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  • Fumbling around

    I don't know if the picture has anything to do with what I want to write about. But when you get some fourteen odd inches of snow in a short period of time, I think it's worth sharing pictures from that sort of mess. That is me, attempting to break into my trunk in the middle of said snowstorm, looking for our shovel. It took me a good 15 minutes, standing in thigh deep snow (because of drifting), to clear off the trunk enough to crack it open. No shovel.

    The last few years, I've been making these lists of 100 things to do each year. They've ranged from silly, to serious, to really obscure. Last year, I tried to make the list very tangible, such that I could (in theory) record every thing I did. But then our move date got pushed back past the end of the year, and that put a hault to several things on my list which were contingent on taking place afterwards. Rather than continuing to work through the list and accomplish the things I could do - after all, it was a largely fun list - or even finding creative ways to work around some of the things I have planned for post-move, I just stopped.

    It wasn't even that I consciously gave up - I kept the list taped to the fridge until the end of October, telling myself that I was going to work on things anyway. But I realized that my brain gets stuck in these ruts, where things must happen in a certain way in order for me to continue. These thought ruts don't always make sense either, when I really think about them. Let me give you an example.

    #37. Read a book on writing
    Now, I henpecked my way through this one book on character development, a few pages at a time, for months. Truthfully, I got bored with the book, but I was close enough to finishing it that I couldn't just abandon it. I really wanted to read this book on the revision process that I'd picked up, and oddly enough, it was far more relevant to what I was doing than the character book. But because I had started the character book first, I didn't want to start the revision book. But I was too bored to finish the first book. So I never actually finished either book because for some odd reason I wouldn't just put down book A and read book B, like I wanted.

    Now, apply this lack of logic to a problem in which you have a novel that you're revising, while you really want to start work on a new project. LOGIC says that you can work on both. My rut logic says that NO, revised novel must happen first, even though said novel has had developments that essentially knock it squarely back into worldbuilding territory.

    I admit, it's really frustrating to realize the amount of things I haven't worked on because of these non-sensical notions of how things must go.

    But, knowledge is power. Realizing I do this, hopefully, means that I can work around it. Maybe it means that I fumble around a bit more, that I do things without insisting I have a perfect plan first. I don't like when things are messy. I want them to go according to plan. But there's really so little in life that we actually control...maybe I need to embrace that flexibility with the things I want to work on, as well.