Tag Archives: writing

Balance or Burn Out

low battery
Literally how I feel right now

13 days into the New Year, and already, I find myself having to give myself a stern little talking to this morning, after seeing how events have unfolded, particularly over the past week. I never really did go into what all of my goals for the year were, at least, not publicly, but loosely, they probably looked a lot like many others goals- eat thoughtfully. Get consistent exercise. You know, take care of myself in all the ways that matter to ME. I tried to be pretty specific, and even wrote out recurring appointments for myself in my planner.

My planner, which I haven’t so much as cracked open in at least the past seven days. You see, my BIG GOAL this year was to focus on writing- ALL things writing, which you have, if you pay any attention to my blog at all (and thanks, by the way, for doing that) probably noticed I have been doing quite a bit of. Anyway, writing was my big goal, and, as I do, I went whole hog into it. Not just blogging- that is more of a secondary interest for me, a way to connect with other writers- but my novel, which is coming along freaking brilliantly. I am not kidding, I am in LOVE with that project right now. I started the month by cutting three finished chapters (which, by the way, was basically like murdering family) that were really not working, and starting over. Best thing I ever did. I got the story rolling again, in a direction that fit much better, and I have really gotten into my writing groove.

Like, really really really gotten into it. To the point of exhaustion. Brutal, terrible, this-isn’t-good-at-all exhaustion. Combine that with my other big goal this year- to be CONNECTED with others (meaning, spend the time I am not writing basically socializing) and already, I found myself hitting a wall. Tuesday night, I ran my women’s meeting, got home, got to bed late. Wednesday, worked all day, got off work, went to an event (which I will tell you all about tomorrow) with a friend in Santa Cruz, got home late, went to bed even later. Thursday, I worked all day, got off work, went to work my other job for a little while, got home, met up with a friend that I am going on a trip with next fall so that we could start planning. Got to bed late again. Friday, I was sitting at my desk at work, and…I kind of lost it. I thought I was getting sick, but I KNEW I needed to lay down. I took the rest of the day off, went home, and didn’t get off the couch again for the rest of the night. Except for when I went to Taco Bell and bought one of everything on the menu. I left the couch for my bed at 7, and slept like the dead. I didn’t even wash my makeup off last night- I barely remembered to remove my bra. I just checked, and yes, I actually slept in my clothes.

I didn’t make it to the gym last week, not once. I ate terribly, at least one really bad meal every day. Oh, and I decided that waking up at five wasn’t early enough, by the way, so I have been getting up around 4:15. Look, you’d have to be blind not to see that a schedule like this is going to lead to burn out. Now, as I sit here in yesterday’s clothes, with yesterday’s mascara clinging to my eyelashes, I am having my come-to-Jesus moment. I can’t do this…not like this. I have to pull back a little bit.

Look- the concept of “balance” is kinda played out, I realize this. The idea of having a perfectly balanced life is utter bullshit. We are messy, fucked up little human beings, and we can’t even find our keys, we have kids who never have any idea where the hell their shoes are, and even when we can find our keys and their shoes, we get halfway to work and realize our coffee, their back pack, etc., is sitting on the kitchen table. Balance isn’t ever truly going to be achieved. It’s a myth. Once in a while, you are going to have a perfect day- enjoy it. That is not how life really is.

BUT: You (and I mean “I”, obviously, as well) do have to try to take care of yourself in the basic ways, the ways that fuel and tend to your body. And I have not been doing that, not by a long shot. I haven’t slept enough. I haven’t eaten right. I literally drank maybe two glasses of water all week. Now, I am paying for it. After all that sleep I just got, I could still crawl back into bed and sleep the day away.

So, what is the solution? Well, I am NOT going to allow myself to sleep all day, because that won’t help at all. What I will do, however, is drink some water today. Hit the gym. Pick up some groceries and make sure I have healthy options available this week. And I will get to bed at a decent hour tonight, knowing I will be right back at it at 4:15 tomorrow. It’s great to have goals, and drive, and I love the passion I have for my writing, but…what’s that saying about the marathon and the sprint? Yeah, it’s the longer one of those. Yawn.

