I’m extremely pleased to report that I’ve maintained my daily editing habit this week. Progress is slow, as I’m still finding editing and re-writing to be a much more difficult and clunky process than just writing, but progress is being made. My friend and I continue to check in daily and write together when schedules overlap. Overall, things are very good in the land of my writing, but every good story needs conflict, so here we go.

I’ve talked about my struggles with expectation, disappointment, and failure to build routines. But hope can be a tricky thing too. These past two weeks I’ve been looking at the flip side – the problems that come along with success in my routine building. I know, I sound like a pessimist who’s just never happy, but hear me out.

My brain is a killer with disappointment. One little failure and everything is terrible and I want to give up the whole endeavor as a bad idea. But in its own way, things going well can be just as bad. After a week of doing well at my writing and working on it daily, I was feeling fantastic. The ideas are flowing, progress is being made and I’m full of optimism that everything is good now. That should be a good thing.

The problem is that my brain runs with that bit of positivity just as much as it does a bit of negativity – my good habits are back, the novel is going to be finished in no time! My rewrites are great, this is going to be the next big thing! I’m going to sell the movie rights for big money and never be poor again! I’ve done so well at this daily writing, I’m going set up a daily exercise habit! And since I’m doing that, I’m going to start eating better because why eat junk food if I’m working out? And since I’m being so healthy, I’m going to start sleeping early like a responsible adult! I’m going to give up video games and only do smart, useful things because I’m so fantastic I’ll never need unproductive downtime! I’m a better person now and everything is going to be AMAZING!

Seems ridiculous, right?

In reality, while I kept up my writing habit, I did hit a bit of a roadblock mid-week. I was really struggling to get through a section, and while I had ideas, the execution was taking forever. I’d been feeling so good about the new writing habit, and so full of optimism about how things would never be hard again, that hitting the slightest obstacle was so disappointing it almost derailed me.

I also noticed that while I’m doing really well with the writing habit, other things are falling by the wayside. I’m not reading as much again. The dishes are taking longer to get done. I’m not feeling up to seeing my friends and being as social as I normally do. But everything was supposed to be amazing now, what the heck is wrong with me?

The simple fact is that my resources are finite – just because I’m writing again doesn’t mean there are more hours in the day. It doesn’t mean I have more productive energy. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I’m never going to have another setback. So even when things are going well, I have to fight with that constant spectre of disappointment because my hopes are so high that no reality could possibly live up them. I have to manage the positive side of my expectations as much as the negative.

The good news is that I think I’m doing that better than I have in the past. Though it was a close thing, I didn’t get derailed this week. I worked through the disappointment and the writer’s block. I told myself to just sit down, type a word or two and see where it took me. I reminded myself it’s ok if I didn’t find the time to read today, because I worked on my novel instead. I tamped down the disappointment and didn’t let it run my life. The problem of finite resources is one I have to juggle constantly (as we all do), but I’m getting better at it. Those balls are staying in the air longer and I’m doing a better job of catching them when I fumble. Most importantly, I’m remembering that it’s ok to fumble and that even the most practiced and professional of jugglers is going to drop a ball now and then.

Time to do some editing; the dishes can wait.

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