

Sincerely… Thank. You.

I hope my posts here, whether craft, business, or life-related have similarly helped you recognize that your best is enough. Sure, we can always improve, and our best might not win awards or make us a bestseller, but that’s the case for most authors.

Growth and milestones will still be there tomorrow, next month, and next year. Improvement isn’t a destination, and tying a sense of accomplishment to measures outside of our control isn’t fair to us.

So rather than thinking about where and how we fall short (like my NaNoWriMo word count), we can feel a sense of accomplishment for when we’ve done our best. Everyone of you that I’ve connected with over the past years has helped me find some semblance of pride when offering my best—even if it’s not perfect.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. *smile*

Learning from Others

As I said, I hope my posts and social media help encourage all of you as well. Back when I did the call for guest posters before NaNo, several writers questioned whether they were qualified to guest post.

Yes. Your expertise is enough. Your knowledge is enough. You are enough.

I’m so proud of all my guest posters this month, and we’ve all been blessed with the opportunity to learn from them. I want to send out mega-thanks to all of my recent guest posters for sharing their knowledge and expertise:

…and next week, we’ll have:

  • Kassandra Lamb sharing Part One of a closer look at villains and how bad they should be. (Part Two will follow a week later.)
  • Deborah Makarios giving us the inside scoop on how Creative Commons copyrights work—and how we can make them work for us.

Even though my NaNo progress is pathetic, I’m still getting more words done on my story than I would have without their help. And even better, we all learned something beyond our experience because they chose to share what they know. Win-win!

So as you finish up NaNo or enjoy this weekend, just know that I’m most grateful to all of you and I hope you find peace with others. Thank you! *hugs internet*

Happy Thanksgiving to my U.S. readers
and Happy Thursday to everyone else. *smile*

Do you struggle with feeling like your best is enough? What helps you feel like what you’ve done or who you are is “enough”? Does encouragement—even from those you don’t know in real life—help you during difficult times? What connections are you most grateful for? Is there anything special you’re grateful for this year?

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Rhoda Baxter

Thank YOU Jami for your blog posts. Consistently informative and useful.

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara

Thanks, you do great work.
I am learning constantly and I’m glad that my family is all keeping well.

Glynis Jolly

“Do you struggle with feeling like your best is enough? What helps you feel like what you’ve done or who you are is “enough”?”

Jami, like you, I expect a lot from myself and feel the exasperation when I don’t do it exactly the way I believe it should be done. What helps me feel that I’m doing okay despite the struggles and mistakes is slowing down and reaching out to whoever I feel will contribute what I need: moral support, advice, or even agreement in what I am doing [which doesn’t happen often]. Because of my physical limitations, my friends via the internet have become my closest friends. All are just an email away.

Sieran

Aw, I felt very touched reading this post!! ^_^ Yes, you’re right that we sometimes find people who understand us online rather than offline. It’s so beneficial to connect with fellow writers too. I have IRL writer friends, but not that many. Most of my author friends are over the internet, and we motivate each other to keep going! I love that point you made, that even though we can always improve, our best is enough. We don’t need to beat ourselves up for not meeting some social standard or another. I am obviously not practicing what I’m preaching here. XD This reminds me of a Facebook post I saw on people with disabilities: “I don’t want to be told that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I want to be told that what I can do is enough.” About disabilities and ableism, I realise that we can have different abilities and disabilities, so able-bodied vs disabled is a very simplistic distinction. For example, a friend of mine has many health issues, like asthma, spinal pain, a lost lung, diabetes, thyroid problems, arthritis, and many others. But her eyes are perfectly healthy. For me, I do not have any of her struggles, but I have terrible eye strain, which makes it hard for me to watch any videos without hurting my eyes (bye bye, movies!), any bright phone or computer screens hurt my eyes, I have to restrict my time on the computer and phone,…  — Read More »

Jennifer Barricklow

This is the second post I’ve seen this week about “enoughness.” I think the universe is trying to tell me something. 😉 Thank you for helping build the online writing community where so many of us find inspiration and comfort and fellowship.

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