I am tired.
Normally, I abhor people who constantly voice how “tired” they are. I was an elementary school teacher. My day began at 5am and ended at 6pm. I knew tired, I made friends with it. We got brunch every other Sunday at the Blue Willow, but I didn’t complain about it. It’s something you endure, because you know your putting the work in and it matters.
I complain that I’m “tired” now because I. Don’t. Know. Where the work is. I don’t know what I’ve done to be able to earn the “tired” moniker. Am I finished with edits to Project: GREY to start resubmitting to agents again? No. Have I written Project: HARP? Not according to the document. Last time I opened it was over a week ago.
*vomits in mouth
And I hate this feeling, so, I’m here to work it out.
I listened to a podcast recently, Scriptnotes, all about the fine differences between “Tough Love vs. Self-Care,” (about whether you need to buckle down and try as hard as you can or if you’ve tried enough and maybe need to take a step back and relax) and how they can disguise themselves. Tough love can disguise itself as mental abuse and self care can be disguised as hiding, running away from the thing you have to do.
Sometimes, “self care” can mask itself as hiding.
Hiding from what you’re supposed to be doing.
I needed to say it twice because I needed to reassure myself I’m not hiding. I want to run towards this confrontation. I want to lose myself in my laptop for hours, tacking away at the keyboard, until it is fixed.
There’s eating chairs that need to be built. There’s cribs that need to be fixed. There’s onesies (SO many onesies) that need to be put away.
The hosts, Craig Mazin (who wrote HBO’s Chernobyl) and John August (who wrote the film, Big Fish), went further, discussing rules/questions you should ask yourself before you consider giving yourself that ol’ Tough Love or letting yourself off the hook with some Self Care.
1) Check the facts. What is going on in your life right now? Be aware of your surroundings and what’s happening to you. Maybe something else is obviously more important and needs your time. Like folding onesies.
2) Take care of your basics. Have you had enough water? Have you slept enough? Is your pet cared for? Is your spouse or partner properly loved? Are all the onesies folded?
3) Take smaller bites. If #1 and #2 are good, maybe it’s not the work, but the scale of the work. Maybe instead of trying to write for a crazy 4 hour session, try 30 minutes. Try a single page. That would help free your mind a bit more to get back to folding them onesies.
4) Lower the stakes. Maybe don’t write anything serious. Maybe write something goofy, or purposefully bad, to shake the cobwebs off. No one’s going to fold a onesie right the first time, so it’s okay to give yourself a pass and mess up.
5) What do I need to accomplish first? Pretty similar to rule 1, but now it includes things like paid work, bills, or work around the house that has to be taken care of…like folding onesies.
Is the biggest problem, on this particular day, your writing? Ask yourself this. You might be surprised how many onesies there actually are to fold.
Who is this for? I don’t know. It helped me to finally get this out. I am many days behind on my #100DaysofBlogging, but I know I will catch up. I’ll do final counts later today and put up another blog later today.
But, to leave you with something inspiring:
Time kept reminding me that I merely inhabit it, but it began reminding me more gently.
Thanks for reading,