A to Z April Challenge
I have this problem with time management. I wait until the last minute for just about everything I do. Most times it’s out of laziness, like staring at the growing piles of laundry. I don’t have a problem gathering laundry, washing and drying it; I don’t even mind putting it away for everyone but I hate folding it. It’s not because it takes me twice as long to fold with one hand or because I get a palm cramp from pairing socks with one hand but because I’m super anal about how I want the laundry folded. I hate what I call pile fans – where the stacks of shirts get higher around the collar but remain relatively neat and flat in the torso. It drives me crazy so I fold in a specific and organized way; it’s time consuming, frustrating, and daunting.
I also have this weird ability to drag things out because I clearly hate endings and goodbyes. Most people go on Netflix binges that include one show, season after season, in one day. For me, a Netflix binge is two episodes of the same show followed by guilt and remorse because I know that second episode just shortened the length of time I will get to spend with these made up people and their unrealistic lives. This also applies to my hobbies. I finally finished this project I’ve been painting for Skas. It took me way too long to start because I knew once I finished, I’d experience some degree of grief.
At first, I was overwhelmed by many negative thoughts.
- Will he like it?
- He picked the colors but will they come out how he expects?
- Will I like it?
- What if I mess up?
- What if it doesn’t look at all like I pictured it for months in my head?
and so on…
Halfway through the project, I’m filled with pride. I might as well be shouting across the country: “Look, ma! I’m doing it!” I’m taking pictures, I’m showing it to everyone and describing what I intend to add. They’re bored but I’m psyched and can’t wait to pick it up tomorrow. But when tomorrow comes I’m filled with dread. How do I approach it today? Where do I start and can I recall what I planned? I spend unnecessary amounts of time making sure I have all the same brushes and set up as yesterday. I want everything to go perfectly.
I work for roughly an hour then put everything away
No matter what type of project I’m doing, I do it in bursts. I want to make sure the details are accurate, that I followed the blueprint I have mentally stored away, and that I’m still working with the same tone as when I first set my fingers to task. So when I’m doing a project, I provide more time to reflect and contemplate than I do working – it feels like that anyway. Not every decision has to be perfect but it has to be workable. That’s the philosophy an art teacher passed on to me. She said true artists don’t need erasers, they just need a creative mind to work the error to their benefit. So if you plan enough ahead, but not too much so you don’t have room to improve quality with detail, you should be able to work with your errors.
I apply these habits, ways of thinking, whatever, to writing. Not this blog, this is pretty much top of my head (except Poetry Project obviously); sometimes I jot notes but usually I wing it, I think it shows [lol].
I’m always waiting to write
It’s overwhelming because there are a lot of negative thoughts even if you write only for yourself, never expecting anyone to read it. I question my vocabulary a lot. It’s not always about using big and smart sounding words but using the same words repeatedly. I worry if I’m descriptive enough; or, what if I’m too descriptive? And what if someone actually read it? Would they laugh? Would they even make it past the first chapter? What if they read it and love it but totally miss the entire point? It’d be good but also disappointing on another, deeper level. And then I worry that I fill in gaps in my head but don’t incorporate these fillers into the story; like, maybe I’m assuming the reader has the same movie playing in their heads as I do but in actuality, their screen in much smaller and they’re missing a lot detail because of that? And then there’s the obvious, could I survive any type of criticism whether it’s absurdly negative, objective, or stuffed with advice?
I don’t like to write with people in the room. I assume this is normal. My kids are loud and nothing is sure to stop me from focusing more than getting stuck listening to them fight over the remote only to have them both leave the room minutes later with Spongebob laughing at no one on our couch. When it comes to Kasper, not only is it distracting to have someone doing their own thing while you’re doing yours, it’s also creepy to zone out on your writing then become aware you’re not alone. They suddenly have super human vision and can see your every word; you’ll wish your head was big enough to block the screen from them. I only write when I’m home alone because of this which can be limiting.
As the story grows long I realize it’s time to start closing off parts I’ve left open to possibility. Of course, this means I have to read and take notes so I can mark unanswered questions I may have placed for the reader to ask themselves. This leads to me falling for my characters all over again and next thing I know, I can’t kill off so-and-so, I don’t want the tragedy to begin, I don’t want to stop describing the latest development, I don’t want this happy period to end
…and so on.
So I work in bursts hoping I’m not being too broad, too descriptive or too repetitive while also leaving enough room to embrace unintended curveballs I’ve thrown myself. While I wait in between these bursts, I reflect on the past and present of the story while contemplating its future and also preparing for separation anxiety. It’s a lot of work and I don’t mind it but sometimes I feel I’m not worth it and the cycle begins all over again…for one story. This only makes me procrastinate doing something I enjoy all the more. I wonder if this is a struggle only I battle as less than an amateur or something actual authors go through as well.