Earlier in the week, I had what I’m going to call a mild anxiety attack.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that reads this blog, that I’ve got a lot on my plate at any given moment. My typical approach to this is to focus on just one thing – usually the one with the closest due date – until that thing is done, then move on to the next thing.
Forget about the forest, concentrate on the trees.
Only this one night, I just couldn’t focus. There was too much forest, and I shut down.
I should have seen it coming. Looking back on it, I can see it coming from miles away, but being caught up in the moment, that’s a different story.
I’d like to say that I dealt with it appropriately and, for the most part, I did. But instead of doing what I know I should have done – Sticking to the schedule, getting rest, working through it – I stopped totally.
I got to bed late, which got me up late, and the writing suffered for it. The writing always seems to suffer for it. And that, reader, went a long way toward making things worse.
The following day, in the cold light of pre-coffee morning, I came to the realization that I’d been pushing too hard, for too long. I’d let myself believe that I was somehow “Falling behind,” and that the only way that I could “Catch up,” was to work harder.
Don’t get me wrong on this: Occasionally pushing yourself is a good thing, even a crucial thing. You never know how far you can reach if you never stretch.
But remember: Nobody will ever be harder on you, than you.
I’d set myself a pretty ridiculous deadline, as if it would have made everything better. Even as I write the first draft of this post (with my new fountain pen – I love it) I can see myself moving the goalposts.
Hitting that deadline wouldn’t have made any difference. In fact, I had already had the next “Big-Thing-to-do-Right-Away” lined up.
There wouldn’t have been any release of pressure, only a transference.
Realizing that was the “Outer Wrapping” on the gift.
The real gift was giving myself permission to ease off. That night, I relaxed. I unplugged from being a Writer, or an Author (Those are two different jobs, folks). I had a few drinks, watched some mid-week rugby (Which rarely happens), and I went to bed a little later than usual, while getting the usual amount of sleep.
The next day, I eased back into the routine, and now I’m back working at my own pace.
Like I said, I’m not against stretching yourself every now and again. The key words are “Now” and “Again,” not “Stretch.”
You can’t stay stretched all the time. Something will eventually snap.
So take care of yourself.
See you on Thursday!
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