An endless cycle

About an hour and a half ago, I was settling in to write a big ranty post complaining about how there was all this shit I hadn’t gotten done that I’d said I was going to get done. In there would be some kind of resolution to get it done as soon as I’d finished said rant, but even the thought of that felt like another failure, an excuse on top of excuses removing me from the sense of obligation I have been trying to instill within myself.

So instead, I didn’t write it. I deleted it, and went and did the things that I was going to complain about not having done. Making a doctor’s appointment and writing, to be specific.

It feels a lot better than writing that post would have felt.

I mean the doctor’s appointment isn’t until next Monday, and the writing I’ve done is bad writing at a time when I’ve fallen out of touch with whatever magical, utopian psychology I was operating under while writing my shitty YA werewolf novel that let me embrace and even enjoy writing badly – but still. It got done.

And finally, it feels like I’ve started the year.

Not a moment too soon, either, because it’s my birthday tomorrow and I’m turning 30 and holy FUCK I’M GOING TO BE 30 YEARS OLD HOW DO YOU EVEN DO THAT WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL.

Like, I’m supposed to have a couple of kids as part of an unsatisfying marriage, secretly but predictably engaged in an office affair equal parts sordid and banal, trying to get a promotion so that I can use a bigger paycheck to compensate for my untenable desire to live a life that I actually choose to live rather than being forced to adhere to societal expectations just to pay rent and be accepted as a real person. That’s 30 to me. I’m pretty unimaginative when it comes to 30. Probably because that is nothing like what any part of my life had been like, let alone 30.

I mean I’m glad that isn’t going to be 30 for me, but at least it’s intelligible. What I’m doing right now … it just isn’t. It doesn’t feel real to me. Or maybe the better word is “official”. I don’t feel like an official human being; I haven’t quite filled out the form yet.

But hey, there’s opportunity in that, right? I can still be a real person without wedging myself into a cultural stereotype that, I mean fuck, just read that shit. I should be over the moon that that isn’t my life, that nothing up to this point has set me up to live anything remotely like that life.

Grass is always greener, I guess.

And anyway, I guess I am actually enjoying what I’m doing right now – now that I’ve started actually doing it. It’s been a shitty couple of days in particular. After trying to set up my alarm to wake me up super-early so that I could fulfill the spontaneous, romantic promise that I made to myself a couple of posts ago about writing for seven hours every morning, I actually ended up waking up around 1pm both today and yesterday. Which was very demoralising; and then my back went out, and it’s better today but still not great, and it’s happened twice in quick succession and it’s been 11 years with this fucking injury and, yeah, a shitty past couple of days overall.

Until just now. Because something as simple as making a phone call to take responsibitlity for my own well-being, and doing some writing for the sake of breaking out of a rut, can make such a ridiculously huge difference that it’s almost embarrassing. In fact, it is embarrassing, but only if I look at it from the outside. From the inside, I’m reaping the benefits of having gotten some momentum back, and everything before this point just doesn’t matter anymore.

And this is the perpetual cycle of life, I think: you complain about shit you haven’t gotten done and feel really down and hard on yourself, until you actually take steps to start getting it done, at which point it’s almost like you were never even upset about it to begin with. It’s pathetic, even despicable, from a certain moral vantage-point. But it also works. And while there will always be problems that take a little more effort to deal with – or a lot more, often more than you can manage on your own – there will also always be these little, niggling problems that always feel insurmountable because of how guilty you feel for not having confronted them, until you actually confront them, and all of that guilt and angst and shame just rolls off your back, like water off a duck’s wing.

It’s oil, you guys. Oil is the solution to all life’s problems.

And the thing that I wrote is bad, and I like it, and it’s so bad that I’ve left myself a note in the document itself to rewrite it as part of a conversation rather than an info-dump, and I’m actually looking forward to spending some time tonight or tomorrow making the last thousand words I wrote utterly redundant, because that’s also bad writing. And I’m excited about it.

In every endless cycle, there is always an upswing, and right now I’m in the middle of one.

 

Baby Steps

It’s happening. Ish.

I’ve actually sat down and done some writing today – not proper writing, mind you, but reading over a few older projects and coming up with some new insights and ideas that are getting me excited to actually get around to proper writing. That whole D&D-inspired thing has shifted to being more of a reboot of an old premise of mine, because for one I can’t actually write a D&D-inspired story set in a D&D-inspired world without running up against copyright issues, and for two I don’t actually want to write D&D. But it was a good launching-pad, and that’s really all I need right now: momentum. And slowly but surely, I am getting some of it back.

I’m considering changing my strategy for waking up earlier by incrementally conditioning myself to wake up slightly earlier every morning until I’m ideally waking up really early. I might just set my alarm for 7:30 and see what happens. Though I predict that what will happen is that I’ll go right back to sleep, so maybe not.

But I am craving a bit of a writing marathon right now, and while I can do a lot of writing in the evenings I much prefer the idea of starting off the day with writing. I might look into getting 2 lots of writing done, one in the morning and another later in the day, if things go well with this experiment.

In any case … I really haven’t done very much writing this year, and it feels like a very long time since I’ve put writing off for this long. And things have changed. I don’t feel like I have to write anymore, but I do feel like I’m missing out on something by not choosing to do it. I want to write. Not necessarily because the ideas that I have are filling me with passion, but more because they are ideas that I have and I want to express and work with them. It’s not so much about what I have to say as it is that I have the opportunity to say it. It’s a big change to how things used to be. A lot less pressure, for one.