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Time to Jump

time to jump

 

According to some stats I found on my blog yesterday, this should be about my 210th blog on After the Party. So, there is a good chance that I will embarrass myself by repeating one story or another, or talk about a new goal I have that isn’t new at all. I am not about to go review over 200 blogs just for the sake of originality, no way. So if I am saying something that sounds awfully familiar, please cut me some slack. Chances are, an entirely different version of me wrote whatever you read, and for this version of me, my ideas are fresh and exciting. I mean, to me at least, they are.

So today is the very first day of 2018, and I don’t know about you, but I am EXCITED about the fresh start of a brand new year! It’s kind of a new thing for me to be starting from an already really good spot, and not having any massive hurdles (i.e.: drugs, cigarettes, horrible relationships, etc.) to get over before I can get to the good stuff. I am already ass deep in the good stuff, and just ready to take it to the next level. This is all new territory for me, and boy do I feel good about it. I am so grateful.

I woke up at five this morning, like always, and I sat down and wrote out, by hand, my goals for the coming year. I broke them down into different areas of my life, and then made little lists under each area. Then I busted out my brand spanking new planner (This year it was recommended to me by a dear friend to purchase the Desire Map Planner from Danielle Laporte, so I did.) and wrote in what I knew I would be doing this coming month. Let me tell you, this is not something I have done before, and it feels great. You know what else feels pretty great? I believe I can actually pull all of it off. I feel it in my bones.

On the cover of this planner it says “What I will do to feel the way I want to feel” and, through this planner, as well as a coaching session with my friend Stacey Sarenity , I got to learn about what my “Core Desired Feelings” or CDF’s, are. I don’t know too much about all of it, other than it’s a great way to suss out what it is you are truly after by understanding what it is you want to feel like and what your life would look like based on those feelings.  Stacey knows all about it, so check out her website if you want to learn more. I, on the other hand, really like the way this planner is set up just based on how much I was able to pull from myself out onto the page this morning. I feel equipped to master the coming year in a way I have not before. I don’t have any of that weird fear I generally associate with change or going after something I want, maybe because I am not afraid of failing. I can’t FAIL- my goals aren’t like that this year, and I am not like I have been any other year. There are good things ahead.

For those of you who don’t know, I am, and have always been, since the moment I knew how to spell my name, a writer. This may seem like a forgone conclusion, given that you are reading a blog I have written right this very moment, but…not all bloggers want to be writers, right? They are writing for various reasons, and don’t have aspirations beyond that. I do. I know I am not in the minority, here, but I just want to announce myself and state my intentions- this year is going to be ALL about writing for me. I am in the middle of a novel I have been working on for months and months- honestly, way too long- and I have given myself a firm time frame for finishing both the writing and the editing. I have short story goals and contest goals and lots and lots of writing goals this year, and you know what? I am going after my dream with gusto this year. I was thinking seriously about going back to school for something totally unrelated to writing- another thing I would probably be really good at, but- and it suddenly hit me; Why in the world would I pursue something OTHER than my dream? How does that even make sense? I LOVE to write, I have since I was seven years old…so why would I consider pushing that aside, yet again, to do something else?

The answer was pretty clear. It was because I didn’t believe in myself enough, I didn’t believe I could make it as far as I wanted to, I didn’t think I was good enough. If I went ahead and went after something else, the odds of me finding the time to devote to any writing at all were pretty slim. I’m not okay with ANY of that. Listen, I AM a writer, and whether or not it becomes what I dream that it will be, I have to honor the thing I love, the thing that brings me joy and elation. It would be stupid to continue to turn my back on this thing, right? So I am jumping in, both feet. I am not afraid at all, because I know it is what I am supposed to do right now.

