Be gentle on yourself

Doodle by Vicky Lorencen

To say mathematics is not my thing is like saying cliff diving is not a giraffe’s thing.

And yet, I am compelled to confirm an important number, so I do the math.

2021 – 1963 = 58

Yep, there it is.

I’m turning 58 years old this year. Yeesh. I’ve never been so old.

And with every passing year, I feel the mounting pressure to be published. That pressure is entirely self-inflicted, along with the self-condemnation and self-doubt. I’m really quite self-sufficient that way.

Year marker 58 was anticipated to be much the same. And then, I heard a few simple words from a wise literary agent that hit a reset button I forgot I even had.

The words?

“Be gentle on yourself.”

It’s easy to be gentle on others, isn’t it. It’s no effort to remind them how genuinely talented they are, and easy to encourage them to look back at how far they’ve come.

Maybe I can give it a go with myself too. It will be a squabblesome, disorienting pursuit I’m certain. But being gentle on myself sure sounds like a welcome birthday gift.

Say, you’re having a birthday this year, aren’t you? Why not treat yourself to some gentleness too.

Be gentle on yourself. ~ Kirby Kim, literary agent with Janklow & Nesbit

Follow your compass, not your clock. ~ Alvina Ling, VP, Editor-in-Chief, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Learn to be kind to yourself. Let your mind free, close your eyes, breathe deeply and remain calm. Life is majestic and meaningful enough. ~ Shaa Zainol

10 responses »

  1. My carefully worded reply just flew off into cyberspace when I simply thought I was undoing a word! Oh well… I just wanted to say Happy Birthday, and take heart! A member of my writers’ group published her first adult mystery novel in 2019. She was 81 years old at the time. She is now writing the sequel. With each passing year, I feel the pressure too, as if time is running out and I will lose my creative energy one of these days. After all, would an agent or editor really want to invest in me? Someone who could keel over with a heart attack any day now? But you’ve got lots of time ahead of you, and your writing is fabulous–full of warmth and humour. So I hope your 58th year will bring you all the publishing joy you can bear!


  2. Happy birthday, Vicky (and who can even remember all the way back to 58? Not me.) I have been participating in a writers’ group that is reading Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way together. One of the tasks this past week was to choose from a list of affirmations that included “I now treat myself and my creativity more gently.” Also: “I now treat myself and my creativity more generously.” Both are hard for me to follow, but I’m trying. And a final word of wisdom from Julia, especially for you on your birthday. “Question: Do you know how old I’ll be by the time I learn to play the piano? {let’s change it to xyz writing task} Answer: The same age you will be if you don’t.” Have a wonderful year of 58, my talented friend.


  3. Thanks Vicky, I needed this today. For several reasons. ❤ We are all on different paths, aren’t we? But the great thing about paths is that they always lead somewhere. Have a very Happy Birthday!


    • I’m glad this post was meaningful for you, Lauri. Even though we’re all on different paths, it’s wonderful to know they can intersect. That gives us a chance to encourage one another. Ever forward!


  4. I can empathize with you as I have a birthday this month too, and I’m older than 58. You’re just a kid to me. I’ve been beating myself up to get published too. I’ve even been considering not writing at all (my little secret). I probably won’t follow through, but the thought is there. You are so clever with words that you will soon publish I’m sure. I love your humor. Your posts make me laugh, but this one makes me think about what I’m going to do with this year.


    • Thank you so much for sharing from your heart. Thank you for your kind, encouraging words too. I truly appreciate it. Please remember to be gentle on yourself as you continue to make slow and steady steps forward. You are worthy of it.


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