This is going to sound weird, but unlike a lot of authors, an empty page of a new document (or new chapter, section, plotline, etc.) excites me instead of frightens me. I opened the page in Scrivener on my novel on Monday, and I can genuinely say that one moment was more exciting and made me more content than what I’ve been doing all week. While I had to potentially scrap half of what I had of that chapter before, I did not feel like I was wasting my time. Instead, I felt like I know what I’m going to write and it’s going to get done, and the word count (I try to keep myself around 800 words a day, less on weekends or super busy days) just flowed.
But everything fell apart after that. I couldn’t write for two days after the initial rush. I think it’s because I already had a vague plan in mind when I started, so my brain was okay with just letting it flow. But as soon as I read through what I’ve written I found that my plan didn’t work, and that basically just stopped everything. Which is horrible because, ho boy, if every time your plan doesn’t work out while you write your novel you stop then this novel will never ever finish. (That would explain why this is taking forever, yeah?) I think it’s much worse than the people who get blocked staring at a blank page. For them the more they write the better they’ll feel. For me the more I write the worse feel. I don’t know what’s going to make me feel better save completely finishing the book and it’s perfect. I’ll find out when I finish I guess (nevermind perfect, but maybe my brain will accept ‘good enough.’)
I’m slotting today for working on NaNo. No, I’m not “behind” per se (or I’m just perpetually “behind” since I wasn’t aiming for 50k to begin with), but I am behind in the sense that I didn’t write the sections that I wanted yesterday, because I need to really sort out my timeline for the novel – again! How many bloody timelines do I have to do per novel? So far my number is like, 5, but I thought that’s already like 4 to many – considering I thought I had a pretty comprehensive timeline to begin with. Ah, guess novel plots change all the time, part of the course.
I tried the methods my therapist told me, and it was horrible! OK, so the relaxation one worked. I could feel it working and afterwards I feel like my shoulders are less tension-y, which is good. The other exercise though, boy. I thought I had like, 4 or 5 worries. Yeah…no…I wrote an entire page about everything I worry about – like 20 items or more – and then I freaked myself out. Right after the first day my heart was pounding and I was short of breath, and then when I exited the room there was a giant wolf spider just scurrying down the hall and I screamed like crazy (from being startled; I’m not that afraid of spiders except really venomous ones). Husband killed it, btw, since does bite. Anyway, I tried the thing again yesterday and I realized I was holding my breath the whole time and had to physically relax so I don’t end up passing out. I don’t know how this exercise is suppose to help. I guess we’ll see in a week if does anything aside from giving me a daily heart attack or something.
I went to my therapist today and learned a term: catastrophizing. It’s basically taking a scenario and think of the worst ever possibilities that could come out of it. You’re driving today? A car might hit you and you become paraplegic for life! You’re sitting in your house? An earthquake might happen and you will lose your house and your loved ones! You got a scratched cornea? You’ll be blind forever! You’re getting surgery in a month? You’ll lose a lot of blood and get a blood transfusion and then get HIV from that! Etc. Etc.
I have been doing this catastrophizing nonstop for the past few months. Probably have been doing it most of my life, which is why I have anxiety issues. (I still avoid driving because I feel like every time I’m on the road I could die any second from people crashing into me). I worry about my husband dying from whatever and since I’m a non-published writer who’s been out of work for about 5 years I’ll just be penniless and homeless and die, and I think about this constantly. (Including right now as I’m writing this.) It’s no way to live but it’s how I live, you know? I told my husband this when he drove me back from the session and he was like, wow, that sounds horrific. That’s what you think about all day? Yep. That is.
So my therapist recommended two things for me to do. One is to just lie down on the bed for 30 min and do nothing. Listen to some yoga music, make sure to turn off every single distraction – like turn the phone off, not on vibrate, or put it in another room entirely. Make sure to relax completely but don’t fall asleep. The second is to write down everything that you’re freaking out about and, get this, freak out at maximum about it for 10 min. I was like what wouldn’t that just put in me in the emergency room from a panic attack and he was like, no, because you’re in control of the freaking out. Panic attacks happen when you feel like you’re losing control. And I have to do these two things every day, because it’s like exercising your body. You have to learn how to relax and it’s not going to cure you immediately. Theoretically these two things would take away some of the heat so I’ll stop catastrophizing so much. We’ll see I guess. I’m a bit skeptical, but I guess it can’t hurt.
