Things I Briefly Convinced Myself I Needed, While Perusing Instagram In The Midst Of Deadline Denial:
- Microbladed eyebrows
- A gigantic, arm-knitted blanket
- Vitamin C serum
- A second cat, in a contrasting colour scheme to the first one
- An Instant Pot
- Three new haircuts
- Adult ballet lessons
- Approximately 27 new novels
- A turmeric latte*
In other news:
It has been four months since my last Operation Foxy By 40 update. There are now less than SIX MONTHS until the Big Four Oh. I’d say I’m feeling approximately 67% foxier than when the Project began in November 2015. I am taking better care of myself. I have finished one (1) very basic sewing project. I am eating the vegetables. I am getting out of my own way, more often.
Except… when I’m not!
One of the more delightful things that’s happened over the past few months is having some cool and interesting new work come my way. The brain has been stretched and challenged in unexpected and exciting ways. I’ve had to learn new things and crawl out of my comfort zone (it was so cosy there, with fluffy blankets and Netflix and cake crumbs everywhere).
But it also meant coming smack bang up against my doubt and old bullshit stories. I wound myself up into such a ridiculous state of panic, questioning who the heck was I to think I could do this kind of work. All the exercise and meditation and getting dressed properly went out the window. I couldn’t write here for a month, fearing if I put down some words, it would deplete the available supply for my clients.
This will pass! Feelings come and go, just like the tide! I’d remind myself as I frantically searched for “relaxing music” and “how to stop panicking” on YouTube. Fair enough. So, shitty feeling, when are you going to bugger off? Can you give me an ETA?
The night before a big deadline, I ended up plonked at the bottom of the stairs weeping to Gareth, “I AM JUST TOO STUPID FOR THIS. I’ve actually hit the limits of my brain!”.
I made it in the end, all thanks to the magic of humans. Firstly, Gareth, who managed to keep a straight face throughout, and suggested I talk to my professional writer friends. And so, Gillian and Julia gave me the best advice.
Afterwards, elated yet highly embarrassed at my batshit bonkers behaviour, I posted about the “process” on Up & Running forum and discovered that of course I’m not alone.
It gets big and messy before it gets structured and concise, said the awesome A. Even knowing this, it’s still usually pretty ugly producing something good that didn’t previously exist.
You have just described every single goddamn writing project I have ever engaged in, said the wonderful Professor K. And, like you, I write for a living (along with teaching). Did Dickens feel this way, I wonder??!!
As I toddle towards the next deadline, I choose to believe that he did.
*That last one was made up. I am not on board with the turmeric latte. Keep it in the curry, I say!
P.S. This post actually written on 13 April despite the time stamp… arrgh!