There is a saying in Romanian which goes: incetu cu incetu, invitsum alfabetul. Translation: little by little, we learn the alphabet. It’s a little of the same idea as, ‘one day at a time,’ or, ‘one foot in front of the other.’
It’s a saying that’s meant a lot to me over the years, and this week again runs through my head whenever I get scared by deadlines, or mistakes I’ve made, or dealing with hard things. Incetul cu incetul, I whisper in my head.
In writing and in life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the big picture. There can be so many things to worry about! Will I finish this last round of edits, is my book turning out right, oh god oh god, this is my last chance to change something on it, I hope I don’t crap it up! Oh no, I've spent too much time editing this page, and there are three hundred and eleven to go. What if people don’t like my book and I never sell another? How do I deal with fallout from other Life Stuff I’ve messed up?
Worries, shockingly, tend to focus on the negative. It’s never wondering about roses and buttercups that keep me up at night. It’s the fears that start cinching in around my chest.
So I whisper: incetu cu incetu. I breathe in and out. I count my breaths as a way to distance myself from all my worries and gain some control. The worries rise up and I say to them: incetu cu incetu. Focus on what you can do right now in the present, trust that things will be okay, and let go of the rest. When times are tough, sometimes it’s the only way to stay sane :)
Heather Anastasiu is the author of GLITCH (St. Martin's Press/Summer 2012) Glitch in three words: Dystopia, Superpowers, & Love :) Check out my website for more news and updates.