free-writing: knackered, and half a year gone by
It's almost 5 P.M. and I've only just switched on the computer for the day. Been completely knackered since morning, a result of yesterday's shot. Entirely expected. What I didn't expect was how much I'd sleep as a result. I was awake only at mealtimes, and fast asleep at others. Like a newborn.
But I couldn't let this day go by without marking it in some way. The last day of June. The end of the first half of 2021.
Wow! Time has been flying on one of D's supersonic jets with a gazillion engines.
I don't know if it's the marking of days in terms of months and weeks and holidays and weekends and hours and minutes that seems to make them sprint towards some unknown destination.
But here we are. Six months down. Six months to go.
I have a lot of writing plans for the rest of the year.
But more importantly, I've come to a decision on the reading front. Up until last year, I was reading a lot. I was reading to find answers in the experiences and words of others.
Sometime this year, it occurred to me that the 'advice' doled out by other people is what may have worked for them at one point in their life and not necessarily what is best for me.
So how do I go about figuring what is best for me? By observing myself first – my habits, patterns, rituals, especially my attitude towards writing, parenting – and then coming up with ways to address behaviours that don't help me in my journey.
For the rest of the year, I've decided to not read any more new non-fiction. The main reason being I want to use much of my time writing, and writing more words in a day than I've been able to before.
I don't even want to read books on writing. Many writers try to break down the art and craft of writing into some sort of a formula – a particular combination of the types of scenes and twists required – to make the story interesting. But, I think, it's not as easy or as formulaic as that.
When I sit down to write, the story comes of its own accord. The twist in the tale. The sudden new revelation I may not have planned for before.
Moreover, even when I read books on writing, I'm at a loss when it actually comes to applying them to my work. Which then negates the entire purpose of reading books on writing.
The only thing I want to do is write more.
And stop doing other things, pretending they'll me write better, when in fact they are only excuses to keep me from hunkering down and writing.
It's as simple as that.
Even though, everyday I come up with excuses for doing other stuff, anything other than writing – I'm too tired, I played too much with D and now my head hurts, I don't have an idea, I'm bored of this story taking so long, I need to cook.
And do you know what's the biggest time-waster for me? All these imaginary conversations I have in my head with people – actually two close family members (close only in terms of the relationship labels) – who have hurt me in the past, and I feel so vulnerable simply thinking about them. And now that the world is opening up, I've already started to feel anxious that come next summer, they'd be demanding to come over for a visit, which would be great for D but a nightmare for me. This is a never-ending problem for me.
For years, I've had these imaginary conversations, trying to come up with rebuttals and retorts to make sure that I always have the upper hand in a conversation with them, whenever it happens next in real time, and not be subdued into silence, tears shed into the pillow at night, or angry outbursts, because I couldn't stand up and say "No, thank you. This hurts," at that point in time.
It's very sad to be consumed by something like this – an imaginary conundrum – completely distorted by biased memories and fear of the future. And of course, that darned low, low, low self-worth. Which makes me beg for validation, approval from the people who'll never give it to me, who aren't qualified to give it to me in the first place because they are not me.
Well, now that I know this is one behaviour I have to pay attention to, I'm all eyes and ears. Giving myself all the love and compassion I need. It's OK. It's OK.
In fact, this was one of the reasons I had wanted to write and publish books in the recent past. I wanted to 'prove' to these two family members that I hadn't made a mistake by choosing to be a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to 'prove' to myself that these years of staying home with D were not a waste. That something meaningful came out of it.
No wonder writing had become such a source of dread for me.
I had tied up so much of my insecurities and fear and ego into it, no wonder my muse was terrified and looking to run away to find other creatives who'd honour her and nurture their art, not to prove something to the world or even to themselves, but simply for their own enjoyment, for the pleasure of creating something that never existed before. Something uniquely theirs.
So here's me, committing to write the next six months, while trying not to allow self-doubt and fear and anxiety to push me away from my path for too long, vowing to always come back to what matters – honouring myself, KrA, and our child for who we are, where we are in life, without wishing we were somewhere else, doing something else, being someone else.
I thought I'd just write a word about feeling tired and call it a day, but the words poured out. And if I can do this with my daily blog, I'm sure I can do this with my fiction too.