Figuring out what works
I’ve come to understand that if I don’t spend at least some time early morning with my WIP (with mug of coffee), it’s quite likely not to happen at all that day. I have a “Cup ‘o Work” habit first thing—usually in bed, and always with my laptop and a hot mug of half decaf/half caffeinated coffee. (It used to be full-on decaf, but this year has been stressful and I’ve fallen back on old bad habits.) It’s often an hour, and sometimes as much as two.
I have this luxury now, of time, and the means to spend it as I wish. So then why do the days seem so squished, and why do I most often look back on the day’s hours with guilt and regret.
Here’s what can eat up time:
- Figuring out &$%^*@ passwords!
- Trying to figure out why I’m not getting text messages on my iPhone, but do on my laptop? Or some such tearing-hair-out-by-the-roots puzzle!
- Why do some emails show up in illegible code, and others pristine and beautiful?
- Computer freeze-up. (Is everything I touch today going to malfunction?)
- Doom scrolling. This could be a function of quarantine lonliness, I think, a longing for connection. An hour can go by in a snap. Every now and then it’s rewarding—i.e. the woman who tweeted reading Josephine B. after having it by her bedside for over 20 years—but 99% of the time it’s only depressing because it doesn’t fulfil the need.
Household chores I’m happy to do, often listening to an excellent podcast or book on tape. I space them out as movement breaks from my computer.
But the other thing that eats up my time is my self-inflicted perfectionism. Even now, as I’m typing these words, I wonder if I’m going to allow myself to “send.”
For one thing, I pride myself on the visual that I attach to a post. How to make that fast and easy? It’s not coming up with a beautiful image that’s hard: what’s hard is coming up with the perfect image. And then there’s the matter of attribution, which I feel is ethically important, but that can take time.
So, okay: from now on I won’t give attribution but invite those of you who yearn to know to use the delightful tineye.com to discover the artist.
And maybe my sentences won’t be perfect, either. Can I live with that, in exchange for expression?
We shall see.
But I won’t leave without telling you of a wonderful podcast I discovered today: Dan Blank’s The Creative Shift. I’d tell you more but a password is required. (Insert grinding teeth.) As is, time for bed … and a good book or three.
My love to you all. Really and truly. And especially to the reader who posted to Twitter.