The other night, I decided to make breakfast for dinner. There’s a thrill in deviating from the norm, isn’t there? But, the real reason I opted for flapjacks was that they’re easy.
I had a list of writing projects on my mind. I worked on a few pieces during the afternoon and then found myself short on time for dinner. Keep the meal simple, I thought, easy and stress-free. But, even as I whipped together the batter without cracking open a book (we have breakfast for dinner often), I still created my own little chaos.
I studied the clock and wondered how long it might take to get things cooking along. I calculated the amount of edits I might get done during my late night writing time. I felt the pressure of self-inflicted deadlines.
Maybe, I figured, I could edit a few sentences here and there, in between batter drips and flips.
Pretty soon, I was praying for an extra set of arms, burning myself on bacon grease, and reading the same sentence over and over. My stomach grumbled, not from hunger but from anxiety, and my head began to swell with whispers from my internal critic.
Watch out that you don’t burn dinner.
Do you even know what your kids are doing right now?
There’s no way you’ll ever finish that story on time.
By the way, that batter’s too thick.
What happened to that quick and easy, stress-free dinner?
Then, I heard that still, small voice that can break through my insanity like the sun, when it cuts through a cloudy day, and I heard a simple solution:
Sometimes, you just make the pancakes.
You put the writing aside.
You let go of the fear of unfinished projects.
Just for now.
Make the dinner.
Listen to some music.
Amanda Hoving talks about a similar moment in her post on unruly To-Do lists. She dared to put her list aside; she embraced the day and found respite. She says, “The point is, it will all eventually get done.” She’s right.
Because, do you know what happened? I flipped one pancake at a time, cooked up some mean bacon, and set a lovely table for breakfast…well, dinner. Then, I smothered my inner critic in syrupy goodness, so that she stayed quiet the rest of the night.
And that writing? Little by little, those stories are coming together. I even sent out one submission before the deadline.
A perfect day to bask in the steam from that cup of coffee.
To mix up some bread dough and knead, knead, knead.
Make pancakes for dinner.