Anchors away . . .
Every December 1st of every single year, I feel as if an anchor weighs me down. Not just the physical aspects of time constraints during the holidays, but mental and emotional as well, and it’s something I must learn to figure out and squelch, because it’s so damned hard to wrap my head around jumping back into writing.
The other week, I read a quote that said, “You can tell the difference between an experienced Writer and an inexperienced one, because the experienced Writer writes every day in spite of what’s going on around them, or whether or not they’re having an ‘off’ day, and the inexperienced Writer puts off writing.” Well, I’ve come to realize I am the latter, and I really need to figure out how to not allow the holidays to derail me or weigh me down. And, I dislike that about me, I really do. I get so darned busy at the holidays, just like everybody else does, but I let it weight me to the point where I put my writing on the back burner and allow the busyness of the holidays to take control. I must learn how to take control and not stop writing. It hurts and shames me to admit this, but just like in anything else, recognizing there’s a problem is the first step towards correcting and resolving the issue, and so, I’m discussing this publicly as a sort of confession, public shame even, I suppose, in the hopes that I can turn myself around by the next major holiday season. And so, I’m working on it.
I always knew the Spring, Summer and most of the Fall seasons are my prime writing times, and I well know why too, I can sit outside and write in peace and solitude. I don’t know if I ever mentioned this before, but I live in a very full household where there’s lots of visitors for medical reasons and goings-on. There are four other women here (all family), and my little dog, Angel, who, for the record is extremely high maintenance in himself, but all that to say, it’s a busy household. During the colder months, I find it a challenge where to go to write that’s not only a comfortable space for me, but a peaceful one too. I don’t expect anyone not to have their conversations or their visitors and the like, but my mind has no peace and I haven’t anywhere to go to disconnect from the internal house noise and happenings and so I find myself floundering at a crucial writing time. Crucial because I want to have back lists of my stories ready to roll for submissions in the prime seasons. And, just so you understand, it’s not an excuse to stop writing, but because of my O.C.D., when the world around me is chaotic, when my surroundings are chaotic and messy, my mind is chaotic and I can’t think straight and I can’t write straight. That is, putting two words together that make sense to me is a challenge. It’s already hard enough to write when afflicted with O.C.D., always fiddling with this and fussing with that, and if you have it, I’m sure you can relate. I eventually finish all my projects; it just takes me a little longer to write, “The End,” but I DO get to the ending, and the bright side is, there’s less to edit when I reach the end of a story, novella or novel. I’s bad enough writing with O.C.D., but it’s even worse getting sidelined, or rather, allowing myself to get sidelined due to the holidays, and it’s after, when I’m floundering; when I’m moored at the dock with my anchor dug deep into the sands of stillness and infertility, my sails flat and dormant because I’ve been away from my writing for a month or more and I’m trying to force myself to start again, it’s harder than bedrock to get my momentum up again when there’s so much noise around me stuck inside a busy household with nowhere to really go.
A couple of friends suggested I go outside of the house to a coffee shop or the library to write and although those are great suggestions, they do not work for me, since my lil’ Angel has a decidedly strict feeding schedule because of the health issues he’s always had. I need to be close at hand to my responsibilities so I don’t place my workload on others in the house who have enough of their own responsibilities to meet. In the long run, I’ll figure it all out, I always do. I just needed to vent a bit, and I suppose, confess. Eventually what will happen is what happens every year. I’ll find a way to block out the noise and the busy and get back to business. It happens just like that every year, it’s just that I’ve been noticing it’s taking me longer and longer to do that each time I run through this awful cycle, so I need to break the cyclic nature of my O.C.D. and maintain my writing life, because that is what it is for me – my life – and it sustains me like nothing else, (aside from my Angel), which puts another spin on this terrible cycle. If I’m not writing, I’m not really breathing; if I’m not creating, I’m not really living. I get extremely grumpy when I’m not writing because for me, it’s my outlet. It’s my haven where I run to when my world turns gray and dark. I know that writing outside allows me to disconnect from the household with little distraction, yet still be close by in case I’m needed, but since it’s cold outside, I must find a place of no distraction inside until the weather breaks.
I’ve tried writing in my bedroom where my desk is, and I hope I can help you understand this, but, I can’t work where I sleep. It makes me feel icky, like when I’m sick, stuck in my pajamas because I feel too awful to get dressed, and squirreled away in my room and I don’t care for that feeling at all. That’s another part of my O.C.D.. It’s the same as having different foods touching on my plate; I can’t deal with it. No, I don’t holler and go ballistic, I just rearrange things on my plate, and until I do, I can’t begin eating. If the foods are touching . . . well, I just can’t have it happen when I can control the situation by simply moving things around a bit. And I suppose that’s what I’m doing now that the holidays are over and needing to get back to writing my stories. I’m rearranging things in my head and trying out different spaces in the house looking for a place where I can find the outward and internal peace to write. That isn’t to say I’m not writing at all. I am, somewhat; I’m writing this blog at this moment at least, but it’s not enough to sustain me, and it’s not enough to satisfy me either. I need, have to get back to the lands of my fertile imagination and full-time writing or I’m going to burst! So, while I’m standing on the deck of my writers’ boat puffing away at the sail like I’m blowing on a dandelion, hoping to fill it with wind, I try to keep myself immersed at least, in learning new ways to enhance my trade and praying for early warm days to arrive so I can go outside and disconnect from the mundane and go back to my make-believe land of magic and fantasy. In the meantime, I’m going to keep puffing into my sails and pray I find an Island inside the house where I can frolic in unknown, uncharted lands unabated and finally pull the anchor up and set sail across the sea of my imagination.