It seems that writing every day puts me even more inside my head than I usually already am, and that has resulted in some pretty dramatic mood shifts. Either that, or my moods have always shifted like this, and I just wasn’t paying attention.
There will be days when I feel absolutely wonderful, days when words flow like water and joy bubbles up at everything. There will be days when I’m fine, not great, not terrible, just fine, and things can make me smile even as dark thoughts creep at the edges of my consciousness. And then there will be days when I think that my writing is terrible, that I am terrible, that everything I do is pointless.
Those are not good days.
Being aware of what type of day I’m having has helped me to start developing appropriate responses. On the good days, I just enjoy it. I indulge in thinking about how great everything is and pat myself on the back and pat other people on the back and engage in many conversations–those are the days I feel the most sociable. On the lukewarm days, I often have trouble focusing, so I set out tasks and plow through them with the help of music. When I think something disparaging about myself, I reject the thought as quickly as possible, and remind myself that I am doing something, that I am learning and growing, and that there is no such thing as perfect, just a path of improvement. As long as I stay on that path, I have no reason to hate myself. And staying on that path doesn’t mean writing thousands of words every day…it just means writing something every day.
On the horrible days, I just take care of myself as best I can. If I don’t feel like going anywhere, I don’t go anywhere. I generally don’t talk to anyone. I read things I enjoy and eat good food and go to sleep. Sleeping helps. But no matter what, I make sure that I write something, even on those days.
I’m not sure what kind of day today is yet. I feel like it has the potential to be good, if not great. Wednesday was awful, but I figured something out on Wednesday, a new way of thinking about things, and Thursday was an absolutely wonderful day. I did a lot of work-related writing, which of course doesn’t go toward my word count, but I also went back to a story I haven’t written on in awhile, and it was good. I was cheerful and chatty and smiling all day. Yesterday I sort of coasted along on Thursday’s momentum; it was a nice day, but quiet, subdued, like I wanted to just plug happily away at things by myself. I wrote a few sentences in the morning, spent the day working and reading, then went to dinner with Sean and our friends Charles and Heidi. Finally, late last night, I wrote and wrote and wrote, and yesterday’s total word count ended up being 1175. Not amazing, but good, and I was happy with what I’d written. It’s not beautiful–I really hope someday I can write something beautiful–but it’s interesting.
I like writing at night before bed. I’m typically a morning person, but if I stay up past my bedtime I get this strange, fresh burst of energy. And late at night it’s quiet; there are few distractions, and there’s nothing else to do. It’s not chore time or work time or socializing time. It’s my time.
Another nice thing about writing before bed is that I wake up thinking about my stories. If I don’t let myself get distracted by social media and news articles, I can jump right back into it.
I have decided that today will be good. It looks like the weather will be nice, clear and cool. Maybe I’ll go somewhere, let nature or art or some other kind of beauty rejuvenate me. And I’ll write, of course. Of course, I’ll write.