Thursday, March 6, 2014
Where I've Been (part 1)
A tornado-like build-up of everything happening all at once stressed me to the max, all but paralyzing me. It sapped me of my concentration; the ability to focus on anything, gone. My ‘get up and go’ had pretty much left the building, and my gumption and drive had evaporated into thin air. I was overtired, stressed-out and not sure which end was up. The perspective I had always used to rationalize life’s little upheavals was gone.
I love to read – I couldn’t concentrate. I walk in the early mornings for overall health – I couldn’t be bothered. I write in the early mornings because it’s what I do, who I am – I was paralyzed. I would sit down every morning to write and would freeze.
My writing productivity was almost non-existent. Sure I’d religiously sit down at the computer every morning, but I was lucky if I was able to get a few thoughts out, never mind a few words. I kept creating daily writing goals, but despite my determination to fulfill them I couldn’t and it was bringing me down even more. As well, this poor little blog that had served me so well began to suffer.
As each unproductive day went by I became angry and frustrated – with myself. I beat myself up for letting things get to me; for allowing them to consume me. The stresses and worries I had were valid; my family and their health and needs definitely took precedence over everything else and I truly wouldn’t have it any other way. But I was in a funk I didn’t like.
After a month things slowly started to turn around, and all the things that were previously worrying me were slowly righting themselves. Added to that, I received some fantastic writing-related news, and I wanted to be excited about it. A lot of negatives turned into positives, and the tornado left my world to go mess up Dorothy’s life.
I could enjoy a book and I returned to my early morning walks. Bit by bit I got back on track.
But the writing scared me. Had I lost my mojo? Would I ever get back to where I had been? I’m a busy momma, and finding and keeping time to write is challenging. Would my short, early-morning writing sessions be enough to get me back on track and keep me there?
I (try) to write every day early in the morning when everyone’s in bed. The kitchen – the nerve centre of it all – is where I write, and I soon realized I was letting household chores distract me. But by enabling distractions what I was really doing was procrastinating; shying away from dealing with the low confidence and fear I had developed during the previous non-productive writing month. I was scared to try and write, yet I was desperate to work on my almost-finished novel. I wasn’t giving myself a chance to try, and I blamed everything else for my stalled writing. I needed some uninterrupted time to try to get back into it, and I needed that time to be away from my usual writing place of the kitchen.
And then I had an idea. I had always been curious about those who write in coffee shops. Would the noise and distractions be too great? Would I look too cliché?
I decided maybe there WAS something to it. Maybe the fact there would be nothing else for me to do in the coffee shop BUT write would be just what I needed. True, I could so easily get swept-up in internet surfing, but I didn’t have to sign-on to WIFI (I wouldn’t know how, anyways). Or I could just as easily while away the hour with a good book - if I brought one, that is. Or other people could get on my nerves, but that happens every day, anyways. Or, even better, I could sit and stare into space – a real treat in my busy life.
By then my frustration and anger had given way to determination. I simply had to get away and try to write. There was a coffee shop not too far from home, and I could bring my iPod and ear buds to serve as ‘earplugs’ and to act as conversation deterrents, should anyone dare talk to me. I would ONLY go for an hour, and ONLY write for an hour. I made sure my goal and intentions were not overwhelming for my first time back in the saddle.
And suddenly I was excited! Maybe I COULD do this! This could be the final step into getting back to normal – whatever normal was in the first place. Maybe this could be a new ‘routine’ for me. But my excitement was soon peppered with apprehension. If it didn’t work out, I consoled myself, THAT’S OKAY. My enthusiasm fueled my miniscule confidence and I had hope that maybe I could, eventually, get back to where I had been.
Feeling very writerly and very SoHo, Manhattan (even though I had never been there before), I stowed my laptop, iPod, notebook and a few pens in my über-professional laptop/tote bag, and on a rainy Saturday night, I stole away to a nearby coffee shop...
...wearing my grungy old sweats and my hair tucked up in a cap sporting a Barbie logo.
Not very writerly, indeed.
(stay tuned for part 2 next week - hope you'll come back!)
Thanks for reading,