29 June

Becoming Irritable? It's Time to Slow Down...

The State Press

Lately, I've had quite a bit on my plate — self-loaded — so, I don't have anyone to blame but myself. But as I try to juggle five huge works, I'm getting less done, and my patience is dissipating into the A/C breeze that defends me from Calgary's current, and historically high temp, heat wave.

Yes, I could place the blame elsewhere, like this heat wave, but the irritability would remain. 

The questions become: why the impatience? what can I do about it and still continue to get the writing done?

Answer: I have to slow down to get more done.

A long time ago, when I was a wee kiddie, I'd be the same way when completing school assignments would get me irritable and upset. My mom knew that it was the hyper me result, placing too much pressure on myself, and she'd tell me in a soothing voice to slow down and just take one task at a time, and attempt to finish that task before thinking about another. She'd remind me that learning wasn't a race. It was about exposing myself to new ideas, so I could successfully grow as a little person, and if it took me longer to finish, then so be it. Usually, through tears (yes, I was THAT kind of A-type kid), I silently nod, and I'd slow down, and of course, little by little, I'd finish all my assignments.

I'd climb out from under my school books, go and find my wise and far too patient mom, and give her a big, fat hug. I swear to you that without that wonderful woman in my life, I'd be a wet spot on the floor of life.

Has this experience of too-much-all-at-once ever smothered you and your ability to achieve progress on your WIP(s)? I imagine you sorrowfully, silently nodding...

Writers are usually more dangerous to themselves than to others any day, and we often need to have a family member or friend tell us, "Hey, you, you're becoming irritable. Are you taking too much on all at once? If so, slow down."

HOMEWORK: If this describes you, whether your To-Do list is all writing oriented, take my mom's advice, and slow down. Tackle only ONE TASK AT A TIME, and finish that task or session, first, before tackling another. Put horse blinders on your brain and focus on that particular task in front of you now, remembering, as my mom once said, that learning, producing, growing — as a wee kid or a burgeoning artist — is NOT a race. Keep to your writing session schedule and ignore the Big Picture for now.

Art isn't an assembly line, and neither, really, is life. If you try to make life into a conveyor belt production line, your work will flatten out, have no heart, and you'll miss smelling all the wonderful flowers along the scenic route to success. 

I'm vicariously putting that ONE task in front of you now, and sending you a calming smile similar to my mom's... slow down.

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