I am so not ready.
I’m a truly planner by heart. Everything goes down to the last detail kind of person. Now I’m pretty much pantsing the whole thing (i.e. writing on the fly) and I am just not comfortable with that. Adding in all the stuff I have to do pre-surgery and…yeah…am totally freaking out.
I guess there’s so much to do in life that you just have to take it one step at a time. So today I’ll have to do stuff I’ve said I’d do for like, a week now, but have been procrastinating due to stress/fear/other things. Mostly chore things, but also work, and figuring out how to call insurance so I know I won’t get bankrupted from major surgery. (I’ve never had surgery before so I guess I’ll have to learn these logistics things). And clean the house it’s so gross now from my negligence. And NaNo starts in two days. Oh my god!
Deep breaths. Woot. I suppose I should start with, hah, actually writing. My bullet journal’s all ready to go again, so at least there’s that small dose of encouragement.
I’m a bit anxious today, because apparently the lab the does ultrasound work on weekends (?!) and they already got my result in by Sunday. My doctor called me yesterday and I missed it (I mean, I really didn’t expect a result that quickly), so I called back today and of course he’s busy with patients now and can’t talk to me. I’m sitting here waiting to hear what’s wrong with me so it’s making me a little antsy. I should be working right now and it’s not happening, but I need to cope, you know?
I suspect it’s just my fibroid getting bigger suddenly, which it’s known to happen. I would like to get it removed if that’s the case, but man, is it hard to get a timely appointment with my ob/gyn. The next appointment is literally a month from now. I’m not expecting the situation to change much (hopefully not, and until my doctor calls back I’m only guessing it’s the fibroid, not confirming), but more waiting is not good for my mental health haha. I did learn that I can actually message my doctor through their online system so I’m all like, hey, that sounds like a great idea! I’ll see if this nets me a closer appointment date, or at least ask him for referral for a surgeon or something.
In the meantime life needs to go on, but I’m just sitting here waiting for the phone to ring.
My in-laws are visiting me and staying for a week. They’ll be here tomorrow, and I’m just frantically cleaning last bit of stuff. You know how it feels when in-laws come, right? It’ll be one thing if I have like a visible 60-hr a week job, but I kind of don’t. And I can’t cook that well. And if the house is a mess well, I guess I really fail at being a wife person, or a human being. Oy.
I know I’m a little bit irrational because I don’t want them to hate me. I mean I’ve been working (and will continue to work even when they’re here, of course), but writing is such a long, invisible job. You are tired from working but to others they just feel like you haven’t done anything unless you lock yourself up in your room and don’t sleep for a week or something. Then they’re like, ok, you’re tired. But seriously who does that? I mean, people do that, but you can’t keep that up. Plus, you don’t write your best if you just churn out stuff nonstop your brain would seriously just go “ok here’s some stupid things because I’m tired yo”. Unless you do drugs – well, maybe that’s why writers do drugs? I don’t feel like abusing any substance so I suppose I’ll look like the worst slacker person ever, who can’t cook, and since I’m a woman and we don’t have babies yet, and I’m not like a model-level pretty – yeah, I think I’m going to stop here before I convince myself that my in-laws think I’m a useless human being and gripe about how my s.o. sucked at marrying yeesh.
Things I’m going to do today that I’ve basically been putting off the past week:
- Do laundry. Holy crap, the amount of stuff I have to go through is insane now. It’s not even hard, just, no motivation. Do it!
- Work solidly for two playlists. Yes, I have to resort to the mentality of “there’s no limit, it doesn’t matter if you write pure gibberish, you’re just listening to this awesome youtube mix for an hour at a time, and writing an afterthought. Do this twice and your’e done.” That is what’s keeping me going these days, with limited success, but hey, at least I got an hour of something out instead of zero.
- Play Stardew Valley for realsies haha. I’ve spent like 8 hrs total on it already and kept on wanting to start over because of the different layouts for the farm. One day I’m like “ooh the forest one is so tranquil but I have no space” and the next I’m like “ooh all these space in the standard to customize my farm but it’s so boring looking!” etc. etc. Yeah… Good game still, though.
- Finish that RP app. I’ll talk about this later. Not today. It’s too nerdy and dumb, but I promise I’ll talk about it because, why not?
And that’s it. Small goals. Mainly, do that one chore you’ve been putting of and work 2 hours. How hard can this be? Really?