Friday, May 01, 2009

You're my obsession

Actually, I think I am my own obsession...

I obsess about things I should be doing. I procrastinate. I procrastinate the most about the things I actually want in my life. What kind of sense does that make? And then I procrastinate the things I should be doing/need to do, and then I obsess over them and worry and fret and let that keep me from doing the things I want to do. None of my behavior actually makes any sense. I have some understanding of the “whys” behind it, but it still doesn’t make any actual sense. Procrastination is an emotional response. Or, rather, it’s a response to emotional issues. It probably won’t make sense. That doesn’t mean it can’t be dealt with. But I think I may need to stop trying to logic myself out of it. I’ve been trying that for years, and it really hasn’t worked so well.

It really doesn’t help that I have this hang-up about how much time I have to do things. If I know I only have a small amount of time or I know after a certain amount of time I’m going to have to stop and do something else or I know that I’m likely to be interrupted, I can’t seem to let myself even start on my writing or even working on some sketching or any of the other things I actually really do want to be doing. I will waste time playing solitaire or spider solitaire on the computer or just randomly checking and rechecking e-mail or reading Live Journal (because delving into the blogs that are about things I’m really interested in might take too long—what??? What is my mind doing???). I will just waste time, and I know that I’m wasting time, just passing time, marking time, letting the time get away from me. And I know. I know what I’m doing, and yet I can’t seem to stop. I think my mind is broken. I worry that it might be. I worry that I have no focus and may never have it, and then I will never do anything important to me. I will just mark time, and what sort of epitaph will that make? “She was extraordinary at filling the time in her life.” Not quite what I was hoping for, but apparently what I’m aiming at.

Am I blocking myself from things that I want? Mostly. Sometimes at home I don’t do any of the things I want to do because I am distracted by the filthy house. I can’t get settled in to do what I want because there’s so much mess around me, but I can’t break out of my exhaustion to actually do anything about the house, either. So I do nothing.

I can’t even read through a full e-mail or newsletter or blog post when it’s something I’m really interested in. I find that I take breaks in the middle. I’m reading something, and suddenly I’m checking e-mail, playing a game, opening a new window. I have no idea what this means. I don’t fully even know what I’m doing writing all of this out. I read a quote earlier today from Deepak Chopra: “Whatever is stored in darkness becomes distorted.” Maybe I am trying to undistort myself?

So what do I need to do to break out of this? A schedule? Maybe.

I know that when I really think about writing and making a living outside this office, outside the place where someone else tells me what to do and gives me money for it, I worry. I worry that I won’t be able to make a living as a writer. I worry that if I pursue creativity coaching training I won’t be able to find any clients and I won’t be able to use that as part of my living. I worry that choosing the creativity coaching is the wrong avenue; I would also love to pursue a graduate degree in either English or creative writing and teach at the college level (I do really like teaching, and I love the atmosphere of a college/university). I worry that whichever of these I choose I won’t be able to pay the bills.

What does all of this mean? What do I do with it? I don’t know for sure. This month, I am participating in a group with Eric Maisel. It’s research for a new book he’s working on about productive obsessing. I love the concept of this. It makes a lot of sense to me to turn my unproductive worry obsessions into something I can use. It makes more sense than trying to wipe out the obsessive part of my personality. So, I’m testing it to see if it works for me.

Something I’m already finding out from this experiment—I enjoy being in an active group of creative people all talking about what we’re working on and how we intend to bring our plans and dreams to fruition. I enjoy it, and I get recharged and excited and enthused by it. Sadly, my work group in the Holly Lisle class is not very active at all. The in person writing group I formed last year also didn’t work out for me for other reasons—we all had different needs from the group, and it went in a direction that wasn’t right for me. But I could really use a small group of active, motivated people to keep in touch with and check in with regularly. This is something I will need to build in my life.

This is just a lot of rambling, isn’t it? And it’s a little uncomfortable having my weird, obsessive thoughts out there for anyone to look at. But if I’m going to get them under control, I think I have to look at them more openly and clearly and make a plan. So this is a start. And right now I have a direction to go in, a plan to follow, and for this month a group to check in with to help me keep going—just the things I need to turn those obsessions into fuel for my work. Which I am going to get going on as soon as this posts.

Merrily onward!

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