Holy cow, this blog just got long. Well, I have a few other things- I am going to be writing here more consistently, and I will have a rotating format of things I write about. Expect to see more from me on Thursday and Sunday (maybe Saturday, I’m going to see how it feels) and expect to see blogs about recovery, of course, writing, health and/or lifestyle, and probably some personal stuff. I can’t wait to follow more blogs and connect with more of you, and hopefully grow a little in the blogging world.

Sorry this was so long, God! Too much coffee, I guess! Have a wonderful New Year’s day!

Over November

november rain

 

I am here, finally, to report that I made it through fucking November. You probably don’t even know why this is such a big deal, and quite frankly, neither do I- all I know is, for whatever reason, November is a HARD month for me. I seem to backslide a lot in November, and if you follow my blog at all, you know what I mean. If you don’t…sigh…I’ll just say it for you, but you really should go back and read some of my other stuff. It’s pretty entertaining. Anyway, I have a tendency to suffer terribly with addiction in the month of November. Actively, if you catch my drift.

Anyway, that didn’t happen this particular month. I think, this time, I was prepared for the weird onslaught of less desirable feelings I am beset by when the days get short, and it gets cold, and everything seems so hard to deal with. I basically gave myself permission to slack off in every other area, as long as I could just get through the month okay. That was my mantra- “Just Get Through This Month”. So, knowing what to expect, and cutting myself some slack, it seemed to do the trick.

It didn’t really hurt that I spent a week of that dreaded month in beautiful Maui, where November, apparently, does not hang out. They just double up on June over there. So I had an extra week of summer, which may have sustained me. I have been trying to figure out how to get back there ever since I have been home. I am not even kidding.

But now, sitting here, safely ensconced in December, I realize that, hard as November may be for me, it has also been a learning month for me. I have finally learned that this month is hard for me, and if I don’t want to be in big trouble, I need to formulate a plan to avoid it. Not the month, the big trouble. I have learned that I need to talk about it to the people I talk to these things about, and recognize the thought processes within me that lead me to dangerous ground.

November is a teacher, and this time I aced my exams. But still, I am glad it is over.

I know it has been a long time since my last post, and I feel really bad about it- especially since writing is, like, the best thing I know how to do. But sometimes, it’s just necessary to do what you have to do for yourself. That is what I have been doing. Hopefully, I am back for a while. 🙂

Why You Should Probably Keep Smoking (Just Kidding)

cigarettes

I’m going to tell you the truth- I just don’t have a single thing to say. I have spent WEEKS, now, avoiding this website. This morning, as I woke up at four a.m. (the way I used to every day before I quit smoking) I could no longer avoid it. So I sat down here, and started to write. Only, every word of it was shit, so I deleted it all, and started over.

The problem is, I still am not in the mood to write. I don’t know what the story is- I have plenty of things to write about. My life is full, and interesting, and funny. I am really into my recovery right now, and I’m on this really beautiful spiritual journey, I’m really getting my meditation practice down, I’m working hard on my parenting methods…I quit smoking, I’m getting a roommate for a while to get myself out of debt. But I don’t feel like elaborating on any of this stuff.

Which is not only a damn shame, because I have always loved to write, but it’s also a damn shame because I feel like a lot of the stuff I go through, a lot of the conclusions I come to, they could be helpful to other women…other anybodies, really.

But I don’t want to. And I think it’s because I quit smoking. I’m not even kidding around, I think not smoking cigarettes is killing me in a different way than smoking them was. I think NOT smoking has destroyed my creativity.

It used to be that when I was writing, and I was really caught up in it, really into whatever I was saying, I would have to take a lot of little breaks to go take a puff or two. Now that it has been over a month since I quit, that whole scenario I just described seems weird and nonsensical, but it’s the truth, it’s what I did.

