The title of this post is taken from a route in Scotland that passes over the Arrochar Alps in Argyll and Bute. The soldiers who built the original military road across this terrain in the 1750s erected a stone at the highest point, etched with the words, “Rest and be thankful.” The name stuck, and now the scenic overview is referred to “the” Rest and Be Thankful.*
I had occasion to rest and be thankful myself this week. I finished the rough draft for Miss Delightful, a September release. I’m a trifle ahead of schedule, but not as much as you might think. Between revisions, copy edits, proofreading, and formatting, the time will pass quickly.
And no sooner do I complete that draft, than I’m asking myself, “What about the sixth Lady Violet book? You can’t publish the series until you write that. Best be about it, Grace. Or you could write the third Mischief in Mayfair book, because there are THREE cousins that we know about so far. You could least find cover art for that story, come up with a title. Don’t just sit there looking dazed and bewildered!”
There is always another book to write or revise, always research to do, and many worthwhile undertakings have this treadmill-like quality. My mother had to figure out what to feed nine people at every meal for decades. She might send her dinner guests on their way after a spectacular feast, then turn around start defrosting tomorrow’s hamburgers. There’s always another performance, lecture, meal, sermon, or workday that will need our efforts.
But if I never pause to celebrate–another draft complete!–then I am missing a significant part of the joy of being a writer. I did something–I wrote a book! Well intended people work very hard toward that same objective and never achieve it, but Miss Delightful is in the starting blocks and headed for publication. Rest and be thankful!
When a reader leaves a positive review, they are encouraging me to take a moment and be pleased with my books. When we send an appreciative word to the kitchen, we are asking the cooking staff to pause in their very busy work and take a bow. When we tell a kid they did a good job, we’re encouraging pride and joy. These things–joy, a sense of accomplish, permission to bask in a completed task–matter.
They are an antidote to burnout and an empty well. They are an honest and kind expression of appreciation. A verbal pat on the back says, “I see you, I see how hard you work, and I am grateful for your tenacity.”
Last week I wrote about the downsides of grit, but this week, I’m thinking of my own failure to appreciate what grit can produce. Rest, Grace, and be thankful–THEN write another book.
Who has appreciated you, whom do you appreciate? Is there an occasion to rest and be thankful in your life? Three commenters will go on the ARC list for Miss Delectable.
*Wikimedia attribution for that pretty photo: By Richard Harvey – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2725097