6. Just take it bird by bird, buddy
Notes from the book deadline bunker
I’m in the final month-ish on my current book deadline (a book I canNOT wait to be able to share with you, btw!); working on the final art for 40 pages of a children’s picture book, which means making slow and steady progress on 20 paintings for each two-page spread. Book deadlines, whether for the art or writing, always feel like massive mountains to climb, the pacing marathon-like, the end perpetually out of sight.
A mantra I think of often when the overwhelm arises (which is also often) comes from Anne Lamott’s beloved book on writing, Bird by Bird. She describes the memory of her 10-year old brother trying to write a report on birds that was due the next day:
“We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”
Such a gentle, helpful reminder when facing any mountain of a task that it can only happen one step at at a time. Bird by bird, buddy.
Is there anything calming that you think/say/do when you feel overwhelmed in moments of so much needed to accomplish?