And where do I begin?
OK – here is a thing I do not like: I try to get on top of a schedule, to plan my days and schedule my time, in an effort to accomplish as much as I can. Then, this morning, I am hit by inspiration and need to write.
Sometimes my mind will be working away on something for a period of time; chugging away in my subconscious at putting some nebulous perceptions into an articulate and concise form. Suddenly, it appears in the front of my mind, ready and needing to be put down on paper. I can hardly bear to go through the motions of my normal routine to get my son to school and get home so that I can sit down and write. But I do. (And I am even getting better at keeping on task despite interruptions.)
But as I write, I have one eye on the clock. I am “scheduled” to do certain other tasks and I cannot overstay my window. So I dutifully stop. I take my shower; I know that I am “scheduled” to work. But all the time I am doing the things I need to do, my mind is still writing. Such perfect words, lovely sentences, and insightful phrases run through my head, finding new paths and making new connections, forming new insights. I’m on a roll and it is exciting to me.
I find myself hating that I am not able to write it all down right now. I am afraid that by the time I am able to write, all this “good stuff” will be GONE. I have many times in my life wished I could somehow download what is in my brain in some kind of direct link that can be transcribed onto paper or into a computer. But I just have to believe and hope that if it was good enough and necessary enough that it will come back and be there when I am ready for it. However, it is not always possible to summon inspiration or insight on command. It is not easy to make myself write when my “muse” does not seem to be present or awake.
And here is my dilemma: What often happens in these situations is that the frustration and inner turmoil from this conflict of what I want to do vs. what I need to do conspire to eat up all my time and energy so that I end up not accomplishing either. The time gets away from me and leaves me feeling angry, resentful, frustrated, and often depressed.
The obvious solution would seem to be that I should go with the flow when the inspiration hits; just do it – the other things can be done later. Except that I have learned that doesn’t always happen. It is hard enough to plan my schedule in the first place. If I throw it out the window at any given time, then it tends to screw me up completely.
My natural tendency is to do things on the fly, as the inspiration or the urge hits me. I have learned to curb my impulsiveness when it would not benefit me, but creative urgings rebel against being scheduled. If I had all the time in the world in which to do all the things I both need and want to do, then I don’t suppose I would have a problem, as long as I kept myself focused on my goals. However, my life consists of too many responsibilities and necessities for me to be able to follow my whims, for the most part.
The main problem is that it takes extreme force of will on my part for me to do the things that I find distasteful but that are extrinsically necessary – like performing my income-producing work. And I say “extrinsic” because to me, it is not personally something I would choose to do if I didn’t have to. It has no intrinsic value to me. It angers me that I have to do this in order to survive. How boring is that? But how dare I feel that way; everybody else has to do it so why do I think I should be somehow excused from it?
Now things like taking a shower, eating, sleeping, taking out the garbage, etc., etc., are also things that I find boring and annoying wastes of time. However, it is easy to see why these things are necessary and it really isn’t too difficult to take care of most of the basics in life. Plus, I have a bit more control over those things in terms of when those things get done or what they consist of.
But work – how did I ever end up being stuck doing types of work that are so counter to the type of person I am? I have spent years and countless amounts of time agonizing over this question and trying to figure out how to change what I do so that it is not so abhorrent and distasteful; so that working doesn’t become such an agony. And it is. And when I keep putting it off and not doing it, it causes me severe financial difficulties that I find mortifyingly horrible and scary. And that carries with it self-flagellation and accusations of laziness, selfishness, stupidity – very counter-productive and damaging to my self-esteem.
I agonize, I get conflicted, I end up doing nothing; I despair.
These feelings often spill over to affect every other area of my life. The self-loathing causes me to sabotage all my other efforts in all other areas of my life. And so then all those brilliant ideas and the lovely language running through my head like a beautiful, magical dream, gets buried, lost, and lamented. And I am sad. Sometimes I am angry. Sometimes, it all just makes me want to take a nap and forget it all.
The thing is, sometimes I am perfectly fine with working. I determine that that is what I will do and I do it, no problem. It feels good to be productive, blah, blah, blah. Making money is good, apparently, or so I’m told.
And when I work in spurts like that, at times when my mind is perfectly aligned with the process, it would be fine if I didn’t need a more dependable sort of income. I end up earning the same thing at the end of the year, no matter what. But some months I make nothing and other months I make three months’ worth of living expenses. This is the way I am most capable of working. So how can I make all of this work for me such that I do not have to suffer these negative feelings and can instead follow my “muse” when it hits?
Or do I HAVE to learn to MAKE myself do it differently and ignore my inclinations and impulses??
Such is my dilemma.