One of my best kept secrets is I’m actually a very organized and meticulous person. I know, I know, I’ll wait while you recover from laughing. But it’s still true— for every slovenly confession there are a thousand lizard brained calculations going on over here. I am OBSESSED with planning. Sometimes this = enormously helpful, like when Alex and I got engaged on a trip and I planned the entire wedding via spotty cell service before we’d even made it home. Then again, sometimes this = not so helpful. Like when I’m planning theoretical future lives based on shoddy contingencies.
After making the deadline for the first draft of my book I spent all of November making developmental notes and Beautiful-Minding the next two books in the series all over my office walls.
Then… December hit.
I decided to be super ahead of the game and go ahead and research book marketing and lay the tracks for my (someday, maybe, totally not guaranteed) release date. I’m talking spreadsheets and bookmarks and twenty-five tabs open in my browser. I was basically one more frozen-cup-of-coffee-because-I-left-it-outside away from drafting a Pulitzer acceptance speech and booking hotels for my international book tour in 2020.
It’s possible I might have gotten carried away. Just a bit. I’m not sure why my planning-ness is so selective and sporadic, because here’s a list of probably more important things that I didn’t bother worrying about in advance:
1. How to get home from China when I ran out of money and got there on a one-way flight.
2. How to pay back $36k in student loans because I was going to be a free-spirited world traveler and I got a tattoo on my hand just to make myself unemployable and wow— that totally didn’t work.
3 – 6,073. All the choices in my life that aren’t about food or watching movies.
Yet here I am, wondering who might write a blurb for me and how much weight I need to lose before my official author headshot is taken. Pay no mind to the fact this book is still a very ugly beast— so ugly that when repair people come to the house I throw pillows or empty boxes of cheezits on top of the printed pages so they can’t get a glimpse of all my amazing words that look like this:
“GIRL WHO NEEDS NAME looked up from her book and noticed the INSERT SOMETHING RELATED TO THING YOU NEED TO RESEARCH and thought SHOW EMOTIONAL GROWTH HERE.”
But hey. At least I’ve already planned the menu at my book release party. That’s going to be super helpful when this book is finally ready for publication and we can all go buy it in our flying cars.
Everyone said it was important to take a mental break between finishing the first draft and starting in on revisions— I don’t think they took into account the majority of my life IS a mental break. Letting myself indulge procrastination + distracting myself with all these lofty plans has absolutely murdered my productivity. I was on such a roll last year, but now? I’m really getting my money’s worth now that I have to pay for my own Netflix account.
I’ve come up with a list of people and things to blame for my lack of creative output:
1. Trump and the coming dystopia — because whose going to care about books when we’re all living in re-education camps?
2. Winter and the lack of sunlight — because who can function when it’s dark by 5:17PM every night?
3. Texts and people with personality disorders — because why focus on my own life when I can get caught up in yours?
I’ve got 99 excuses and my own fear of failure ain’t one. Except it totally is.
I’m not sure how to shake myself out of this funk. I’m not sure how to feel “worthy” of pursuing what I want to do. I’m not sure how to say no to a hot bath with epsom salts and yes to sitting my arse in the chair until the words are written.
Here’s what I do know: I hate doing whatever I’m supposed to do. I think I’ve turned writing into a “supposed to do,” and that needs to stop. Instead, I’m going to neglect the following list of things I’m supposed to do and hopefully that will be enough to sate my base desire to fall short of expectations and standards:
1. Take vitamins
2. Drink only one night a week
3. Bathe regularly
4. Eat all the frozen salmon in my freezer because I buy it every week and then we just go eat curry and they all know us and immediately make our order as soon as we pull up in the parking lot.
5. Bathe even semi-regularly
Honestly, I feel inspired already. Time to get back to it.
Do you ever put the cart before the horse? What are you focusing on getting done this year? Are you a planner or do you just wing it?
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