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Thursday I wrote a post on the importance of having a morning writing routine. That session lasted well into the afternoon, and I was able to edit it and hit publish the same day.
Friday I felt like I was on a roll, starting a second post – pointing out ways to make time for writing. I got halfway through my article and faced an interruption.
Really, it was hardly morning by then, so I took a break, determined to fill in the rest of my subheadings on Saturday, then post my advice.
For some reason that didn’t happen – I’m not sure why.
The weekend was a blur.
I was handed two books on grief Saturday night – a gift from a friend, which I formed into a pointed reminder to myself, that I keep procrastinating in that area… pushing sorrow off until September – telling myself that perhaps then I’ll have the time, space, and privacy to be sad.
A quiet voice of reality whispers the reminder that there will always be more coming at me, and grief is never convenient. There is no hitting pause on this life we live.
After a week of feeling some progress, I suddenly felt resentful of my circumstances, and overwhelmed, and like I had some sort of pressure on me to grieve the right way. Yet another form of performance to gain other people’s approval, so they could nod and say to one another, “Yes, indeed, she’s grieving well.”
Why I put that kind of pressure on myself, I don’t know.
It’s really not from other people.
It’s from me. Who falls apart well? I can’t cry pretty. I don’t expect that from other people.
Sunday I hit a wall – utterly exhausted by indecision, being torn in too many directions; trying to prepare my parents house to sell and sort through contents from forty-eight years of “Well, we might need it someday”; wondering why I had agreed to meet with a social media consultant when the thought of Facebook or anything like that isn’t what I want to face.
I felt like I was walking through Jell-O.
Monday I was supposed to get on an airplane; but my mind was spinning like a propellor, trying to figure out whether to stay or go, since my obligation in Indiana for Tuesday got cancelled.
It was still early when I decided to stay in St. Louis; but my morning routine was shot – at least the writing portion.
I’m the one who was holding the smoking gun.
Why I Took the Day Off from My Writing Routine
The day before, I’d driven to a nursery, thinking I’d like to see the greenhouse where my mom spent so much time – and I’d guess money. I missed the entrance turn, and was greeted by a rather unwelcoming sign that said Exit Only, Entrance 300 Feet Back, or something like that.
I have to say this sign annoyed me a little, and maybe was also annoying to the inhabitants of the quiet cul de sac where I chose to turn around. Returning to the proper entrance, I began to see that the parking lot looked abandoned, and then was confused to see this sign:
What did they mean, “Closed for the season”? It was still summer.
“Labor Day”?! That would be more than a month away! We still had more than a week left in July!
I was irritated, then exasperated, then astonished, then awed, then wondering how I could ever have the courage to do what they did. To say they were taking a break when people were still wanting to be served by them.
I wanted that sign.
I wished they were open, so I could buy theirs.
I was jealous, wondering how I could ever have the courage to say, “Closed for the season.”
I’ve been living somewhere between people’s admonitions that I get more rest (to recover from caring for my mom), and trying to meet expectations for what I think they want me to do or not do, and all the things I’ve signed up for of my own free will, wondering whether or not I should have.
My list of things I’d like to do, or think I ought to do, makes me antsy, and sometimes sitting still is the most unrestful part of the day; because it makes me afraid more things will just pile up.
I want to close down for the season. I’m just not sure what part.
That would require a decision, too. And harder than that – I’d have to stick to it. Switching signs all the time, running back and forth, telling people and myself, “Never mind, I didn’t really mean what the sign said,” makes for even more stress and confusion.
Deciding on a Plan and Sticking to It
I need a plan, and I need to stick to it.
Do I shut down this website?
Do I shut down my writing agenda?
Do I stop allowing myself to make plans for finishing construction on my trailer?
Do I take a break from helping my dad downsize?
Do I keep my ringer off for the next month?
What should my hypothetical sign say?
Setting Boundaries Might Bother Us and Others; But it Also Breeds Respect
I keep reiterating to myself the respect I felt after the words on the signs at the Nursery set in.
There were two other nurseries within walking distance, where people might choose to take their business for the rest of the year, if they didn’t like the inconvenience of the nursery closing down.
That didn’t dissuade them from still setting boundaries.
They’d clearly marked an entrance and an exit, expecting people to abide by their rules. I could see the chaos that would have set in, had people been trying to come and go with trucks of mulch and SUVs bent on finding flowers.
Irritated customers could drive right on by and decide they’d rather be served by the competition than inconvenienced by a U-turn.
I could see my mom being one of those people who might have been annoyed by the words on those signs; but this was still her nursery of choice.
Is It a Temptation Not to Write, or Am I Just Being Realistic About My Limited Time Right Now?
This morning I was tempted not to write, even though I was writing in my head. Maybe this little anecdote about the sign I saw at the Nursery won’t mean a thing to anyone else; but typing it into words serves as a reminder to me.
I can blog on and on about morning routines – sporadically, because in reality, it’s hard for me to protect one for myself.
And that’s why I’m wondering if I should even be blogging. I remember so many times following other people’s posts, feeling pressure build to keep up with their routines, only to be totally deflated when the inevitable “honest update” came – about how burnt out and overwhelmed they were.
I’m burnt out and overwhelmed.
Trying to establish this website has been a big part of that; especially in the midst of caring for my mom; but it has also given me an outlet for the words compiling in my head and on my hard drive, so what’s a girl to do?
Stop writing, because it’s hard?
The Illusion of the Right Way to Write
I guess that’s where the concept behind the name Plankeye Publishing comes to mind. In writing advice about writing, I’m really writing to myself.
Not rules – just helpful tips and reminders.
There is no “right way” to do it.
We can establish habits and routines that help move us forward; but life does happen, and it’s important to allow for breaks, so we don’t crumble apart.
And along with all that, there is still the reminded, it’s okay to rest.
Creativity Requires Rest
Writing is a creative endeavor.
The Creator of the Universe worked six days, and He rested for one.
He established patterns and seasons for rest.
I’m reminded of that.
Sometimes He told people to sit still – that in sitting still they would find strength.
For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.Isaiah 30:15
Sometimes they still wouldn’t do that – insisting on pursuing their own endeavors. Pressing forward and getting further behind.
I’m tempted to ramble now; but the morning is over. It’s time to move on.
Maybe all my writing posts will start with my struggle to sit down and write. At least I’m done for the day and have some words to show for it.
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