Nancy: Monday Morning Blues

First Aid KitBy the time you read this, it will likely be Monday morning or even later in the week. But as I’m writing it, it’s Sunday night. It’s late. Very, very late. I’m very, very tired. I have hours of work left to do for the day job and have to be ready to run a meeting at 8AM, then get through  a long day, then a longer week.

Some days, weeks, even months are like that for a some of us. And for most of us hanging out here at the blog, we’ve chosen to add another big stressor to our lives: we’ve decided to spend our ‘free time’ writing. Some days I do ask myself, ‘What the hell are you thinking?’

And it’s not just about the time and energy writing takes. It’s about having so much to learn and so far to go. About spending years working on a project and wondering if you’ll ever finish it, let alone contend with endless revisions that will follow the first draft. There are black moments (not just in the story, but in the writing day, as well), and disappointment when you realize no matter how hard or how long you work on a story, it will never live up to the shiny nugget of perfection that it was long before you committed it to paper, when it was just that glorious idea living in your head.

And if you do withstand the trials and tribulations of the writing life and manage to send a completed, revised, edited work out into the world, the focus turns to marketing (traditional or self-pub, these days self-marketing is the name of the game). Then there are reviews and sales numbers and trying to get coveted spots on booklists or review blogs or whatever thing writers must have/do/accomplish this week to be a publishing success. Seriously, how are we not all exhausted, all the time?

Luckily for us, there are places to turn when these dark days of pondering the difficulty of the writing life are upon us. This blog is one place. Chuck Wendig’s blog is another. Last week, he posted a helpful list of 10 things we writers can do to take care of ourselves. If you haven’t read it yet, hie thee to this link and do so now.

Life is stressful. Writing is stressful. The two together are stressful2, which is literally exponential. Which sounds really bad. So take care of yourself. Find something that helps you get through a really tough week/month/lifetime, whether it’s the writing getting you down, or the inability to get through all the life stuff to get to the writing.

This week, for me, my self-care something is a list. Not just any list. A list of all the things I’ll do when the next few months of day-job hell are over. A list of things to write/revise/rework, to be sure. But also a list of books I’m going to read, TV shows and movies I want to binge-watch, new fitness challenges I plan to undertake, and new recipes I’d like to try. My list might even include some trips I’m going to take when I can reclaim my weekends and some vacation time.

When I’ve gotten through the tough weeks, have caught up on sleep, and have done some of the fun things off my list, I’ll get back to the writing. In the meantime, I’m just getting through the Monday blues, and taking care of myself the best I can. What self-care things are you doing for your writer’s soul this week?



6 thoughts on “Nancy: Monday Morning Blues

  1. Oh boy, not limited to Monday but to the late winter months in general for me. I do think self-care is a huge help. I’m trying to add “no internet after 8 p.m.” to my list of self-care, because I tend to get carried away on YouTube.

    One thing I want to experiment with is priming. I’ve read about this experiment where the scientists use “old” words like “Florida, retirement” that sort of thing, and the people undergoing the experiment wind up walking down the hall at a slower pace (ie: shuffling). I have never seen any experiments mentioned where we try to solve word jumbles like these:

    arwm zyco veloy siks coohsm

    and then go write for a session. I wonder what would happen (-:.

  2. Michaeline: so if we read “fast” and “energetic,” our fingers will move faster and housework will get done more quickly? I’m going to try it! Although I suppose this could be a variation on the “affirmations” spectrum, where you post notes to yourself along the lines of “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

    As for taking care of myself, I’m starting by going home tomorrow and staying for a while. I’ve had a bunch of family crises in the last five months, and I’ve been home for only a few weeks in that time. It’s unsettling. First thing: dinner with friends. Second thing: morning coffee in my usual spot. My old routine—that will help a lot.

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking, Kay! I have no idea why they only included the negative experiment. Why on earth wouldn’t they test the positive primers? Perhaps the data are too muddy for public consumption . . . but yes, I was also hemming and hawing, and many people swear by affirmations. (-: I always thought Jack Handy was onto a good idea. He may not have been loveable, but I think he felt better about himself with the affirmation.

      I do love a magic pill, especially if it’s an effective placebo. You know, studies show that a placebo can still have an effect even if everyone knows it’s just a placebo. You need to cite the studies, but then it can be positive (-:.

      Do take care of yourself, Kay. It’ll be good to be home.

  3. Nancy – you make lists, I clean. Last week it was the bedroom closet, this week it was the cupboards in the kitchen and the garage. Having things ordered around me tends to make me calmer and more productive. As a plus, cleaning lets me give my mind a break from work and writing and lets me recharge my creativity.

    • I’ve been doing some of that lately. Cleaned out clothes that the kids don’t fit into anymore. Next is our garage as we try to stuff two huge fake Christmas trees on a shelf somewhere. And I have umpteen cans of paint from various household beautification projects that need to be recycled. I’ll clear out a shelf just getting rid of THAT.

      As I put Christmas decorations away (which, I’m ashamed to admit I only just did this past weekend), I got rid of the boxes and decorations we never use, the old electric-operated “candles” that glow in the front windows, and lots of glitter that had sifted its way to the bottom of the storage bins. It felt good getting rid of what we don’t use.

      One goal I have this year is to try to keep my desk relatively “unmessedup.” Not really scientific, but if I can see the surface of my desk, I’ll be happy.

      Here’s to clean closets and even clearer minds!

  4. I took a trip to warm and sunny Arizona for a week. Now I’m back in Ohio, where it was 7 degrees Farenheit this morning, and it’s supposed to snow a bunch on Friday, but that’s okay.

    I have my memories to keep me warm.

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