It’s the first Wednesday of the month and time for another posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
It’s a new year. A new year means having “New Year’s Resolutions”. In some parts of the world, New Year has just started… Last month, I took a good long look at what I needed to do to get the joy back in my work. I had percentages, data, ideas about what would save me time, and goals to get me where I wanted to be.
And it was all good. And for a while I still felt like I was stuck in 2021.
Then I read Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes as part of my insane idea of beating my TBR mountain. Of all the memoirs I’ve read, of all the non-fiction I’ve worked through in the last couple of months, this is the one that stuck with me. (And I read a boatload of books, most all of them excellent.)
I know a lot of people have issues with this book (though, judging by their reviews it is all personal and perhaps a bit biased). For me, this book came at the right time. I needed to have this conversation with Shonda. I needed to hear from another creative that having it all, succeeding at everything, is just a myth.
How to review this book? It’s an honest conversation between two friends (Shonda and myself) while drinking wine. She talks about how she’d have to choose between buying wine and buying toilet paper, and choosing the wine, asking me not to judge her. I’m not. I get it. She talks about always having a creative way to not say yes to anything scary – including going to award ceremonies – and I tell her it’s a perfectly good way to live. Only, as she embarks on this year of yes, she realises that it wasn’t okay and it wasn’t living, and I start to see what she means.
We both love Wonder Woman, we both think Meryl Streep is the heroine in The Devil Wears Prada – obviously a story about how hard it is to find a good assistant – and we both have Cristina Yang as a best friend.
That’s how good this memoir is. Or maybe that’s just how much it resonated with me, personally.
If you’re a creative, if you’re a woman, if you find yourself always doing what is easy instead of what is right for you, then you HAVE to read this memoir. If Shonda can figure out that her perfect life doesn’t look like what we have been told to want just by learning how to say yes, then you can learn something from this memoir. Even if Cristina Yang isn’t your best friend…
Shonda’s Dartmouth Commencement Speech
She talks about this speech in the book and what it took to be as open and honest here as she was — instead of doing Athlete Talk (saying all the right things without sharing anything of herself).
And before you start thinking I’m just fangirling here: the only show she wrote that I’ve really watched and enjoyed is Grey’s Anatomy (I watched a couple of episodes of Scandal and of her other shows, but it just didn’t pull me in).
You’re probably wondering where I am going with this. I am too. LOL.
Yeah, perhaps there. Perhaps where it isn’t easy to go, where it requires hard work (not just with writing, but with life). I like being dark and twisty, so this is a big leap. I’m also going to be working at my own pace. Trying to do all the things (as outlined in January’s post) just doesn’t work for me — it feel’s like I’m on a production hamster wheel of death. Things have to change. I have to say “yes” to doing things different. I have to say “yes” to self-care. I have say “yes” to me.
It’s going to be an interesting journey. Will you join me?
Have you read this book? If you haven’t, I’m telling you right now: go and read it! Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Do you keep your work and your life separate or do you have it all entwined?
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