It will not be a surprise to learn one thing important to me is writing. My commitment to this blog, for instance, was to write so I would have a post every Monday and Thursday. After all, as a full-time freelance editor and writer, this is my chosen, main outlet for personal writing. (My “Plan to Write Fiction” is another story, which I might have mentioned a few dozen times before without ever saying what the plan is. But I digress.)
And writing, like all endeavors, takes discipline. And writing means, well, writing, not just talking about writing (unless you, um, do both).
So, except for when I recycled two or three posts and had a couple of vacation stretches when I chose not to write, I have been able to make the time to meet that twice-each-week goal. That is, until the last couple of weeks when making time to write somehow turned into a chore and not a love. You see, though writing or any other work you love is still work, it is, in my opinion, not a chore when you love it.
No, this was different. Not writer’s block, which some believe to be a myth anyway, but a barrier to writing that was—or seemed—new.
I just could not seem to do it.
One reason, I realized, was some procrastination—putting off writing about some hard things. So I confessed that here. But there have been some other reasons for this visit to the edge too, circumstances or conditions that, before I knew it, put me there, staring down at a rocky-bottom canyon that looked a lot like “Yes, well, I don’t write anymore. I tried, I put up a brave face about it, but in the end I gave it up, took a swan dive, and landed down here, my hopes crushed beyond all recognition.”
Yes, this is a bit dramatic. But the analogy works for me because I cannot tell you how afraid I am of heights and falling from them. Well, I could, but not right now.
I've written about how I would not give up writing on this blog, but still, I was getting closer and closer to being on the edge of exactly that, not backing up enough to get a good look at how I got there. And I think the path I discovered is not so uncommon for many of us, regardless of what matters to us so much that standing at the precipice—of, dare I say, failure?—does not at least give us pause.
Anyone else experience these on-the-edge realities?
· On the edge with overload. Overload can come from all kinds of places, with over-the-top busyness ruling the day for everyone from entrepreneurs to stay-at-home moms. My story is that to make up for losing some business when a couple of clients cut back on using freelancers, I took on several new clients, which resulted (with my full permission, of course), in a close to too much work in a given time period for my own good. Read: all of March and most of April.
· On the edge with burnout. Overload is one cause of burnout, but there are others. And once I took a hard look, I recognized how close I was to burnout for a couple of reasons I will go into next time. Burnout is a place I have not only been close to but in a few times. I have been there, done that with pressure to get things done, to perform, to stay ahead of the game—to the point of exhaustion. Read: More than two decades in a fast-paced, corporate world (not that plenty of people didn’t go way faster than I ever did!), to say nothing of the demands of life we all have that, if we let them, can begin to control us instead of us controlling them.
· On the edge with overload- and burnout-induced apathy. Need I say more? Read: I am tired, so, really, why bother? Maybe later, when I feel more like it. Who will care if I take a break anyway?
So what are we who are on the edge—whatever has pushed us there—to do to step back, turn around, and make a change to land where we want to be? I have some ideas. Stay tuned for Part 2.
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