Hello peoples. Let me just preface this by saying that life has been crazy these past couple of months. Emotionally, mostly, as is with everything, but also just living. I don’t mean suicidal, I mean like living in a house with bills to pay and somehow everything in your possession start to break at once. This thing needs fixing which leads to this other thing needs fixing and before you know it you’re out thousands and thousands of savings, and in a time like this even if you can weather it you’re afraid of ‘what else is going to go wrong’ scenarios, and you psych yourself up for failure.
I also don’t have a psychologist at this moment. My usual one is, well, I think we’re not jiving anymore, so I’m in the market for a new one. Except of course everyone needs mental health help right now so there’s a giant waitlist for every single option. I am journaling and trying to manage everything myself, and it’s to limited success. It doesn’t help that I haven’t worked on my novel one lick since I finished the outline, and I’m getting really cold feet about the whole process again. It’s a work in progress, always, and I’m going to try to pull through this week. The first week of calmness I’ve had in a while.
I’ll talk more about my life later. Right now I just want to have a small update. Even writing this one took me forever because I’m out of practice, so to speak. Who knew you can get rusty with personal blogging? Yeah, that’s it from me for now.
I have finished my novel planning with the Snowflake Method. I am very happy about that, but at the same time, I am now terrified of actually picking up my novel again and writing it, again, but better this time.
It’s stressful, okay? I know I should be ecstatic I finally wrangled the novel plot into better shape, but man, now I’m feeling inadequate in the whole writing process things. What if I just suck really, really bad at putting words together to form a cohesive whole? What if what I planned to convey just completely falls flat? What if my planning itself has so many plot holes that I just didn’t see? What if? What if? What? Endless questions and self-doubt plagued me for the past few days. It doesn’t help that I also got summoned for jury duty in a courthouse pretty far from me, and very inconvenient to get to. Fear of dealing with that and chance of Covid and everything just paralyzed me for the entire day yesterday. I’ve put in a transfer request but who knows what’ll happen there? Uncertainty is not a good base state for me to tackle my novel in earnest. (Not even thinking about Ukraine and Russia and all that, nope!)
But the good news is that I got over all the anxiety from yesterday today. Well, okay, getting over is a little optimistic, I managed my anxiety so it’s not debilitating that I can’t think about work. Hence I am working today, or trying to talk myself into starting it. If at the end of the day I can write one paragraph I’d consider it a win. Seriously, this is so ridiculous. Hopefully every day I’ll get a little bit less anxious, and in a couple of weeks I’ll be writing normally, like a writer should, instead of whatever crawling pace I have now.
So I’ve decided last week to try out this schedule of not working on novel on Mondays, but devoting it to cleaning. The house has so many things that need organizing and fixing, but I realized that I can’t think about major cleaning on days I need to work on novel, because that would just become the entire day’s focus and I’d get nothing done. The weekend doesn’t work either because I spend entire Sundays out shopping for the week’s groceries (this is LA, to go anywhere takes like 40+ minutes, and all the Asian grocery stores are very far from where I live), and on Saturday the last thing I want is major cleaning because I really want a relaxing day. Therefore, it’s going to be Monday. Maybe I’ll work a bit extra on Saturdays to make up for it, but devoting Mondays to clean seems to be the best route.
So this week I put it to trial. And you’ll never guess what happened. Well, no, I’m sure you can guess what happened, which was that I completely froze up on the sheer amount of cleaning I have to do and got very little done. Yep, apparently cleaning is also super anxiety inducing for me, who’d have thought? (Everyone. Everyone would’ve except I thought I could tackle it without a plan. Nope!) I pretty much did the most basic dusting and left all organization to rot. Considering that was like, the whole point of the exercise, essentially I got nothing of note done on Monday. But I didn’t give up! I tried again on Tuesday, but cut everything down to the smallest tackable size. Instead of grand ambition of cleaning every surface in the room I will only clean ONE bookshelf, so that was what I did on Tuesday. The hallway bookshelf is…emptied and a bunch of stuff is on the bed in the guest room, but the shelf itself is clean and I threw out all the garbage papers that had been sitting on there for, uh, a few years? So everything I have right now are things I want to keep. I will organize the keep piles later, but hey, progress!
