Saturday, April 29

Grinding Away

My friend, fellow writer Karyn Good, wrote a blog this week about perseverance. She talked about being a grinder, someone who puts her head down and gets the work done.

I consider myself a grinder. I’m usually pretty good at getting things done. However, lately I’ve been finding it harder and harder to reach the finish line. Some examples:

1. There’s the six or seven partially finished manuscripts languishing on my hard-drive.
2. I’ve got at least three partially read books on my tablet.
3. There was that blog last Saturday here on Word Wranglers that I totally forgot to write.

I’m a hard worker. So why is it that lately I have trouble finishing?

When I started writing this post, it was to give myself a pep talk and frankly, to chastise myself (yet again) for not getting things done, something I’ve done here at Word Wranglers on occasion, and in my head frequently. But then I read Kristi’s post this week about negative self-talk and being kinder to myself, and I rethought those negative feelings. If I think about it logically and with a little self-compassion, there are reasons for not making it to the finish line.

Last Saturday’s missed post was due to the renovations currently ongoing (and thankfully approaching the finish line) in my house. I had plumbers, electricians, and carpenters traipsing through the house. At the same time my older daughter came home for Easter and then stayed several days to visit. Since she lives in another province, this doesn’t happen often, and it was a treat to have her home. We went shopping, ate out, and generally had fun together. My mind completely forgot about writing the blog. I feel bad about missing a post, but I can’t regret spending time with my daughter.

My partially written books? I’m working on it. I hope to have at least three of them ready to go to an editor by the end of May. And starting several projects at the same time? I’ve come to see it as a recipe for driving myself crazy and feeling like a slacker.

The partially read books on my tablet? Maybe I spend too much time watching TV in the evenings that could be better spent reading. Or maybe reading on my tablet isn’t my preferred way of reading. Since the beginning of the year I’ve listened to several audio books and read a few print books. In the past, I read many books on my old Sony ereader. But lately I’ve found myself not excited about bringing out the tablet. Not sure why, but so what? Maybe I’ll stick to print for a while.

I still consider myself a grinder. Nothing worth having is achieved without hard worker and perseverance. That is especially true of writing. I’ve known writers who were probably more talented than me. But they didn’t have the determination and the fire that I had to keep going when things got tough. The fire and determination I still have. That’s what I have going for me. Maybe it’s my superpower.

I’m doing my best to be kind to myself. It’s tough, as it is for a lot of women, but beating myself up doesn’t get things done either. So, I’m letting myself off the hook. It’s okay if I slip up sometimes, or if it takes me a long time to get to the finish line. I know I’ll get there eventually, because I'm a grinder.

How have you been kind to yourself lately? Do you consider yourself a grinder?


  1. You and Kristi have been good for all of us this week. I've focused a lot on my shortcomings in recent months (there are so many to focus on, right?) and I don't think it's helped either me or anyone else. So thanks to you both for making me pay attention. I like "grinder," BTW--I'm for that.

    1. Liz, I have enough shortcomings to fill many blog posts. It's one thing to try to improve oneself, and another to obsess about shortcomings and allow them to paralyze. Like you said, focusing doesn't help. I'm sure if I got to meet you in real life, I would think you were a perfect just the way you are. We're always so much harder on ourselves than we are on other people.

  2. Most of the time, I'm a grinder. Head down, get the work done...but there are times that I can't do that, when none of us can. Whether it's renovations or unexpected company or stress about whatever else is going on...those are the times that being kind to ourselves is so very important. Great post, Jana!

    1. I agree, Kristina. Sometimes I just can't do it and I need to take a break. Of course, when I do take a break, I get down on myself for doing so, no matter what the reason. I'm trying to stop doing that!

  3. As stated, I'm definitely a grinder. But, like you, I'm also too hard on myself. Thanks for the reminder to think negative thoughts through and so we can see how false and deceiving the really are!

  4. I don't think there are many women who aren't hard on themselves. I really did have to think it through to get past the negative thoughts. I'm going to have to remember to do that more often.

  5. I'm a grinder at work but, once I get home, not so much. I tend to live by the last words of Scarlett O'Hara, "After all, tomorrow is another day." Lol