Friday, July 09, 2010
Giving myself permission to muddle
This year has been a beaut. Every time I think it can't get any worse, somehow, some way, it does. I've had Get-Back-Jack days, but I swear, since last fall, this has been a Get-Back-Jack year.
I just want something, some tiny little infinitesimal thing, to go RIGHT.
I won't go into the gory details, save that it's bad, and it's life-altering, but it is, ultimately, survivable.
Right now, I'm concentrating on the survivable part. If I squint really, really hard, I can see light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm praying it's not a bear with a flashlight.
But enough about the specifics of my muddle. We all have muddles. They jump out and grab us when we least expect it, when we're the least ready for it -- or so it seems.
I want to talk about how our muddles relate to our writing. Some people use their writing during a muddle as an escape mechanism, an anesthetic. They wall themselves off and write like crazy, churning out beautiful, perfect worlds that they have control over, by gum.
Not me. When I'm in the middle of a muddle, it saps my energy. It saps my creativity. I'm like that lizard that starts out at sunrise at Rock A, and he calls it a successful day if he makes to Rock B by sunset.
A year ago, I would have beaten myself up about not being able to face my current editing project. I'd tell myself that I'm falling behind on my goals. I'd tell myself that you have to force yourself on and not wait on The Muse to come teetering in on her stilettos with her feather boa trailing behind her.
But that was before I'd experienced a Get-Back-Jack Year. I understand the importance of being professional, of not missing deadlines, of pushing on when other people's jobs depend on me.
This time my muddle doesn't coincide with a deadline. And I'm giving myself permission, however hard or self-indulgent it seems to me, to muddle through. And you know what else? I'm giving you, should you need it, that same permission.