Winter is my writing season. I’m used to being a workhorse through the summer months so I can sit at my desk and tease out prose through the rainy months. I look forward to it all year. When the leaves turn and autumn creeps in, I start planning for Nanowrimo and then a three-month storyboard binge in my studio.
Not so much this year. This time around was deadline after deadline after hard push to meet the threshold of an unexpected set of opportunities. A girl does what she can, right?
I skidded into December with my hair on fire and a gnarly case of burnout. Then with a couple few days of rest I went right into pitch sessions, and haven’t stopped. My support system is really encouraging me to accept every invitation, send out every query – even the ones I know I’m probably not a fit for, because “You have to practice. It’s all practice for the real pitches. Say yes, and learn from it.” I mean, it’s not bad advice, as advice goes, but it is overwhelming when you’re not in the practice of being around people or being put on the spot.
Also, I still have books to write, and contractors and contracts to manage for my businesses – so it’s a lot of energy I’m not in the practice of giving. So much so that when Nanowrimo ended, and my first set of concept materials were out – I turned and looked at the mess that is my home. It was/is a horror show.
I’d dropped everything to meet the deadlines. Cleaning, cooking and basic maintenance fell to the back burner.
Empty Amazon boxes were piled by the door. I was out of clean laundry, even underwear. (Yes, Natalie, I’d already did the forward, backward inside-out trick and I was still out of underwear. PLUS, I’d purchased a bunch of skivvies just for Nanowrimo so I wouldn’t run out.) I stood looking at the mess my life had become while my hands were so full, and my brain was on overload.
That’s it. I’m over it. I grabbed the empty amazon boxes, the three bags of manuscript drafts, all the junk mail, and any empty packaging lying around and dragged it all out to the field. I lit it on fire (the recycle center is an hour away, and most of it wouldn’t fit in my little car anyway.) Once the fire was going, I ALSO TOSSED ON ALL MY UGLY PANTIES. Yes, anything I didn’t actually want to wash because I was already half a dozen loads of laundry in the rears, I just burned it all.
“Why do I have those panties? I don’t even like that pair… they ride up into my teeth” Toss ‘em.
“How many times can you bleach period underwear before it’s like, girl, just let them go?” Toss ‘em.
Add a few holy shirts (No, not the Mormon kind) and a pair of yoga pants that were worn a bit too thin in a few places.
And so went the next few weeks of catching up on cleaning, clearing, and making space. Building boxes to take to Goodwill, and dumping junk in the bins for the landfill. I’m still behind. I’m still overwhelmed. I’m still trying to get caught up on the last six months of rapid movement meets loss of all patterns and routines – but I’m getting there, slowly. I’m sourcing contractors, hiring support services, and scheduling out some resources to help re-position.
As I shift and re-settle, though, it’s becoming evident that this might be my new routine… for a while anyway. I’m realizing that what I was, and how I’ve been going about this last leg of the race isn’t going to work if I plan to move forward. A new structure needs to be put into place to build up and out on these incoming changes and this wonderful growth spurt.
They aren’t New Year’s resolutions, per say, but I’m finding that a week and some change into 2022 I’m all for, dump it, drop it, toss it, clear it out, and move it aside.
That goes for the second-hand dollar store flatware I’ve kept because I hate running out of clean forks. Wash a fork, Athena. Put down your manuscript edits and wash the forks. You don’t need to hold onto stuff because you THINK you’re buying yourself time to focus on writing.
The shift is going to have to happen on two fronts. 1) I can no longer clutter my life and energy with what is not adding to the fun or quality of the experience 2) That includes the de-cluttering of mental obsessive focus on my work that sidebars/derails/eliminates all other details from my frame of reference, including but not limited to: day to day upkeep and maintenance, wellbeing, and health routines, and yes – even romance.
It’s time to make space for fresh, delightful, and blissful experiences, patterns, and ideas.
New Year, new rules: Dump it, drop it, toss it, clear it out, and move it aside.
This includes releasing all relationships that are pulling my energy backward or down. Dump it. This includes midnight ruminations on crappy things I’ve said or done or wished I could have responded better to. Clear it. This includes ideas and thoughts that have kept me pinned to the old versions of myself that are no longer relevant. Drop it.
It’s radical. It’s the Swedish Death Cleaning version of my living space and my habits, and my thoughts.
Why? Because it’s long overdue. It’s so overdue, the library just called to say, “Fuck it. Keep the book, you’d paid for it with the fees.”
The funny thing is, I’m kind of over that book, and I’d like a new one, please. A fresh, new book.
So here we are, January 11, 2022, and I’m finally asking, “Athena, what book do you want now?”
It’s a completely different set of options this year. The truth is, I might like to browse a bit and enjoy the energy. There’s no rush. I just want to see what’s on the shelf… but in the meantime, I’m going to clear up a bunch of space so I have all the room to fit something new and lovely into the adventure.
Here’s to an exciting new year full of possibilities and wonderful new creative projects and builds. Huzzah!
Also, the bridge I made this summer survived the storm melt and runoff!! (I won the bet!!)