And now that I have quit, I don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning. Like, I used to leap out of bed every morning at four, and I thought it was because I really was just a morning person, but now ? I think I just really wanted a cigarette all the time. Now, My alarm goes off in half hour increments until fifteen minutes before I need to leave for work- and only because that is when I finally crawl out of bed. Without my beloved Marlboro 100’s, I have no reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Isn’t that pathetic? Eh, I guess I am in mourning. I hope my desire to share my life with others through writing returns…but even if it never, ever does? I gotta tell you- I still don’t think it’s worth smoking over. I want to be around a long time for my kids, so smoking isn’t really an option for this particular person.

Have a great day

Who The Hell Are You, And Why Have You Come Here?!

Me and the daughters in question.
Me and the daughters in question.

A little while back, I signed up to do the blogging 101 thing through WordPress, which is kinda weird, I know, considering I have been blogging for a pretty long time now.  The thing is, I just sort of jumped into it blindly (the way I do most things) and thought I would figure it out as I go…and I have, pretty much. But…you know…my following could be better (maybe my WRITING could be better, I don’t know) my stats could be better. I could be more consistent. Anyway, I wanted to see what I had missed and what I could do better, and maybe connect with some other bloggers.

Of course, my life picked the day that the assignments began to sort of go off the tracks. So I have decided not to let that deter me. I am going to try to catch up with the three or so assignments I have missed, and carry on. Writing in hugely important to me, and I need to make time for it (in all its wonderful forms) in my life the way I do everything else. Okay? Okay. Here goes:

My name is Courtney, and I am a single mother of two kids (thirteen years apart), both of them beautiful girls. One a teeny little thing, the other a young woman, now. I often write about my kids. I am also in (and sometimes out) of recovery, as in, twelve step, have a sponsor, know a lot about drugs…yeah, that kind of recovery. I don’t repo cars for a living, not that kind of recovery. I write about that quite a bit. I am a big dreamer and a deep (some might say over) thinker, and lots of times I write about my hopes and dreams for the future, or just my feelings. I have a big, sick sense of humor, and sometimes I am funny.

My blog is not super focused on one subject, and that is something I am trying to decide if I want to change or not…part of me likes it as it is, and thinks maybe I should start a separate blog that has a theme, (i.e. parenting in recovery, or something like that), part of me thinks I barely have time for this blog, so maybe adding a whole new thing is not such a good idea. I don’t know.  The jury is still out.

I am hoping to connect with other writers like myself- people who view parenting (and life) with humor. People in recovery who are so grateful for their lives. People who believe in the power of setting goals and having dreams. People who write about all of that stuff. 🙂

Well, I have to go to my real job now. Expect several more (extremely short) blogs such as this from me in the very near future. I am committed! Have a beautiful day.

A Few Things…

don't give a fuck

The first thing: I really need to sit down here and write whatever it is that I feel compelled to write, when I am feeling the compulsion. I need to finish whatever it is, and I need to then publish it. This used to be a pretty straightforward cycle for me, but all of the sudden, I have started dragging my feet, over-thinking, stopping in the middle and then abandoning nearly finished blogs altogether. It seemed like a phase, at first, but now it looks suspiciously like a bad habit. I have enough of those already, thank you very much.  So, I am going to try to do that- sit down while the sittin’s good, write until it is written, and then publish it. I don’t want to alarm anyone, but you guys are really missing out on some great and brilliant musings because of my selfish withholding, and it has to stop.

