Don’t Push the River. . .

By Jeanine Englert

Don’t push the river.

I’d never heard that phrase until just last week. I was watching a video recording of Dinah Jeffries and Nicola Cornick from the Romantic Novelists Association’s Virtual Retreat from earlier in the month and Dinah offered it as advice for helping to have resilience in your writing career. The phrase hit me like a freight train.

I listened to her explanation, leaned back in my chair, and sighed. No wonder I was so tired and frustrated. I HAD been trying to push the river and control outcomes. A ridiculous idea when I thought about it. I can’t control book sales, reader opinions of my books, whether a proposal would be accepted, or the success of my current release. All I could do was write the best book I could and NOT push the river. It would go on its mighty way with or without my interference, as would my writing career and my life for that matter.

I laughed at the thought. Why had I done it for so long and in so many other aspects of my life? I know why. I thought it would influence the outcome. It didn’t. I can’t prevent pain or loss for those I love. I can’t make other people like what I write or even like me if they don’t want to. But, what I can do is save my energy for other things: like taking care of my health, spending time with those I love, and writing the best book of my heart at the time.

So, I challenge you: don’t push the river. Don’t even stare at the river. Just listen to it ripple along beside you and know that you can handle whatever it does or doesn’t bring into your life. And if you ever get the opportunity to: just float.

Care you share when you have pushed the river? Or even what you did to stop doing that? Drop me a comment. I’d love to hear!

Jeanine Englert is a double VIVIAN ® FINALIST, Golden Heart ® Finalist, Silver Falchion Award Winner, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romantic suspense. After years of writing in secret, she joined Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers in 2013 and has been an active member ever since. She writes Scottish Highland historicals and historical romantic suspense novels.

When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved pups, and of course mysteries with other readers on Twitter @JeanineWrites, Facebook, or at her website

Her debut novel, Lovely Digits, released in June of 2019 by Soul Mate Publishing, is a Victorian romantic suspense that won the 2020 Silver Falchion Award for Best Mystery and the 2020 Maggie Award for Best Romantic Suspense. It also won the 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award and was named a 2018 Golden Heart ® Finalist for best unpublished romantic suspense. It is currently a double VIVIAN ® FINALIST for Best First Book and Best Romantic Suspense-mid.

Where you can find me:







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3 Responses to Don’t Push the River. . .

  1. sueberger3 says:

    Good luck to you and Lovely Digits Saturday.
    I have tried pushing the river, damming the river, and swimming in the river. Only the second two work.

  2. viola62 says:

    I know about pushing the river all too well and having unrealistic expectations!

  3. janinagrey says:

    I have been using this phrase “Don’t push the river, it flows by itself,” for years with my students. It took me decades to understand the concept of letting things flow. I’m still a control freak, but now it’s more about physical issues, not timeliness.
    Great blog.

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