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The Power of Backing Off


Sooo, I’m back in the classroom this week teaching 7th and 8th grade. When I first started working, my main worry was my girls. (Maybe you can relate?) How was I going to keep up with everything?


It turns out, I can’t keep up.


And, it also turns out, this is great news.


When I can’t keep up, the things that don’t matter die a natural death. We eat simpler dinners. The girls do their own laundry. The basement is just going to stay like that. And it’s all okay.


The things that do matter find a way to still matter, and even become more meaningful in the process.


One unexpected example of this is my daughter’s violin practicing. After years of begging her to practice, my teaching job forced me to back away. Far away. With everything going on, I couldn’t keep my head in the violin game.


But instead of dying the natural death I expected, violin started to thrive. When it wasn’t up to me anymore, my daughter decided to own it. She hasn’t missed a day of practicing now for 569 days. (I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating. I’m not.)


This experience happened accidentally. If left to my own devices, I doubt I would have had the courage to back away. But now I’m left wondering: are there other areas that can benefit from less mom interference?


In our business of raising writers, this mindset most definitely applies. When our writers share pieces with us, the less meddling the better. React as a reader. Definitely share the specific parts you like, but don’t push revision or give critique unless your writer specifically asks you for this kind of feedback. Just like backing away turned out to be my best strategy for keeping my daughter playing violin, backing away could be your best strategy for keeping your writer writing. We need to allow them to own it.


Best wishes during this back to school season,


Carrie

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