It’s going somewhere.

I think I will set my alarm earlier. I’m in the mood to dive in.

Statement of Intent

Oh my GOD I need to start getting things done again.

Around the end of last year, I was getting close to having panic attacks around the very idea of going out into the world and looking for a job. Thanks again, social anxiety. Thus I have been on a sickness benefit for the past few months, and while anxiety has definitely been easier to manage as a result, shit gets pretty stagnant when you don’t have to do anything. I’d also love to not be on a sickness benefit and actually be able to have the capacity to deal with reality on a daily basis, something that my unschooling background didn’t exactly prepare me for. Unfortunately, getting help dealing with these lifelong issue means a lot of paperwork and emails and phone calls, all of which are kind of hard to do when you have social anxiety. Funny old world. What I’m saying is that, while I more or less know what the process of getting out of this slump should be, it doesn’t make it any easier to actually do it.

But it’s okay. I have a plan. Sort of a belated New Year’s Resolution, but it’s still a good plan. And my plans always work. So sayeth the Ubermensch!

While working towards getting financial and contractual stuff regarding finding a therapist over and done with, which is my main short-term goal, I have some long-term goals that need taking care of as well, and those are what I’m planning to work on. For starters, I’ve been waking up later and later for the past couple of months, and that needs to change. The last time I successfully changed my waking-up point was by gradually setting my alarm clock earlier and earlier until I reached my limit of earliness, which was around 10 a.m. I’d like to push that up to 7:30 a.m. so that I can eat and shower and then settle in to write for a long-ass time, like until 3 or 4 p.m. There will be an hour-long-ish break in there on most days for exercise around noon, which I haven’t exactly been slacking on in big-picture terms but has definitely dropped off a bit specifically for the past two weeks. And I need to get back into walking regularly, because I’ve been substituting it with going to the gym and, while gym is definitely good, they’re different kinds of exercise and I think I need both. Also exercise helps with sleeping better and holy shit I need to sleep better.

This is the long-term goal: better sleeping habits, getting back on-track with exercise, and starting to treat writing like a job in lieu of actually having a job, while I have the opportunity. And who knows, it might one day turn into something. I know what I’m writing, and it’s my D&D-inspired high fantasy thing that doesn’t quite work yet but is still a fun enough premise that I want to do something with it. I think I need to indulge in a little high fantasy of my own, rather than reading the stuff other people write that I generally don’t like. But another part of this plan is to get shit done that is not just working, and I have a massive backlog of books and computer games that I haven’t even started, let alone finished. I’m thinking about keeping journals for each, because I miss journal-keeping, and I think it would be good to write about things that I’ve actually done, rather than writing about all the things I feel like I’m missing out on. But regardless of said journals, reading and gaming is going to get done.

And World of Warcraft is not going to be one of them.

My subscription runs out in 2 days, the day before my birthday, and that’s too conspicuous for me to pass up – and even if it wasn’t, I think sticking with it for three years is about enough. I came back at a weird time in the game’s history, and while Legion is supposedly a sorely-needed return to form, at the end of the day it’s grindy as hell, and there’s the more general issue of WOW being, at its core, a social game, and having social anxiety keeps me from really getting into it the way it’s meant to be enjoyed: with other people. Also, I’ve gotten to the point with WOW where I’ll actually feel anxious about playing other games. I don’t think I need a therapist to tell me that shit isn’t healthy. So yes, definitely time to kick the habit. Again. I don’t need more of this experience, and I could probably have done with quite a bit less.

Also, WOW is very much the kind of high fantasy that I’m not really into. If it were a book series, I would not have stayed with it for as long as I have. Although I may well have made it up myself, and enjoyed it just because it was mine. That’s something else I’m finding recently, most notably after having written my shitty YA werewolf novel: I’m quite content, and even excited, to write things that I would never actually choose to read, just because I’m the one writing them. I wonder how much of a universal mindset this is for writers, because if it’s not just me then it explains a few things.

Indulging in my own high fantasy world is only one part of my writing plan, however. That’s just to get used to writing my ideas while I have them, even if in this case I’ve been holding onto them for a little too long already. The other part of my writing plan is that whole get-a-book-ready-for-publishing thing I talked about a little while ago. And it’s Tallulah, and I’ve finally worked out the super-obvious solution that was staring me in the face since before I even started writing it, and I just need to fucking finish something. Like, properly finish, the way I’ve been fantasising about for the past 17 years, my god I have been trying to Be A Writer for a long time. I don’t know if it’ll result in Tallulah actually getting published, but going through the process, I imagine, will be valuable experience for its own sake. As for working this into my new-year-new-me plan as outlined thus far … weekends? And it’ll just be reading to start off with anyway, reading and note-making as opposed to actually writing, so it should be easy enough to work in.

Okay. It’s written down, which means … I don’t know. Sometimes it means it’s more likely I’m going to do something; sometimes it means I’ll never get it done. But I’ve set my alarm, I’m uninstalling WOW tomorrow, and I have the manuscript for Tallulah sitting beside my bed. I’m about as ready as I’m ever going to be.

I say it’s getting done. Ubermensch out.