The word for this week is overwhelm.
I’m looking for a new house, helping the older daughter with med school apps, completing high school apps for the younger, working on financial aid applications for both, and just received manuscript notes back from the editor at Penguin. Deadlines loom.
Yesterday, I started to crack. I have a couple of genre projects I want to get published, and I began to feel like they’d never get done. I obsessed over all the things that could go wrong with my many obligations. Have I procrastinated too long? Will my fail my daughters? Will my writing partner make time to work on the manuscript before the last minute? How long will it take to get the next advance check? What if the girls don’t get into any of their desired schools? What if there’s not enough financial aid available to close the tuition gap?
I worked all day, but not efficiently. Even while I marched on the incline machine at the gym, my energy was manic, my mind roaming from one task to another. Today started out the same way, but one simple change made the difference.
I gave myself permission to delve into my own work. Sure, I met my writing quota yesterday, but it was done without respect for the work as a priority. I was simply getting it done, because I’d committed to doing it. I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t even appreciate it.
I worked on all the family and career obligations. They’re all important. But I also allowed myself ninety minutes to write my fiction. No tabbing over to websites, no stopping to make a quick phone call to an admissions office, no whining about how underwater I felt.
Ninety minutes isn’t a lot of time, but it saved me. Focusing on something I can control, seeing visible progress on an important project, diving into my fictional world, and spending time with the characters of my creation recharged me in a way that few things can.
I’ll have to remember that over the next few weeks.
Go write something!