Sunday, December 16, 2012

If You Write it, it's Right Enough

I have some very unprofessional advice for you. (My friend Sherry's gonna love it.)
Write something to someone for Christmas. Don't wait for inspiration to strike, and don't sit on it until it's perfect. Just write it. 
This year has been too full of reminders that we’re all going to die someday. I have a strong suspicion that most people leave things unsaid. Undone. Unwritten.
Don’t be that guy.
I don’t mean to suggest that you hide behind your keyboard for the next three years typing the next great American novel. This "assignment" is different. If you’ve ever thought about writing something nice to a child, spouse, parent, teacher, dear friend, or cousin, but stopped because you weren’t exactly sure what to say or how to say it, just say (or write) it. Now. 
Perfect - even if it isn't perfect. 
I know it sounds really simple, but you can’t do it until you get out of your way. Here’s how: Give yourself permission to do it less than perfectly.
When you’re gone, and – let’s not be morose! – long before that, the recipient of your words will appreciate your thoughts and that you cared enough to write them down. And while I can’t offer a money-back guarantee on this, I’m pretty sure they won’t even think about correcting your grammar or punctuation.
See, sometimes it really is the thought that counts. Sherry Richert Belul, my aforementioned friend and the author of Simply Celebrate, encourages her clients to create Love Lists for all occasions. Sure, Christmastime seems like a good one; but in fact Tuesday is good enough, too. Any occasion is a good time to make a Love List, or just write a few nice words to someone you love. 

Photos courtesy of
For several years, I let nearly a ton of pictures gather dust in the “craft room,” all the while promising myself I was going to make Beautiful Keepsake Scrapbooks for my daughter. I’m not crafty, though, and I’m reallllly good at procrastinating, so a few more years went by before I finally gave myself permission to make Just OK scrapbooks. Being a writer, I added a few notes along the way. Being a writer, I should've done a better job on those notes. I could've crafted them into a story format, or at least made them neater, nicer, and more organized. 
But when I gave the books to my daughter, she didn’t say, “Wow mom, you could use some practice on scrapbooking, huh?” 
Instead she cried and hugged me. She said she loved the scrapbooks - and I’m not even dead yet. They might mean more then. But I digress. The point is, it’s easy to use “I’m not sure what… or how…” as an excuse.
Look, this time, you’re not preparing a manuscript for publication. You’re not sending a report to the boss. You’re writing a few loving words to another person. Your words don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to be written (or at least spoken) to be given away.
If you die with the words inside you, don’t blame me. 
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some very mediocre scrapbooks to finish for my son.

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