The next thing: My only New Year’s Resolution this year was to give zero fucks what anyone may or may not be thinking, saying, or feeling about me, due to an inordinate amount of time spent obsessing (by me) over what everyone, from the mail man to my mother, those thoughts, etc., may be. I am rapidly closing in on my 40th birthday, and I’m very tired of giving so many fucks about imagined, and real, opinions about me, my life, and whatever else. I mean, who fucking cares, right? It’s exhausting, and I have vowed to quit it. Unfortunately, as is often the case when resolving to change something, I find that I am either giving a lot more fucks about the above mentioned things, or I am just hyper aware of all the fucks I give. But I have gotten good at recognizing the tension that creeps into my body when i start giving a fuck, and I can quickly relax into the “give a fuck” contraction, and breathe my way out of it. Seriously, though, I would like to be able to take in someone’s advice, opinion, or even their shitty, backhanded compliment, and not take it ON, like it’s automatically a fact, or a misconception of which I must convince the sharer otherwise. “Oh, really, you think I could improve my parenting skills? Well, aren’t your thoughts straying far away from home these days, eh? You have a nice day.” “Sooo…you have some advice I didn’t solicit about how I run my life, huh? Wow, and you’ve never even been to my house, met my kids, or seen me outside of a controlled environment. I’m just going to keep texting while you talk, but I am totally listening to you.” THAT is how I would LOVE to be. Instead, I am more like “Oh, shit, the neighbors are watching me parallel park…I’ll just…I think I can pull straight in, there’s enough room. SHIT. I’m twenty feet from the curb, I’ll do it the other way. Why are they looking at me? FUCK. They probably think I am such a lunatic. Oh my God, I am STILL ten miles from the curb. Fuck it, I am just leaving it, I don’t care if I’m in the middle of the road. if those assholes weren’t sitting there, judging me, maybe I could park my car like a normal person…” And this is just me, parking my CAR. There’s a part of me that knows how insane my thinking is, and that they probably don’t even notice what is happening at all. There is a part of me that understands, even if they are gawking at my shitty parking job, why the fuck should I care? I mean, it doesn’t matter. But the bigger part of me is hysterical, loud, and incredibly anxious and sensitive, and she wants those gawking assholes to be in AWE of her mad parallel parking skills. She is the one I am trying to mellow out a little bit.

My hope is that I can bring my “no fucks given here” policy to my blog, as well. I would like you to share your feelings and opinions with me here, with the understanding that I am hearing what you are saying, and I am not going to allow it to embed itself on my skin like a tattoo. I am not even going to put it in my saved file unless it really is worthy, and I will offer, in return, full disclosure when writing, no matter how annoying that is to my mother. Feel free to not care a whit what I am telling you, of course. I am not there just yet, but that is my goal.

The last thing: The other reason I think I need to get on here and write, as close to daily as I can is this: I am just drowning in good material these days. And if I don’t use it, I lose it, or at least, the real essence of “it”, when we are referring to writing. You have to get it out when it is consuming you, because it can die down so quickly, the fire that flares up when one is taken by the muse…anything written when the steam is dying down is going to be less engaging. For me, in my writing, anyway.

Today, I had a horrible day, which means I learned some stuff. The lesson today was this: No matter how incredibly dramatic and awful things appear at first, they almost always simmer down to simply lame and tiring within hours. So getting all hysterical over stuff is pretty much a waste of time. The secondary lesson was: You will instinctively know when it is high time you put your foot down, stand your ground, and defend yourself, and you will also realize that you are a pretty decent human being, all things considered. You, I mean I, do not have to deal with manipulation or bullying from anyone, and I won’t. So THERE.

Well, I am afraid that everything from the second paragraph on is a run-on sentence, written in Pig Latin, but I am not going to check. I am just going to get this published. Besides, everyone knows Pig Latin, anyway.

My Day, So Far (This is probably not a good blog for men, today. You have been warned)

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“What a weird title for a blog written at five thirty in the morning” you may be thinking to yourself, ‘how much could have possibly gone on in someone’s day at this hour?’

Well, let me just tell you- although most of the people I know are still in bed right now, and a few of you are just getting up, I get up at four, every morning, ON PURPOSE. I know, I know, that is like the middle of the freaking night, and it’s a little weird- especially now that it doesn’t even get light out until about seven, pretty much. But I do it because it is the only time of the day that I can legitimately claim for myself.

