My Butt is Sitting, But Will I Write?

To be a writer, write.  Butt in chair.  Shitty first drafts. (Thank you Anne Lamott.)  I’ve heard or read all the advice and yet, though I spend much of my day with my butt in my chair, what writing I do ends up as a tweet or an email, not paragraphs and pages toward my dreamed-of creative pursuit.

“How’s your writing coming?” is the oft-asked question by well-meaning acquaintances who I now deeply regret telling of my hope to tell a story of a kick-ass woman from medieval times.  And, though I love research, I can’t even blame my lack of progress on too much of that.  No, I let time escape by other means, despite purchasing a variety of planners all promising to help me manage that elusive construct humans have created to give a pretense of structure to our lives.

Yesterday it was the holiday cards I had to get ordered if they were to arrive before the holiday was over.  And it’s true, I did need to get them ordered if I was to send my usual multi-photo, narrated card.  And the website I used last year used up way too much time by creating seemingly limitless obstacles to what should be a simple task of uploading the photos I’d already placed in a Christmas card album on iPhoto.  It should have been easy, but the website kept reloading and my slowly loaded photos somehow kept disappearing and I was determined not to give up because it was the only site that I could find that allowed Christmas card booklets — yes, booklets — to give me room for all 50 of my must-have 2017 photos with plenty of space for sharing the story of our year.

Alas, and kudos to me for finally admitting defeat (admittedly difficult for me) and going to another, Wirecutter-recommended site for a 12-photo card that, praise the Lord, uploaded my edited list of photos quickly and without technical difficulties.  (SimplytoImpress online holiday card site).  And even though it also was intuitive in loading my Word address list from last year, I needlessly complicated matters by an inefficient method of attempting to confirm addresses that wasted at least another hour.  Finally, my cards were complete and off to the printer, but my day was also near its end, without one word of writing on my much-discussed novel being written yet again.  I had Christmas cards, and two trips to the grocery story completed and my dog walked multiple times and a delicious home-made roasted tomato soup made, and I could give up-to-the-minute updates on the spread of the Lilac fire in North County even though for the first time since I’ve lived in San Diego the fire posed no threat to my house or home, but another day ended without writing more than the paragraph on the back of my Christmas card.

And yet I could justify my day.  After all, it’s nice to keep in touch with folks via holiday cards and I have four children whose photos need to appear equally in the end product and way too many photos — most dimly lit or unflattering or in need of cropping or other adjustments — to comb through to find just the right ones to tell the story of 2017 at our home, and I needed to ensure the addresses were correct, didn’t I?  And homemade soup is good for me, as are long walks with my dog.  But none of that is getting any of my writing done, and therein lies the problem.  Whether of not the way I spent my time can be justified, it is without question that I did not prioritize my writing so that it, too, got done.

So today I will at least write on this long-ignored blog a post that helps me try to make sense of how it is that I am not pursuing what I believe is my passion.  Why I am choosing to waste precious time despite knowing how valuable it is and how quickly it passes.  How it is that I can keep buying planners and even sometimes writing my goals and “to do” lists in them and yet not doing what I’ve listed to do, ignoring the goals I set for myself, disappointing myself over and over and over again.  Maybe putting it out there will help me come to grips with whatever it is that ails me, that keeps me from fulfilling my commitments.

I want to live audaciously, bravely, big.  Yet I’m constrained by the rules that no longer serve me, by the good girl perfectionist I taught myself to be so long ago that it’s all my cells remember, it’s all my brain can recall.  It’s a prison I created to give myself worth and it’s damn hard to knock down.  Especially when it’s hard to argue with being good being a good thing.  Being nice seems, well, nice.  And there is nothing wrong with being good or nice but I sense that I need to be more than that to reach into my creative soul that I’ve constrained for so long and free it to be more than the small person afraid to take up space I’ve occupied for so long that it’s become me and I don’t know how to be the person I long to be.  Another day has been given to me, and it’s not yet over, so let’s see how this one ends.  One thing for sure, I’ve done SOME writing, and that’s a start at least!

 


I Should Be Doing My Timesheets …

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As an attorney who bills by the hour, timesheet are the bane of my existence (and I doubt my clients like them any more than I do). So here it is, Saturday morning, and I know I should be putting aside my reading, my writing, my research because I should be completing my timesheets. But first (the procrastinator in me readily pops out) I should do the filing of magazine clips and other miscellaneous papers that have gathered on my desk during the week. The first page I cut out to save? An excerpt from Elle Luna telling me to pay attention when I tell myself what I “should” be doing and, equally, what I feel I “must” do. According to Luna, at least as summarized by O Magazine, “Should is the expectations others layer upon us. When we pick Should, we’re choosing to live for someone or something outside ourselves.” True that. “Must, on the other hand, is who we are, what we believe, the things that call to us most deeply.” Hum, never that of it that way. Intriguing, though. “Pursuing our Musts as we move through the world is the journey of a lifetime, but even the first step on that road is a mini adventure all its own.”

Think I’ll go on a mini adventure of my own…
bluevwwagon


10 Minute Challenge

Protecting Myself

Protecting Myself

Go!  But my mind is blank.  Where so many thoughts were only moments ago the immediate pressure to write something NOW for 10 minutes straight has pushed all thought to some hidden recess where it remains out of sight behind a blank wall. It’s getting past that wall — of fear, mainly, of one sort of another — that is the trick of writing something authentic, interesting, meaningful.  And it’s getting past that wall, that I myself, or some part of me, erected, that’s the very hardest thing for me to do.  Even harder than “finding the time” to write.

Time Flies

Time Flies

Where does time go?  It’s always here, always the same, but despite my best intentions I manage to waste plenty of it.  I moved a few months ago to a home that’s 30 minutes closer to my office, thus saving myself at least an hour a day in commuting.  But it isn’t as if I’m an hour more productive, or I’ve “found” an hour that I can now use for my writing, or my errands, or anything else.  Sure I love my new, shorter commute.  But as to what I’ve done with my extra time, I couldn’t begin to tell you.  Despite multiple organizational tools I haven’t managed to better organize myself.  I do make lists to check off, and I remind myself to “Be Mindful” and “Live in the Moment” but so far none of that has helped.  What do you do to make the most of your day?  The most of your life?  That’s what most of us want, isn’t it?  To feel as if we’ve lived the best life we can.  For me, it’s wanting to do God’s will.  To use the talents I’ve been given, whatever those are, to their best purpose.

I watch my newly hatched adult children as they make their way into the world, struggling to know what it is they should be doing, and I cannot help because here I am 30+ years their senior and still struggling with the very same thing.  I have no words of wisdom for them.  Well, that doesn’t stop my from trying to give advice, but I know how easy it is to give advice, and even how easy it is to hear what you know must be good advice and have every intention of living by it but somehow despite those good intentions letting life slip on by without somehow managing to live it the way you really, really intend to live it.  Just making it through the day and giving each moment what you can, even though sometimes you don’t have much at all to give.

Advice

That’s my 10 minutes.  Guess some words escaped over the wall and made it into writing, after all!