April 15th, 2020 — If ever there was an indicator of the “New Normal” it’s the fact that today is Tax Day but not really. It’s a real blessing that people have been given some time to get that together. The gift of the pandemic.
A gift that I’ve received during this pandemic is that of “increased creativity plus more time”. If you have been reading my blog since it started back up in earnest in March, you likely see what I’m talking about. The quarantine pressed the pause button on my hectic, freight-train-hamster-wheel daily life, and I’m so grateful. The struggle is whether I can hold on to it. Or truthfully, the struggle is with the constant DOUBT that I CAN hold on.
Oh, Head Trash Monster, you are so good at what you do. You stand there grinning as the doubt bubbles up like pasta water coming to a boil.
Regardless, I am doing something super scary anyway and it means stepping into the ring with HTM every single day. I’m going to suit up in some shiny, colorful boxing shorts and don a silky, satiny robe and SHOW UP.
I’m writing a book. A freaking book. Not sure how long it will be, but it will be something that can actually be considered as a book.
There, I said it, out loud for someone, anyone, to hear. I need to say it on repeat so I, MYSELF, can hear. As a card-carrying squirrel creative, I know in my bones I have a book in me, but I equally fear being of sound mind and body enough to literally sit down and do the work. The struggle is real.
Fortunately, my wise woman, my 90-year old future self, is watching me and pulling as hard as she can. She knows that if I sit down with her in 40 years and have to say, “I really WANTED to finish that book, but I just never did…” we will both cry. Bitter tears of regret.
I do NOT want that. I want to sit down with her and say, “F*ck yeah I wrote that book, and that other one, and wow, that last one was amazing, wasn’t it??” And we will have a major dance party with Justin Timberlake. (I adore JT)
Here’s what happened yesterday that gave the ol’ HTM a heyday.
I recorded myself talking in a Zoom call, (did you know that’s a great tool?? A modern times dictaphone, if you will) orally processing and outlining my ideas. Then, I sat down and banged out a good 7 or so pages. And I freaking loved it! I loved it as it was hard, complicated and exciting.
Scary-exciting. That’s a thing I intend to embrace in this process. I do love roller coasters for that reason. Standing in line, you have time to think about how scary it is going to be, then you get your turn to sit and buckle in to some bizarre steel contraption that you literally have entrusted with your LIFE, then off you go! The slow, suspenseful climb, the stomach-dropping downs, the loop-the-loops, whatever tricks are in store, you ride them out, mouth open screaming with excited terror!
Then it’s over in a surprisingly few minutes. And you want to do it all again!!
Ok, here’s my mega-rookie mistake that happened yesterday and sent me SCREAMING for the hills and straight into my “back seat”. (If you don’t understand that reference, you must seek the amazing guidance of Jessica Butts, and your life will be forever improved)
Get ready: I saved my book’s Word Doc to my DESKTOP.
I know!! “Ryan, you fool! What a perfect way to invite the inevitable technology breakdown!” You are 100% right. The universe notices that kind of stuff immediately and then sends a huge MESSAGE!
“Who the hell do you think you are?? YOU??? Write a book?? Gimme a break. Authors are special people. Chosen ones. You are not special nor capable. Clearly. I mean, who saves their life’s work on the DESKTOP?”
It’s not important what exact technology glitch happened, but the end result was that I was in imminent danger of never accessing that file again. Granted, it wasn’t 80 pages, but still! The thought of having to start over…
Bam. Straight into my back seat. It was about 9pm when we realized we had a potentially unfixable problem. The Head Trash Monster spiel was on repeat in my head, and I was toast. I set up the coffee pot for the morning, then got in bed.
Nothing left. Pout and watch mindless tv with the hubby. (my sweet guy…”tomorrow is a new day, hon”) It is what it is. I had to just leave it until we could literally recharge the battery on the machine, but more importantly, MINE.
There comes a point in a situation, usually when you are the most desperate and stressed, that you must walk away. You can’t do anything more but give it space…and reset yourself.
For me, it’s sleep. Sleep is magical. It refills me and resets me to 100%. When I’m 100% again, actual, logical thought is again possible and the HTM is relegated back under the bridge with the troll.
If you can just let something sit for a while, and go do something else that fully distracts you enough to get your head back on, anything is possible when you are fully renewed. It works every time.
Problems can be solved. Luckily I married a genius problem-solver.
FYI, the file is now stored in the magical place called Dropbox:)