I used to (like, until right now) say that I get up this early to write, which I do, but as you can see, it is now almost six (and no, it did not take me almost a half an hour to come up with those first two brilliant paragraphs, I was rounding down. It was really like five forty seven, Mr. Literal) and I have gotten very little writing done. Sometimes, I get up at four and get no writing done at all, ever. But I do get several hours owned by me, to do with as I wish. I am not on the work clock or the mommy clock, I am on the Courtney clock, and sometimes, these tiny hours way before dawn are the only thing that keep me hanging on to sanity. I would also hazard a guess that they are also the main reason I can’t stay awake past seven in the evenings, but I try not to think about that. Nothing good happens past seven anyway. Right?

Anyway, I get up, I make coffee, I grab my phone and my latest book, and I get started on my me time. The first thing I do is check Facebook, and I get all excited because I have like twenty notifications, then I get all disappointed, because eleven of them are comments to a conversation I didn’t care about to begin with and only commented on myself to be polite, six of them are other people liking something I wrote to be polite, four of them are game requests from people who should really be sleeping, and there is always one weird one from a guy I am not sure I actually know, and I can’t tell what he is talking about, but I think he is hitting on me. Or possibly a serial killer, so I can’t delete him, because I want him to feel like we are on the same page, so I am not his next target. That seems like it is probably more than twenty, but I am not going to check. This is an example, anyway, not a word for word alibi or anything. Calm down.

Then, I check my WordPress stats ( Apparently I spelled “wordpress” wrong. Twice.) Actually, in case you haven’t caught on to this yet, I don’t even have one single relevant or interesting thing to say today. The sole reason I am writing this at all is because I am such a Word Press (I guess it is two words? You would think that since I am literally writing IN WordPress (aha!) right now, I would be able to see it written on this page somewhere, but it isn’t) junkie, I am terrified to skip a day, now. Yesterday, I broke the record number of views from the day before, and so now I feel compelled to keep going, knowing there is a real danger that I am boring you to death because I am not really saying ANYTHING. So, I check my stats.

Then, hopefully, at that point, I have something funny or interesting (at least to me) to write, and I just can’t keep from writing it. That is not the case today. All that happened so far today is that I went to the store in my pajamas (although I did put a bra on first) because we needed cat food and tampons, because the only tampons in the house were like super-ultra-extra-amazing-power tampons that I clearly grabbed by mistake. I don’t even want to contemplate who would need a tampon that large. You shouldn’t have to brace yourself when it comes to feminine hygiene. Actually, now that I think about it, almost every part of feminine hygiene requires that you brace yourself, doesn’t it? But it shouldn’t, not when we are talking about tampons. Also, we needed bread. So, my me time was punctuated with some household chores, but if you have ever tried to write a blog with starving cats meowing accusingly at you while trying to figure out how to comfortably sit with an industrial sized tampon on board…you are stronger than I am.

Well, that was fifteen minutes of your life you are never getting back. Plus, my mom is going to be disgusted with me for writing about tampons. Sorry, mom. Someone needed to broach the subject.

I promise to be less offensive tomorrow.

Some More Whining From Me. Enjoy.

Stressed man and laptop

I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety, lately (which probably means I should be meditating rather than writing this, but whatever), and I know I have written about this in the past. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what I wrote, so there is a good chance I will be contradicting myself. If so, please forgive me. I am a really wishy washy human being, and my ideals pretty much change with my mood. This isn’t so bad in real time, but when you write a blog, and state certain things as facts, then forget about them and write something totally different later…you look a little silly. I guess I am alright with that. I mean, I’m not really alright with it, but I simply don’t have time to do the research, and make sure all my stories jibe. I’m not a liar, I’m just subject to my own whims.

