My book has been causing me a huge amount of stress recently. With recent discoveries and the passing of the year anniversary of beginning work on it, I feel pressure to complete it and can’t seem to. I think I put an unspoken completion date on it, wanting to get it out there as quickly as possible.
In further examining this, I realize that my desire to get it out there has everything to do with wanting to feel like I’m legitimately working on a writing career, which comes from my feelings of wanting to feel like I’m making a contribution to my lifestyle and marriage and that I’m doing something, anything with my days. But all of that pressure has caused some real anxiety in my life. And it’s caused me to rush things, things that need some time and air to breath.
With my discovery last week of details surrounding one of my main characters, I’ve been feeling the push to actually put physical work into the book, rather than just thinking about it. I guess I’ve convinced myself that I’m not really working on it unless I have my fingers to the typewriter or a red pen in hand. But I know that’s not true. I won’t stop thinking about it. I won’t stop making connections about the things around me to contribute to it. Essentially, I’m always working on it.
So two days ago I let myself off the hook. Every day since making the discovery listed above I have loaded myself up with guilt for not beginning edits, have agonized over how I would begin working on it, have even opened up the file on my computer and immediately said out loud, “Nope! Can’t do it.” Obviously my sub-conscious is trying to tell me something that my ego is fighting.
It was such a relief to take the day away. I felt considerably more calm and was able to focus on other projects, things I’ve been wanting to work on. I was worried that not working in this stringent way meant that I had given up on it. Or that I was just giving in to laziness. Basically I felt that if the guilt was justified, it meant that the work was justified.
I don’t let myself off the hook very often, for anything really, feeling that pressure on myself is the only way that I’ll improve and expand in life. But that’s really just some BS I picked up along the way. Life is not nearly that black and white.