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?