Take the Advice You’re Given

So, this might come as a shock to some of you, but I’m pretty hard on myself. I know over the last two months I’ve come across as patient, honest, and forgiving when it comes to my constantly slipping achievements.

Except I’m not any of those things.

I can say all the right things, tell everyone how it’s just not reasonable to expect so much of myself, and my brain knows it’s all right. All true. But, that doesn’t keep the disappointment and irritation out of my heart. I’m angry. Frustrated. I have high standards for myself and when I fall short, there’s no forgiveness.

It’s buck up and do better.

And I’ve failed at that too.

I’ve been battling some major anxiety over how rusty I am when it comes to writing fiction. I know the only way to get better is to write more. The only way to shake off the rust is to get moving. But, I’m stuck. It’s like I’m asphyxiating every time I look at Scrivener.

And I’m really pissed off about it.

But, I’ve made an attempt to talk to others about it, since it seems that I am out of my element. My own counsel has brooked no progress. It’s time to talk to someone. Luckily I have a really amazing support system.

My husband, who’s just as driven as I am, though we have very different methods in chasing our dreams, said that I need to get writing. Even if it’s just a sentence at a time. He’s not wrong. When it comes to my writing he knows it’s all I’ve ever truly wanted to do, and he knows that every day that passes without words added to the page is killing me. So, he’s harsh in his delivery. Suck it up and sit down to write. Yeah, he’s not wrong.

But I’ve been telling myself that for months.

A friend of mine had some insight that really helped me though. He said, “How long have you been done with school?” I finished school August 9th. “It’s been two months.” He stared at me. “That’s not even a summer break!” I shrugged it off. I haven’t had a summer break in over two years, since I took classes each summer term. “If you’re not writing again by January 9th, be concerned,” he said.

When I asked why he basically spoke some logic at me. I’ve been giving 150% for the last two years. 45+ hour work weeks, school full time, reading constantly, and editing for The Audient Void. I even managed to do some writing projects, and graduate Magna Cum Laude. I’ve been hurtling through space and time, and suddenly I’ve stopped.

The adjustment is awful, but his point is that I need to establish a new normal. One where I sleep again. One where two venti iced coffees isn’t required to make me feel “normal”. One where sitting on the sofa reading isn’t a chore. And where playing video games isn’t a sin.

When Trevor and I spoke about my anxiety and frustration again, after absorbing my friend’s advice, it seemed Trevor had been thinking about it too.

He told me that my energy isn’t the same as his. It’s not this driven, powerhouse of determination and sheer will. I balked at first, but he continued. My energy, he said, is creative. It’s a well that has to be full and siphoned off of. And when it’s ready, I’ll crave it again. I’ll crave sitting for hours in front of screen, chasing the blinking cursor that promises something new with each letter.

And I knew he was right. Because I’ve felt the hints of it already. When I worked on my Novel Announcement for NaNo, I felt really excited for this book for the first time in years. Instead of just trepidation. Instead of intimidation. Instead of fear. When I listen to songs and hear characters in them, instead of just words.

It’s coming back to me. Trickle by trickle. Remember the Leaky Faucet Theory? Well, I’ve used every lost drop of myself these last two years. And to much success. I’m proud of my achievements, but it’s time I took the advice of the people around me. The people who are watching from the outside, and are starting to see the cracks in the mud. I’m drying out, and punishing myself for not writing will only make things worse.

So, I’m going to work really hard to ease up on myself. I’m still going to work on From the Quorum, and I can already feel the wheels turning in preparation for NaNo. There’s been a change in me, and it feels right. Here’s hoping it’s a flood gate. But, I will not hate myself for falling short. As I tried to reason to myself, writing is a muscle. Mine has atrophied over the last two years. It’s going to take time to get back to my dizzying pace from before school. I was writing 2k+ a day, sometimes five days a week! That’s insane for someone with a full time job. And I can’t get back to that overnight.

It’s time to take the advice around me, and treat myself with respect, patience, and understanding. I’ve worked hard, and if I hope to continue to do so, I need to take a breather without fear of retribution from anyone. Let alone myself.

Anyway, I really wanted to express my thanks to the people who keep me grounded in reality, but offer me solutions for chasing my dreams. You’re awesome. Thank you for always helping me, even when you don’t think you do. And because of you I’m really going to try and be kinder to myself. I’m not perfect, and I’ll probably have bad days, but I hear you.

I’m listening.

 

BZ

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3 thoughts on “Take the Advice You’re Given

  1. Your thoughts sound like my echo when I’m down on my writing. Glad I found your site! Sit down every day and write something, even junk. My husband is a marathoner. Some days he runs junk miles. They serve to keep the momentum. And they’re not really junk. Neither are any words you purpose to put down.

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