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When I was a little kid, my parents were frequently reprimanding me for 'stalling.' I have no recollection what specific things I was neglecting. I just remember that word and their repetition of it tap, tap, tapping it into my identity.

After a while, it wasn't anything I had control over. It was who I was. The procrastination habits I developed, I know now, were a defensive response to an innate fear of failure and a compulsion towards perfectionism. I stalled to stave off the eventual and inevitable disappointment of my parents.

I guess in my child's mind I would have rather taken the negativity attached to never finishing anything over finishing something and find that it was wrong.

A parent's approval is a powerful motivator.

I mention this because as I sat down to update this blog for the first time since May, the word 'stalling' comes to mind. The book has stalled. There are several factors at play. Covid-19 is a large one. My lifestyle is vastly different now that it was in March, when I had what felt like an unending series of days to indulge in this... maybe frivolous... goal of mine.

I would send the big kids off to school and go to the gym. I would use their excellent daycare to watch my little one while I worked out, showered and then researched and wrote for at least an hour. I left feeling wonderful; healthy and accomplished, nearly every day of the week. I was taking time away from a full time job, my husband was thriving in his career. Life was uncomplicated.

Things are different. That is ok. The book has stalled. There is no free time, I am working, very gratefully. Husband is scavenging work here and there. All the kids are home nearly all the time. I am tired. I have not been writing.

But here is the beauty of all the work I put in on the front end of this project: It is already outlined, it is already researched, I am still 10,000 words... 10% into Vanessa VanDuyn's first adventure. The book has stalled, but that word, 'stall' doesn't carry the same weight now that it did when I was eight.

I won't say fear of failure isn't playing into my writing habits or lack thereof. But I know that this stall is 90% out of my hands. And I am just a jumpstart away from the next 90,000 words.

It will come. They will come.

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