We recently took a little family ski trip. And we did it on the cheap.
We chose a resort we could easily drive to (that was always covered by our ski passes) and booked the least expensive motel we could find. Then we packed our bags and set off.
I started to question our decision when we pulled into the motel parking lot, only to be greeted with a “Housekeeper Wanted” sign and a beat-up van with a flat tire.
But since we went into the trip with very low expectations, we were freed from disappointment, annoyance and frustration. And we were open to something different: gratitude.
We didn’t expect our hotel room to be great, so when we walked into a spacious and clean room with a mountain view (just beyond the highway, that is), we were ecstatic. Even better: there was fantastic Mexican restaurant on one side, and a well-reviewed Chinese restaurant on the other.
Our day on the slopes was cold and windy, but it wasn’t very crowded and we soaked in the views. And when we found our motel’s simple breakfast was actually quite filling, we were even more pleased.
So what’s this have to do with writing? Well, if I sit down at a blank page and expect my words to come out brilliantly (ie, have HIGH expectations), I’m always disappointed. Because for me, that isn’t realistic. My books are born through the slog of writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting some more. They’re horribly bad when their in first-draft form. But they can always be made better.
At the beginning of the process, I have to keep expectations very low. Otherwise, I may stop after the first few pages.
That’s not to say that expectations are bad. But I find in my own life, they can get me off track very easily.
So here’s to opening the door to low expectations, bad writing, and the joy that comes along in the process.