Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Katy's Musing: Whirligig Days

I don't know if anyone noticed, but I missed posting last week. The day gig is a mad whirl, spinning me from point to point to point, with nary a moment to catch my breath. I come home with ashes for a brain, everything burned away by the demand of too many projects, not enough time.

It's not going to end any time soon, either. As soon as three projects wind down, another one will start firing up; as soon as that one's done, there's another one. Even if I'm stressed and end up brain-fried every evening, I'm still having fun. I expect I'm thrilled by the challenge.

As much fun as this is, though, it's having a negative effect on my writing. I'm struggling again, and I'm not sure whether it's the story or my flat batteries. I suspect the latter, so I'm counseling patience with myself. If I can only find the bandwidth to write 100 words a week, so be it. This isn't about me failing.This is about extraordinary demands on limited resources.

I'm being patient with myself for a bunch of reasons. One, beating myself up about stuff I can't help only discourages me and makes the thought of quitting that much more alluring. Two, fretting about this just means I don't get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep means I eat badly and I don't exercise, which means I feel worse physically, which makes the demands of the day gig that much more difficult to cope with. If I'm tired, I'm not creative. So pounding on myself just puts me in a downward spiral away from where I want to be, writing.

I feel like I keep repeating the same stupid story about the same stupid struggle. I probably do. It occurs me to that this is what I do, wrestle perfectionism. It also occurs me that this is okay, that this is something I'm just going to do until I die, and I haven't failed because I'm back in the ring with the same old problems. This is just my normal.

If I follow that thought, then the next time I wrestle my demon to the mat, I should recognize that it's a break, a reprieve, not a victory. We'll be back in the ring again in the not too distant future, same old opponents, wrangling the same old way.

That might sound depressing or defeatist, but I find it comforting, and deeply relaxing. There isn't anything I can do to change my intermittent doubt and frustration. What I can do is change my attitude towards it, and my judgment of myself for feeling it. Instead of thinking I've somehow done something wrong because here I am again, I can think, "Oh, yeah, this is where I end up from time to time." It won't be pleasant, but it won't be failure.

This isn't what I set out to write when I began, but I'm glad I wandered this way. I've come a long way toward self-acceptance in the last decade or so, and I feel as if today was something of a leap forward.

Maybe missing a week now and again is a good thing.