“This is a world of action, and not for moping and groaning in.”
There were four kids in my family and as you can imagine, my parents heard their share of bellyaching from us — mostly about each other. Whenever we’d get too carried away with all the moaning and groaning, my mom would say, “The Complaint Department is now closed.” Period. End of story.
Just today, I found myself complaining about something I had to do to my sister Stephanie and offering it as an explanation for why I hadn’t put in the time I need to on my YA novel. After I got off the phone, I realized that I’d simply come up with a lame excuse for not being as productive as I could have been — and should have been. Not a useful strategy.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about creativity it’s this: it requires energy. And complaining is a real energy drainer. Whenever I complain about circumstances or situations getting in the way of my writing, it makes me feel helpless and dissatisfied — as if what’s happened is somehow out of my control. But that’s not always true. Sure, things crop up that demand attention, but most often, to be honest, the culprits I’m dealing with are my own disorganization and poor time management: It’s me that gets in the way of my writing. Period. End of story.
Complaining just complicates things: the more you do it, the more hopeless and defeated you feel — at least that’s what happens to me. Even just writing about it here makes me feel lousy. So I’m going to stop. The solution is simple, though it’s not easy: Instead of excuses, I need action. Instead of complaints, I need creative discontent: I need to push myself forward and take responsibility for making my writing my top priority. As my friend and mentor Rob Gilbert says, 10 small words that can change your life: “If it is to be, it is up to me.” So guess what? The Complaint Department is now closed.