I will now move on to the other bookshelf in my bedroom. There will be some shuffling of books between the two, and also more dusting because dust is just so goshdarn pervasive! But I won’t be doing that today. I’ll be working on novel planning because I’m almost completely done with the thing! Tomorrow I will see if I can do more with the books, but I’ve learned my lesson now. Everything will be planned out in tiny increments. If I can do more than one great, if not, then that’s it. Any large chunks would just freeze me out and be counterproductive. Just like writing, eh?
Title is kind of like, duh! But it’s interesting to observe this now that I’m consistently working. I’m sure this happened before, but because I felt anxious all the damn time, I never actually seriously analyzed exactly what was causing me to be depressed, you know? Well, now I inadvertently have, and the conclusion is, uh, what I explicitly work on matters!
So let’s just take the past few days. On Monday I was semi-okay, kind of excited to work even. Tuesday was horrible. No motivation, no creativity, almost cried in bed but didn’t (and still managed to get some work done!) Yesterday I was a bit better, and today was very neutral. The reason for this swing? Well, right now I’m working on very detailed character sheets. On Monday I was finishing up one, and it was fine. On Tuesday I was starting on the next character, who is very complicated in both motivation and plot elements, and I think I completely froze up on how hard it’ll be to write him. Hence all the anxiety, doubt, hatred for myself, etc. etc. Yesterday I was finishing up the second half of the character sheet, so because I already had a starting point, it was much easier. And today I’m starting my last major character and she’s not nearly as complicated as the previous guy. So I’m okay today. I literally felt awful because the thought of tackling a perceived difficult character wrecked me. What if I just can’t do it? What if I make a super messy, crappy character with a plotline that makes no sense? What if this, what if that? I fought through it, because I did get it done, but it was a bad day overall because of it.
I’m not sure what I can do in the future to prevent this. I guess the most I could do was no matter how shitty I keep going? Tomorrow is a better day? Upon contemplating today I realized my current character could use a bit more tweaking because I want her to be a little more complicated than she was. So I did that. I’ll finish her tomorrow. All in all the day is going okay, and I’ll be on track to finally finish the character sheets by tomorrow. And then it’ll come plot outlines and…yeah, I’m not thinking of that at all, okay? Too daunting to pre-think; better if I just take as it comes. If that means I’ll have a couple of awful days where I don’t know if I can handle starting it? Let it be. Because I think, and I kind of have proof from this week, that I can handle it, somewhat. Which is better than before when I just stopped progressing.
I’ve decided that I should stop visiting reddit about the coronavirus. It’s not good for my mental health. I would be working and wanted a brief break and so go on the subreddit, and whop, there goes an hour of clicking on headlines and reading comments and silently freaking out. And then when I try to get back to work my headspace is nowhere near where it needs to be to concentrate. And so I open more tabs, because I don’t want to work, and so rinse and repeat. It’s why work that should only take 2 hours takes like 7 hours, which is ridiculous. And then I have bad dreams on top of that. My sleep pattern has seen some crazy wild swings like the stock market. All in all, I need to stop visiting that website.
If anything super major does happen (like we finally start actually testing and discover there’s 100,000 cases in California or something), I’m sure the front page of reddit will let me know. Or the actual news. Or anything, really. I have to concentrate on my novel now – I refuse to let it go past the full five year mark. I had a brief existential crisis before I went to bed last night, about how I’ll never finish writing anything, good or bad. Again, not good for my mental health, but I’m pretty sure that’s just anxiety talking (brought on by all the stuff that’s going on in the world). So I’m going to limit my exposure to fix my anxiety, and that starts with not going to r/coronavirus for a while.
Gosh, Animal Crossing: New Horizons can’t come soon enough.