I don’t know what happened. Yesterday morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or something. Actually, I think I went to sleep on the wrong side of the bed. On Monday night, I opened the latest version of my novel and told myself that I should work on it for a few minutes. I started over from the beginning because I thought of a new characteristics I wanted to apply to a couple of the main characters and a couple plot points in wanted to change. I think my first mistake why trying to do this the same document. I’ve learned that trying to fit pieces of what you’ve already written in with new things you’re coming up with doesn’t always work. So, as I sat there, trying to wedge the square pegs into which I am shaping my characters into the round holes that already existed in the novel. I started to get frustrated. It was getting late, so I set it aside.
I didn’t sleep well. Then I got up early to go to the gym. My energy level was lower than usual. I didn’t even do my requisite number of crunches after the kickboxing class that I tried sort of hard, but not my hardest, to get through, forcing smiles toward the pleasant instructor. Then it hit me on my walk home. I was almost in tears. I didn’t even put my earphones in like I normally would for the walk home. I just let my thoughts completely overwhelm me, like a rogue wave.
It’s been rather gray here in New York as of late. It feels like it’s that month in Alaska when it’s perpetually dusk. I would walk home, east, from the gym, and have to squint the entire way. The sun shone right down the east-west caverns of the city. Not this week. And not last week. The sun is barely making its way through the thickened atmosphere. It’s like gray, knotted wool, the sky. And yesterday, it even felt a little damp, on top of cold. And that’s when I thought about giving up. I heard the devil voice in my head. Maybe you’re barking up the wrong tree. Maybe this isn’t going to happen for you. You’re not really good. What if you gave up?
But I don’t want to give up, I answered. I don’t want to! I don’t. I felt like someone standing on a ledge, screaming I don’t want to die as she runs toward the abyss. I came home and SP could tell I wasn’t in a good mood. It makes him not in a good mood. And it didn’t help that he had to get stitches in his hand on Saturday.
One thing led to another and we bickered. I cried. He hugged me. And then I lost it.
I feel like I am about to give up, I blubbered, letting loose thick messy sobs. He hugged me. He wasn’t loosening his embrace.
I felt better after crying. I cried fully and loudly, for just a few minutes. It wasn’t just a few errant tears. And I thanked SP for holding me tightly.
Later I talked to my mother who suggested I try a different medium, perhaps a short story.
I talked to my friend Miranda Sunshine who told me that I should either stop working on something that’s causing me so much angst, or find another way to work on it – put the characters in a new situation, or write the story from a different perspective – that would change up my feelings on the piece.
I talked to Courtney who offered to read the novel.
But, it’s not ready yet, I whimpered. Maybe you just need to show it to someone, even though it’s not ready, she suggested. But it’s really not ready. It’s in pieces, I whined. Can you print it for me? She persisted.
I took a deep breath and said I could. But it might a couple weeks to get it to that place, I qualified. In the meantime, I took the new part out of the old draft and started a new document. And last night, I got so into it that I ended up working on it for an hour and a half, instead of the hour that I gently suggested to myself. I felt SO much better going to sleep last night after doing better work. And I told myself that I am just focusing on the first 50 pages. The first 50 pages matter most when I eventually show the novel to anyone. So I started to feel a little better. It’s a goal, a manageable goal.
This morning I woke up and I felt like I’d been cured. I felt so much better. I went to Inten-Sati. I came home and declared to SP that I was in a much better place this morning than I was yesterday morning. He said that when I am happy he is happy.
I did really well all day. At work, I remained positive, even in the face of a heavy schedule of conference calls and deadlines. I came up with a good idea for a promotion involving the Super Bowl (the client didn’t ultimately use it, but they liked the idea) and a salesperson thanked me for my good work on a strategy call with another client.
At the very end of the day, I overheard a comment that bugged me. Someone took a jab at my department as a whole. Not only weren’t they in a position to be making comments, but I was sitting right there. I didn’t say anything in the moment, but as a colleague in my department was leaving (coat on, headphones on) I pulled him aside to tell him about the comment I overheard and commiserate about the unfairness of it. Call it a lesson learned. I should have just let it go. I let some negativity seep out. And it wasn’t pretty. I had a great day. A much better day. I should have let it go at that. I felt worse after ranting with my colleague and I thought about the incident the entire subway home. If I had not engaged in the negative conversation at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have thought about the silly comment again. And I certainly wouldn’t be thinking about it now. Next time, I will raise my force-field and refuse to let others negativity puncture it. And I definitely won’t let my negativity spill out all over co-workers on their way home. Because it ends up spilling on me too.
Tomorrow is another day. A day to try to do it all over again, better. Off to try to write for another hour tonight. Tomorrow night, Courtney’s event at Housing Works Book Store in support of Positively.