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Camp Care Package #3: When procrastination rears its head...

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Author Sarah Suk is your Camp Counselor this week. Find all Camp Care Packages in Breaking News throughout the month of April, or learn more about Camp NaNoWriMo!

1) Begin with paying attention: 

Earlier this month, I completed the first draft of my upcoming novel. The process was an uphill climb, and when I say uphill, I mean so arduous I felt I was slowly transforming into a disheveled gremlin version of myself with every step.

When I desperately wanted to distract myself with something less difficult, I was reminded of this quote from poet Mary Oliver: “Attention is the beginning of devotion.” Devoting yourself to writing a whole book isn’t easy, but it all begins with the act of paying attention. Attention to the sentence in front of you, then the next, and the next after that.

Embrace your inner gremlin, my friends, and take it one word at a time. It’s supposed to be hard, but you can climb this mountain. I believe it.

2) When procrastination rears its head: 

This one is for all my fellow procrastinators.

If you feel the sudden urge to clean your entire home or jump into a YouTube rabbit hole as soon as you sit down to write, know that you’re not alone. I’m right there with you. “How could you do this again?” I’ll berate myself. “You’re the worst!”

A wise person, however, told me that my procrastination is not because I’m the worst, but because I’m trying to protect myself. Maybe from the fear of failure, or the pain of not living up to expectations. So now instead, here’s what I try to tell myself when procrastination rears its head: “I know it’s scary, but you’re smart enough, resourceful enough, and brave enough to deal with whatever comes your way. Thank you for trying to protect me. But we got this.”

And this is what I tell you too.

You got this.

Writing Dare: If you start to feel frustrated or burnt out, take a few minutes and pay attention to the gremlin version of yourself. What does gremlin-you like or not like about your story? What makes you feel angry or excited or scared when you're writing? When you feel like you know your gremlin-self a little better, turn that same focused attention to the words on the page.

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Sarah Suk (pronounced like soup with a K) is the author of the young adult novel Made in Korea. She lives in Vancouver, Canada, where she writes stories and admires mountains. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the water, taking film photos, or eating a bowl of bingsu. Her next book, The Space Between Here and Now, will be published in fall 2023. . 

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