Tuesday, February 21, 2012

15 minutes a day keeps the burning need at bay

Hello from my Droid. (The phone capitalized its name.) I downloaded this app so I can post anywhere my Droid is working, which makes me feel like I'm Texting my blog. (It capitalized texting too. It also thinks it's spelled wrong in lower case. Silly phone.) Or my readers, if there are any left. You wouldn't know it from how little I post, but I think about my blog and yearn to go home and write EVERY DAY.

I guess the reason I'm not constantly blogging is that I feel like I need enough time to finish a post. This is a tall order since it takes me 3-4 hours to complete something that will make me feel good. It's like a full blown exorcism when I write a blog post that really gets into my feelings. It's an ordeal that I want to be ready for, although the end result is that I've worked through something that I might be able to let go. It's worth it.

I discovered a website from the Get It Done Guy's podcast (Quick and Dirty Tips) for FlyLady. The site/program is to help people de-clutter their homes and simplify keeping it clean. I signed up for their emails (your views intrigue me and I'd like to sign up for your newsletter*) because, as I mentioned before, I am a risk factor for hording. According to FlyLady (or one of her internet minions) not wanting to work on something unless you can finish it is caused by perfectionism. I can see this. I am a perfectionist. I am basically a Hermione Granger beaten down by life and by the utter hopelessness of things ever being the way I want them to be, and my own struggles to come even vaguely close to my expectations for myself. What I want and what seems possible, through the lens of pessimism and disappointment I've accepted as the price of playing in a culture that I feel so out of synch with, are on opposite ends of the earth. I get paralyzed by the suspicion that unforeseen road blocks are in any direction I turn. Sometimes it seems easier to give up rather than fail at something and feel bad about it.

FlyLady's motto for this year is "Perfection is shelved in 2012!" Cute, huh? I love the rhyme. Even better, she ends every email with "You are not behind! I don't want you to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?" I love that (except I wish she would spell it "okay".) I am always feeling behind, in practically everything. There is no behind in this philosophy.

Another thing that spoke to me is this month's habit to work on - declutter for 15 minutes a day. At first, I thought, yeah, I can see fitting in 15 minutes a day and, if done everyday, I'd make progress. But then, in another email, she said you could break your 15 minutes into 5 minute increments. It was a revelation, not for organizing but for blogging. What if I could blog in 5 to 10 minute a day? This would be a total stylistic shift for me. My modus operandi has been to only think about topics I want to write about during the day, and then sit down eventually and write obsessively for however many hours it takes for me to finish something. Why not use the current technology to write in bursts? It almost seems unfair that our predecessors had to sit down at a typewriter, and keep re-typing their subsequent drafts. Of course it's cool to look at writers' and editors' notes to see how the writing evolved, even though many of those writers hated the idea of anyone publishing their unfinished work. Even though I love learning about the process, I am so focused on my own end results that I stress out through the work it takes to get there. It's hard for me to just enjoy the journey. I'm realizing this is philosophically kind of hard on me. When I do finish something, it's difficult to feel good about what I accomplished because I'm thinking about how I should have done it fast, better, more. This perfectionism is also driving me crazy at every step of the process. I think I should have finished this already; I should be farther along; I should be able to see the finish line already. Even if I do get lost in the work, the time before and after is filled with reproach. I am notoriously hard on myself.

My apartment clutter drives me nuts, my struggles at work shake my confidence, but more than anything else in the world I wish I was a weekly blogger. Nothing, in terms of what I do, means as much to me as writing. This often means I put so much pressure on myself and am so unhappy with where I'm currently at that I only hold myself back. If I could change that mindset, I could be writing through-out the day and feel happy about it.** Writing is joyful for me, and sort of magical when I can write whatever I want and publish it seconds later. Speaking of, I'm about to do that now.

*Simpson reference **Entirely written away from home!