Anyway, about my anxiety. Yeah, it sucks. I am having a really hard time at work again, and it seems like I can only hold up for a really short period of time these days, before I am back in the realm of lousy productivity. It’s no great mystery why this is- I am painfully, incredibly, horribly bored. I know I have said this before, too. I don’t know why I would expect it to change. The worst part of all is that I love the place I work for, and I love the people I work with, and I make really good money…wait, maybe that is the best part. What I am trying to say is that there are these great things about this job, but the bigger part is always the work, and the work has become intolerable, and how do I possibly go on? How do I possibly leave? What would I do then? I know so many people who just buck up, knuckle down (is that even an expression? I think it is, but it is still very early, and those words make very little sense to me at this point) and do what they need to do, to the very best of their ability.

I am just lousy for that, though.  I am the kind of person who just fucking suffers when faced with a task that holds no interest for me. It feels an awful lot like lying, which I am also intrinsically untalented at. So, like much of the rest of my life, I am just sort of bumbling along, hoping something makes sense, eventually. I know for a fact that I have said before that happiness is a choice- and I really believe that to be true. But sometimes the choices you have to make to really be happy are not readily apparent, or easy choices to make. The thing is, I don’t want to do what I do, but I don’t know what I do want to do. I mean, writing, obviously, but what are the odds that some magazine or weekly periodical is going to come banging on my email, offering me a starring role in a great new column, because they heard…nothing, ever, about me? And when you are the single mother of two beautiful daughters, you just don’t walk away from THEIR security so easily…if it was just me, I wouldn’t give two thoughts about it, but it’s them, and I like them, and want to keep them, so…so, off to work I go, I guess.

You can see the source of my anxiety, right? I believe happiness is a choice, but I am not happy, so I must be making the wrong choices. I am a huge fan of gratitude, and I am grateful…for some things, but not others, and I feel guilty. I crave security, and I have it, but I can’t stand the price of it. And worst of all, I realize how these are just top shelf problems. I have so much, how dare I whine about it? There are so many people, people I know, who are struggling in ways that I haven’t had to in so long…shouldn’t I be ashamed of myself for complaining? I don’t know. There is a lot to puzzle out here, and I will definitely revisit this until I find an answer.

In the meantime, there is just enough time left for me to meditate before I have to leave for work. Sigh.

The Writer’s Dilemma…

blogshakespearecomic

I have started working on a new story, so what is happening is what always happens- I am finding it harder to come up with the time and energy to devote to this blog. It’s funny, because they are such different things, and both of them give me something I want. Blogging has the immediate reward that I love- I have the ability to see who has read what I have written, who I have reached, who enjoys my writing. I get that immediate gratification that I love so much.

When I am writing a story, though, it is different. The story starts to materialize in my mind before I ever sit down to start sketching it out. It always starts like this- I am washing dishes, or walking my dog, or sitting on the toilet, and my mind goes “what if…say a girl was walking her dog early in the morning, like this, and they were by a cemetery…and the dog dragged her into the cemetery, and she lost the leash, and when she was trying to grab it, she fell…into an open grave…” Or maybe I start to see other parts of the story first, and then that first part comes to me. Eventually, it becomes almost painful not to start writing it out. I don’t get any immediate feedback on it, and most of the stories I have started, I haven’t even finished, for one reason or another. I lose interest, or something happens in my life that takes me away from writing, and when I come back, I just want to start something new.

I want to develop better habits, a solid writing routine, because- I have finally realized- this is everything to me. If I don’t get on the ball now, when will I? When I was very young, I already knew that writing was my calling in life, but I thought I had all the time in the world. I don’t know what I was waiting for. I don’t want to wait anymore. So, here I am, back to getting up at four every morning, so that I can have this time to write. I’m two chapters in on my new story, and I intend to finish this one. I also have decided to finish the editing of my first finished novel, and start sending it off again. I figure one of two things can happen- it will be rejected, or it won’t. I don’t need to get all nutty over it, I just need to do it. If no one wants it, then I will come up with something else. I don’t need to be afraid. I should be more afraid of doing nothing.

