Dear Diary: Red-Yellow-Green

traffic light.jpgRED

Reading. I’ve been in a reading slump. I mean, I’ve been re-reading old favorites like Potter and Narnia but nothing new. This often happens to me when I’m in a fragile state creatively. I tend to compare and get envious. Anyone read anything amazing lately that I just MUST read?

Cleaning. It’s taking me one billion years to get my room clean. I’m legit so messy. Ugh. My friend posted this on Insta the other day, and it is so apt:

housekeeping

YELLOW

Men. I’m crazy about a boy who is less crazy about me. I’m not naive here, and even though he is the sweetest, most fun guy, he is also flaky and has a lot of baggage. (I mean, don’t we all??) It’s hard to explain without giving away secrets that aren’t mine. I have enough self awareness to know that I should probably move on– but also know myself well enough to know that I’m not ready to do that. (Yes, he’s the boy referred to in the One That Got Away poem. I even showed it to him.) He makes me happy.

20180908_2140102212071647948146946.jpg20180908_2140335202660499831061827.jpg

Writing. It’s still in the yellow zone for me. It’s a combo of fear and lack of time and energy. I will get there. Yellow means slow, right? 🙂

GREEN

PT. I started physical therapy, and even though I’m only a couple days in, I love it! I’m really excited about it– and hopeful!

Sleep. I love my new mattress! Review of the mattress and of the Sleep Sherpa showroom coming soon! I’m also really jiving with my CPAP. It’s just a totally different world when you get quality sleep for the first time in years. 🙂

Growth. I’m trying to become the woman I want to be. It’s good. Hard. But good.

 

First Draft Manifesto

I am going to write an absolutely terrible first draft, and I’m not going to apologize for it.

The characters will be inconsistent, the exposition will be bare-faced, the details will be absent, and the climax will be boring.

I won’t care.

I will neglect the setting.  I will force the dialogue.  I will let the characters do whatever the hell they want.

It doesn’t matter.

I will use cliches.  I will info-dump.  I will rely on stereotypes.

It’s all right.

Because it’s a first draft.

All that matters is that I put words onto pages.  Every day.  Bad ones.  Lots of adverbs.  And the word nice.  The phrase “nicely nice.”  All of it in passive tense.

I will be kind to myself and to my first draft.  I will let it get its way.  I will baby it and baby myself.

But you’d better believe that once I have this first draft done, I will wring it out and make it surrender.  

Shrinking the Viewfinder

I was writing the other day and remembered– for the first time in a long while– why I loved it so much.

The joy of creation.

Having everything and anything be possible.

Being responsible for selecting the exact right word to make something powerful.

The wonder.

So many things have been stealing the wonder in recent years: deadlines and contracts, envy, comparing myself to other writers, everything to do with Twitter, anxiety, pressure, loss of confidence.

Somehow I had convinced myself that I needed to write a perfect book. I’m not even sure such a thing exists.

Instead of working on the next sentence or the next paragraph, I’d gotten consumed thinking of the big picture, which is enough to collapse almost anyone.

Anne Lamott always talks about “small assignments,” but I couldn’t shrink my viewfinder to that. She keeps an empty picture frame at her writing desk– I think it’s one inch by one inch. She tells herself to focus only on what can be seen in that frame.

I’ve never known how to write a book besides emptying myself of sentences until the right sentences end up on the page. Then rearranging the sentences until they are in the right order. If there is a wrong way, I will take it first. I will take 400 wrong ways before I find myself and my story pointed in the right direction, and then I’m shocked and amazed.

And yet, I’ve somehow been telling myself not to move until I’m sure it’s the right direction.

That might work for some people, but it’s never been my M.O.

Time stressed me out. Comparison made me miserable. I took all the things that I know work for me and decided they weren’t “right” … and all that happened was that I became paralyzed.

I want to pretend like I’m writing a first draft– where there are no rules and nothing matters except having fun with the story.

I’m gonna re-post my First Draft Manifesto, then cling to it like a life preserver.life preserver.jpg

Oddly Specific Things I Love

Oddly specific things I love:

  • Setting goals and making lists that break them down into actionable steps and having a free evening where my only goal is to work through my goals list
  • Finding themes between seemingly unconnected things, say, ancient Rome, salt, and humility
  • The exact perfect temperature and weather, which occurs SO rarely and includes rain where it’s warm enough to open a window but where opening the window makes it cool enough to need a blanket

When the Sun Comes Out

This has been a good week. It feels amazing.

I’ve been reading the book Four-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss, and it’s given me a lot of hope and action points. This book also prompted me to reconsider the Egoscue Method (as I’ve written about here and here). I found a local woman certified in the Egoscue Method and had a great phone conversation with her today.

I’ve worked on my novel.

I’m getting great rest with my CPAP.

The new students are moving in tomorrow at my university, one of the best days of the year.

I’m talking with “Ben” again (yes, the guy who ghosted me … twice). I know that’s stupid, but he makes me laugh every day. Does self awareness reduce my idiocy or increase it?

I’m just hopeful. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way, and it’s just lovely to have the sun come up in my heart.

patrick-selin-391360-unsplash.jpg