My writing is crap. Total rubbish. I have at least five essays started on my desktop and zero essays finished. I have ideas – so many ideas – but I can’t get the words out. I can’t quiet my mind.
Perhaps it’s because I can’t find the right place to work. The spot that will allow me to transform words into sentences with punctuation, flow and, if I’m lucky, some humor.
I stopped writing at my desk weeks ago. I might’ve been due to the piles of bills, bank statements, and other bleeping papers that cluttered the space. I moved briefly to the kitchen table where I had some writing success, but believe me, it didn’t come easy. When Gertie arrived, I set up shop on the patio while she peed in the grass every three to five minutes all day long. There, I brainstormed several yet-to-be published pieces about how training puppies and raising children is one in the same.
Since spring break, my laptop has been sitting on the kitchen counter on top of my iPad, to the left of the TV remotes, to the right of my trusty bowl of SkinnyPop, and in front of a cable box, a tangle of phone and tablet chargers, vitamins, sunscreen, cough medicine, cleaning supplies, bug spray, and the knife block.
The beauty of a laptop is that it can go anywhere. The danger is that it might end up in a place like this.
Not pictured, but there nonetheless, is the dishwasher that needs to be emptied (and filled), the trash that needs to be taken out, the floor that needs to be vacuumed, the puppy nipping at my ankles, the boys fighting about whether to watch “Wild Kratts” or “Lab Rats” on Netflix, and my anxiety about dinner that I haven’t planned or cooked. (Although, who would eat it anyway?)
And it’s not just the hostile work environment that’s left the well dry and me frazzled. It’s the voice inside my head that keeps saying, “You’re not that good. Do you really think this is the best use of your time? You could be volunteering more at school. You could make your bed. You could put together the 2011, 2012, and 2013 family photo albums. (Low blow.) You could get a job. ”
Ugh. That voice. It’s manipulative. It’s mean. It’s toxic. I need to ditch it before I do something stupid like listen to it. The problem is that it’s insidious. It knows my every move.
Alarm. Email. Facebook. Twitter. Brush teeth. Coffee. Take dog outside. Feed dog. Laptop. Lunches. Wake, feed, and dress #1. Drop off #1. Coffee. Laptop. Banana. Wake, feed, and dress #2. Drop off #2. Grocery store. Walk dog. Run. Laptop. SkinnyPop. Facebook. Twitter. Laptop. Feed dog. Play with dog. Lunch. SkinnyPop. Facebook. Laptop. Carpool. Homework. Soccer. Or hockey. Or art. Or speech therapy. Or play date. Feed dog. Play with dog. Wine. Dinner. Wine. Laptop. Bath.
I could go on, but bedtime has at least twenty steps and I think you get what I’m saying. She knows my routine.
Today, I duped her.
Alarm. Email. Facebook. Twitter. Brush teeth. Coffee. Take dog outside. Feed dog. Laptop. Lunches. Wake, feed, and dress #1. Drop off #1. Coffee. Laptop. Banana. Wake, feed, and dress #2. Drop off #2. Yoga.
Body calm. Jaw unclenched. Heart happy. Mind quiet. Words flowing. Voice inside head fooled.
What do you do to ditch the toxic voice inside your head?
6 responses to “April Fools A Day Late”
I totally relate to this post! Thank you! I quit my regular full time job 5 months ago to be home with my kids when they aren’t in school, to have more flexibility to take care of my family, and to start my own business as a life coach. I’ve had the dream to be a life coach for at least 4 years, and it’s something I know in my heart I can do and love. But now that I’m facing the vortex of endless home making and family nurturing tasks, unstructured time, and the ambiguity of creating my own career, the toxic voice speaks fairly regularly in my head. Maybe if money were no object, and I didn’t feel like I ever had to worry about creating income, it would be better. But I doubt it. I think the toxic voice can just slip in there no matter where we put our lap tops or how much money we have. I love that you went to a yoga class, and that helped! Yoga and meditation are my 2 favorite tools for reducing stress and cultivating a friendship with myself. The more compassionate I am with myself, the less room there is for the toxic voice to slip in. I also practice medicinal herbs, so there are several herbs that I take to give me well being, sooth my nerves, and bring calm as I go forward on this unchartered path. My husband is a writer and a film maker. He often faces the toxic voice saying, “my writing is crap, I’m never going to get anything published, I’m not getting any younger and haven’t become successful at my art yet”. His way through it is just to keep writing. No matter what, just keep writing. Piles and piles of crap is better than nothing at all. He also doesn’t sleep because when he gets done with his regular job to support us (film set decoration and construction work), and the kids go to bed, he stays up writing. I’m a big fan of sleep. I require sleep, good nutrition, a walk almost daily, various wonderful herbs, meditation and yoga! It’s a wonder I can fit anything else in! Keep on the path of your writing and mama hood. I think you do great work!
This post. Did you jump inside my head and steal my thoughts? I told my husband last week I was thinking of getting a job. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Why would you do that?” So much of what you wrote was familiar, right down to the yoga. I finally got a post out today, after breathing it out in yoga. Thought you might enjoy this piece I wrote a few weeks ago…my version of your thoughts 😉 http://wp.me/p3egZj-8Z
So hard to silence that toxic voice! I’ve spent much of the past two weeks on the couch, recovering from minor surgery and then a nasty cold…and feeling guilty about it! “You should be cooking/cleaning/doing laundry etc….it shouldn’t take this long to get better…your husband/kids need you…get up and do something USEFUL!” As though healing myself weren’t useful. I don’t have any answers, just wanted to let you know you’re not alone in the ongoing struggle with negative self-talk.
I have writing slumps like this as well. Sometimes I have ton of ideas and no time to actually write them out and other times I can’t come up with a single thing to write about. 3 more years until pre-k and maybe I can squeeze some yoga in too!
What a great change of environment – sometimes that’s all it takes. I tend to get caught up in ruts or routines and it’s hard for me to get out of them. I have to force myself to write sometimes because if I don’t I’m afraid I’ll stop blogging altogether and I really don’t want that to happen because I love my blog as an outlet, if nothing else (it’s also a business that I need to supplement my income right now). I guess you could say I push past my voice more than anything else.
Wow! Sounds like my day already, I just moved my office outside as well. It’s amazing what a little change of scenery, some peace, quiet and a clear head (thanks to the yoga) can do. Tonight I will probably still be in my office, but instead of my morning coffee i may change it up to some wine.