I plan on continuing blogging, and actually, I wrote a really good one earlier this week, but decided not  to publish it in the interest of not pissing off everybody in the world who disagrees with me…especially a few particular people whom the blog was aimed at. If they weren’t people I knew personally, I probably would have gone ahead with it, but I am trying to be responsible with my words these days, and not go around stabbing people with my literary sword. Although it sure is tempting sometimes.

I am very interested to hear about your writing routine- are you dedicated to it? Is there a time of day that works best for you? Do you have a hard time blogging when you are caught up in other literary pursuits?

I know this is a short one today, but I really just wanted to check in, let everyone know what is going on with me. I’ll be back before you know it!

Restless

restless

 

You know that feeling, that one where you wake up in the morning, already stressing about something that could or could not be happening later that day? Already worrying about that weird, and totally rude, letter you received from the IRS, or about the paycheck that you already spent, even though it won’t be deposited into your bank account for over a week…you know, that feeling? Or how about, even worse, that awful feeling that you woke up in the middle of a life that is a total mystery to you, and you suddenly understand that Talking Heads song, where he’s all “Where is my beautiful wife?”, except you are a woman, so…you get the picture.

I am all about being grateful, you guys, I really am. But there are some days when it feels like there is a very fine line between being grateful and settling, and I think, at least for me, it is hard to discern one from the other. I wake up three hours before I need to start work every day, just so I can be me for a little while before I force myself into my role as a responsible member of the working world. Even with all those hours to myself, I am nearly crushed with despair when I must log in and get started. Like, I literally feel as if I cannot bear to sit and do my easy, well paying, job for the next eight hours. I feel like a trapped animal.

Then I feel guilty for feeling that way. I mean, MOST people would (or at least say, and probably believe they would) love to have my job. I make decent money (not that it matters, it’s so freaking expensive to live where I live, not to mention have two kids and get no child support), I get to work from home, I have great benefits. The truth is, I love the people I work for, and the people I work with. It’s the work itself that is a problem. I am so bored I could just sob. I have tried every thing I can think of to make it interesting, setting daily challenges for myself, taking on different tasks, learning new things. After seven years, I am out of ideas. And I feel really guilty about not being grateful, because, on a certain level, I am. I know without this paycheck coming in, I’d be in big trouble…right? I KNOW it would be hard to go back below the poverty line, after having it somewhat better for all these years. But there is a little part of me that wonders how bad it would really be.

There is a certain amount of sacrifice involved in joining the grown up world. You lose a lot of freedom, the possibility of what may be next dwindles, you begin to worry about what you could lose now that you actually have something. Sometimes, you get everything you worked for, and then figure out that you never even wanted it in the first place. You did the thing that would make everyone else feel better. So,  now your mother is sleeping peacefully at night and you, my friend, are fucking empty inside. Or am I just projecting? ( 🙂 )

As I was writing this, it occurred to me that perhaps I am thinking of this incorrectly, in that black and white manner I have that has no place in reality. Here I am, thinking, “life that is killing me, OR, life of destitution”. Hmm…thoughts like that are the very reason I have a therapist.  The only fact about my thoughts, sometimes, is that they are really, really messed up.  Maybe there is a middle ground? Maybe I could, I don’t know, continue pursuing my other dreams while simultaneously keeping my job? I mean, I’m a writer, it’s not like I need to go anywhere…I don’t even really need to change chairs, to be honest with you.

I am really glad I wrote this, this morning. You may not get a damn thing out of it, but I certainly needed to map out some way out of my miserable thinking. Little change of perspective, Court. One foot in front of the other. I may not know exactly what my options are, or exactly how to get from where I am to the life I want to wind up in, but I do know this much- right now, I have a better chance of getting there than I would without ANY resources. I may be restless, but I can deal with that. Restless, with a direction.

Well, I guess I need to start my “real” job now. Say a little prayer for me.