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.

 

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Hmm. Hmmmmmm.

It’s been 13 months and my shitty YA werewolf novel still isn’t finished. But it does stand at 69k words, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.

More to the point for my sense of accomplishment, though, is the fact that it really hasn’t registered at all just how much work I got done with this thing. This completely impulsive, relatively shallow writing experiment that, while I’ve been “working on it” for 13 months, that’s really been 2 periods of intensive writing with huge, months-long gaps between them. Basically, I wrote 69k words in 3 months. And considering that I’ve been doing my Masters for all of that time …

I mean seriously, that’s a pretty fucking big achievement.

I am going to try and acknowledge it.

And also, given some rather exciting – and slightly terrifying – news that I got today (yesterday whatever fuck you am/pm threshold), I’m going to really try and believe in my capacity to multitask. To believe that I can do my MA, and write a novel, and do this other thing that I’m going to be doing that I will say more about when things are more finalised and official and shit … all at once.

The shitty YA werewolf thing – the reason I keep calling it that is because it is shit. It’s bad. It’s un-good. But the process of writing it has been awesome, even after the novelty wore off. It’s the process that I fell in love with, and as much as I’m on the edge of being very anxious about this new life-event stuff, it’s also an opportunity to dive head-first into another process, just this time a much more complicated and consequential one, because it doesn’t only affect me. This is an opportunity for me to push myself, to see how far I can take my dedication to process for the sake of process, and to really start to enjoy it. I think I will. I am just worried that I’ll hold myself back and lose momentum and … well, all the usual crap one thinks when one has anxiety.

But I’m still excited. I’m so excited that I’m considering going back to Tallulah, just because I want to get it written, I want it to work, I might be able to make it work idea-wise now – so all that’s left is the process. And if I’m going ham on process for the rest of the year – discipline, I guess, is the word I’m really looking for – then I would love it if Tallulah could benefit from it.

A lot could go wrong here, but that’s also kind of why I’m excited, because this is a chance to get it right instead. Put one on the map for my self-initiated anti-anxiety treatment. And to be honest, I have wanted for so, so long to just go really full-on with something challenging. Too long, maybe. But I guess so long as you get there eventually …

In the meantime, I’m going to try and start off with my current writing project and see if I want to stick with it – if not, welcome back Tallulah. And hell, maybe welcome back Tallulah regardless. Because I think I’ve got it as well worked-out as it will ever be without it turning into another ROTM, and much as I want to get it right, I also want to get it done. The process is what I’m going to take with me – at some point, I’m going to have to leave every single one of my stories behind. I’m going to have to be done with them. And I think I’m finally getting okay with the idea that Tallulah might not be as good as I fantasise about it being. It could just be done. And that would be brilliant in and of itself.

So yeah. Excited. Doubtful, hesitant, but that’s to be expected at this point. Comes with the territory. And it doesn’t stop me from feeling excited …

Almost like being a teenager again, when I still cared about things, much as it pained me. Only in a good way this time, because I’m not actually a teenager. Silver linings.