Fear Of Failure

The writing did not go well this weekend. Saturday I was tied up (enjoyably so) with socializing all day and night (went to bed after 1AM) and Sunday during the interminably long shift at work I was so sleepy I could hardly think. This left me cranky that I accomplished next to nothing for two whole days. D.H., after inquiring as to the source of my malaise, said “As much as you’ve written lately, I don’t think it matters.” To which I replied “That’s not the point!” It doesn’t matter what I have already written. What I wrote yesterday or two days ago does not count for today and so today (or in this case, Saturday and Sunday) I feel like a failure.

Wow, I just reread that, and I really wasn’t expecting to say that. Amazing what lurks in our subconscious waiting to pop out with the least provocation. Now my bad mood makes a lot more sense to me. You see, I am a lifelong overachiever. As a rule, there are very few things that I do that I don’t do well (largely because I tend not to do the things I don’t do well…like sports…anything involving a ball or a combination of a ball and some sort of club). I was a straight A student most of my life, finishing grad school with a 4.0. I cook well. I’m organized. I make myself that person who is indispensable at work. This is not intended to be a recitation of “hey, I’m good at all these things, aren’t I great?” Perhaps more illuminating would be the list of things I don’t do because I don’t do them well: as mentioned previously, sports; playing guitar (my husband is the musician…I played until I met him and since he was so much better, and I wanted to write anyway, I stopped playing); ballet (don’t go there…); art (love it, but don’t have a huge aptitude for it); and while I’m sure there are others, you get the point. Growing up, I focused on doing all the things I was good at instead of the things I wasn’t because failure is intolerable to me. And so these tiny failures–not meeting my daily word goal–don’t sit well with me, at all. Will the world stop because I didn’t write 1,000 words this weekend? No. Will my book never be finished because of the lack of those 1,000 words? Of course it will be finished. So what the heck am I so up in arms about?

Part of it is that I am trying to push push push as hard as I can and finish as much as I can before I start my new job on July 16th. I go from working 20 hours a week to 40 again (which is a great thing from a financial standpoint), and I will be doing something that actually requires brain power. I am 100% behind the new job. But it’s going to take a lot away from my writing time, so I wanted to get as close to finished as possible before then. I’ve given some thought to how I am going to fit daily writing in around a 40 hr + workweek from 8-5 M-F, paying attention to hubby, exercising, keeping up the house, cooking, and a social life (which will be possible, at last, since I’ll be working normal people hours and days instead of nights and weekend). And unfortunately, I think it’s going to come back to getting my derriere out of bed at the ungodly hour of 6 AM or earlier (I should mention that I loathe morning). That gives me about an hour to an hour and twenty minutes to write in the mornings before work. I’ll come home for lunch and get another 45 minutes in. And then I should be able to squeeze in a couple hours after work (as I’ve become adept at drowning out whatever hubby is watching on TV or playing on his Xbox). I had considered upping my daily word goal from 500 to 1k because lately (barring this weekend) I’ve been making that easily. But since my time will so severely be restricted when I start the new job, I think I will stick with 500. It has definitely gotten easier since I’ve been writing every day. It no longer takes me the entire freaking day to get down 500 words (usually). So I can only hope that it continues once my schedule so radically changes. And, I suppose, I need to cut myself some slack and deal with the fact that I won’t be able to write every single day. No matter how much I want to protect the writing, life is going to intervene.

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