I Didn’t Write Last Month.
I didn’t write last month.
At least not enough to merit a pat on the back or the chocolates I keep as a reward for every 1000 words written. (I’ve set the bar low here, people.) The irony of the situation is that the month of November was National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it’s referred to in the writing community. If things has gone as planned, I’d be sitting back, as I did last November, celebrating at least 50,000 words of utter crap.
I can work with a pile of utter crap.
Instead, I have barely 5,000 words of nonsensical crap and a half-eaten (an unearned) bag of Dove chocolates.
I also didn’t post a single blog post last month. I could easily blame it on the fact that the blog itself is held together by bubble gum and wishful thinking. However, it is mostly due to a writer’s block so encompassing that I’m even composing a thought is a struggle, and ideas and questions come out wrong and backwards and upside down.
Words are hard right now.
I feel especially guilty about that because I’m behind on book reviews. There is something utterly Italian-Catholic in that statement. You see, I don’t actually get paid for the reviews on the blog, or on Goodreads or Amazon, and yet I feel like I’m letting the writers- who I don’t actually know in person – down.
The problem with guilt is that it builds and builds. Little niggly thoughts accumulate until you have a big pile of need to dos SHOUTING back at you until you don’t know where to start. So you don’t. (By you I mean “I” don’t.)
The second half of this year is turning out stressor after stressor. My dad’s cancer diagnosis, my teen received his fourth concussion playing soccer which led to put down his goalkeeper gloves for good. My beloved dog died. Seeing my son stress over the entire college application process.
And then there are my feelings of, I don’t know, let’s call it “impostor syndrome”. Since starting his job in March 2020, my husband has worked from home. And so while he successfully manages to do all the things including working out and getting to bed on time. This, in turn, makes me feel like a failure because unlike him, I’m not getting all the things done. Or anything. Especially writing.
I’m feeling a lot of guilt and their is a lot of personal brow-beating going on every day that I don’t do all the things. (Especially where it comes to exercise. Why can’t I manage to work out while he can?)
WHERE ARE YOU, SELF-DISCIPLINE?
I’ve been fighting this overwhelming feeling of loss and disappointment and helplessness. Which, in turn, causes into utter disorder in my brain and my ability to DO all the things. I caught myself thinking “I used to be able to handle stress so much better”.
That’s a lie.
I’ve come to realize that I was much better at masking stress. And I can’t any more, nor do I want to.
I’m taking a new look at my to-do lists this holiday season. All the self-care things that seem like a chore are going out the window. Self-care means journaling, listening to a meditation when I feel myself overwhelmed, and exercise could just be a walk around the neighborhood to clear my head.
It might mean organizing the spaces I spend the most time, because I can’t focus or relax when there’s clutter.
It means asking for help more often (or at all).
It means putting the phone (and the distractions it causes) away.
It means taking a deep breath and just focusing on getting through each day as it comes.
It means focusing on the basics – eat better, sleep more, move more often and lose the guilt if getting that dot on my Peloton calendar means just doing a 10 minutes stretch.
It means getting back to writing because I love it and uncoupling it with expectations and guilt.
I didn’t write last month. But I’m off to a good start this month.
Have you been stuck lately? What did you do to break out of your rut?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.