Tag Archives: dealing with stress

Five Things I Wish Were Different This Monday Morning

1. The Snow

Oh yes, the snow. It started to fall yesterday, great fat flakes like sky-kisses gently carpeting the world, and I admit it was pretty. So pretty, in fact, that I stood staring out at it for ages, allowing the gentle flickering to soothe my mind. It was mesmerisingly psychedelic, and I did wonder about the possibility of an evil genius harnessing the power of falling snow to hypnotise an entire population and make them do his will… But then I came to my senses and shut the blinds.

And there was no panic, because it was Sunday and nobody had to go anywhere or do anything in particular, and that was fine.

But now it’s Monday. And people have to go places. Trains are delayed. Roads are clogged. Nincompoops like me are afraid to set foot outside lest they find themselves unwillingly doing the splits. Anyone would think I was living in New York, where approximately fourteen feet of the white stuff has lain in situ since some time last year; I’m talking about a couple of inches, if that, which has already started to melt. It’s still enough to scare me, no matter how gorgeous it looks.

So, yes. It’s pretty and all, but I wish I’d woken up this morning to a snow-free world. Sue me.

2. Leonard Nimoy being dead

How did this happen?

Image: chipchick.com

Image: chipchick.com

I hate that Leonard Nimoy passed away last week. I don’t care that he was in his eighties; he was too young to go. Or maybe it’s that we weren’t ready to lose him. Then, with people like him, there’s never a good time for them to check out. A campaigner for equality, a fan of humanity, a photographer, a director, a father, an actor of superlative ability, I was (and am, and always shall be) a massive fan. With regard to his work: I love Star Trek in general, but in reality it was Spock I truly admired. He made the programme what it was, the quiet centre around which the rest of the characters orbited, and Nimoy’s ability to express the depths of emotion beneath the calm surface of Spock’s cool rationality always blew me away.

LLAP, Mr Spock. I will never forget you.

3. The world

Right, so I’ll admit this is sort of broad. But maybe you’ll know what I’m getting at anyway. I regularly tell myself ‘I must go on a news-break’, but I never really manage to do it for longer than a day or two. I’ve heard of people who don’t follow current events at all; they just live their lives, and get on with things, and (not so funnily enough) they seem like the happiest people on earth. I reckon there’s something in that.

I can’t count the amount of times over the past few weeks that a news bulletin has reduced me to a gibbering wreck. Now, of course, that might say more about me than it does about the news, but still. Terrorism, freaky weather, political assassinations, mass abductions, the workings of Operation Yewtree in the UK, people being displaced in their hundreds of thousands, gun crime… the list goes on. Sometimes, it does start to grind you down. It can be hard to remember that one person’s good choices can change the world, but it’s really important not to lose sight of it.

It’s important to be that one person, and to make those good choices, too.

4. My entire brain

Lately, my concentration has been shot. I’ve been eking out a word count on my WiP but it is going so painfully slowly that putting the words on paper seems akin to eating boulders. I’m not sure what, exactly, I’d like to be different here – my brain in general, or my focus, or this particular WiP, or what. But all’s I know is, somethin’s gotta change, man.

Let nobody ever try to tell you that writing is not hard work. It flaming well is.

But there is hope. This week, I have no distractions. I have no appointments, I have no visitors, and I have no excuses. There will be writing. It will be done. And that is that.

5. The state of my house

I’m not exactly living in a hovel, but y’know. I didn’t do a lot of what you might call actual housework over the weekend. This now means I have a pile of dishes as tall as myself which have to be cleaned before I can so much as make a cup of tea this morning. This ‘using all the crockery because it’s Saturday and I can’t be bothered washing up’ thing, dear readers, is something I regularly do. It’s a classic example of why you shouldn’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today, but do you think I ever learn? Of course I don’t. At least I got the bathroom cleaned and the dusting done last week, though. It sort of distracts from the fact that the hoovering needs doing and that there’s a general, low-lying mess everywhere. I have a nagging feeling it’s a metaphor for my existence, but that’s too scary to contemplate, so I’ll just put some dirty plates over it and hope it goes away.

They should teach this stuff at school. I’m not even joking.

Anyway. I hope your Monday is better than my Monday, and that your week is looking good. Remember to be that one good person, and do something awesome for someone else this week in memory of Leonard Nimoy – or, just because you want to. Whichever.

 

 

Wordy Weekend

I spent most of the weekend reading. I’m not even ashamed to say it. Tune in this coming Saturday for more on what I read (I’ll sum it up here by saying it was a YA dystopian trilogy which was problematic in at least fifty-thousand-squillion ways but – and this is the important bit – I read all of it. So, draw your own conclusions.) Those bits I didn’t spend reading I spent watching the final of the Eurovision Song Contest and getting teary-eyed at how awesome Europe can, at times, be; I also did a bit of panicking. As you do.

Image: businessinsider.com

Image: businessinsider.com

I panicked about many and varied things, dear readers. Perhaps the following will give you a flavour of it.

One of the weirder things I do in terms of my writing is convince myself that I’ve made a dreadful error once something has been submitted, or gone live, or been posted, or whatever. I make myself so certain that I’ve flubbed – I can see the error, dancing before my eyes like it’s taunting me, the traitorous lines of the letters going ‘nyah-nyah-nyah-NYAH-nyah!’ in their most irritating voice – and I have no peace until I check the text. I rake over it, heart pounding, searching for the nasty little mistake, feeling the sweats starting.

And, 99% of the time, do you know what I find?

There’s no mistake. My mind concocted the whole thing. The words I thought I’d misspelled, or put in the wrong order, or which I’d convinced myself were grammatically incorrect are either fine, or not there at all. This is weird. It’s strange for your mind to remember something so clearly which then turns out to be a fiction, but it’s far from being the first time this has happened to me. When I was a kid, I used to have a hard time telling dreams from reality; I regularly woke up convinced that what I’d just dreamed had actually happened, and lots of my ‘memories’ from childhood are probably not memories at all, but half-remembered dreams. Even still (as recently as this morning, in fact), I find it hard to shake off dreams when I wake up, and they linger – a touch, or a scent, or a voice, or a sensation like rain or cold wind or fear – long after I’m out of bed and going about my day. So, it’s no shocker to me that my brain can make me believe funny things. I suppose, too, that one of my biggest fears is making a mistake in a document; the fact that I’ve started up my business, Yellow Road Editing Services, has made this slightly worse. Now, I really have to turn out perfect copy, time after time, or risk professional meltdown.

But then, I’m a person who, as a kid, used the word ‘laudable’ incorrectly in her diary; at the time I used it, I thought it meant something akin to ‘laughable.’ When, years later, I discovered it meant something else entirely, I hunted down that diary and went through it until I found the incorrect word. I erased it, and replaced it, and sighed with relief as I slid the diary back into its hiding place – where nobody but me would ever even see it. Such is the level of word-nerdiness we’re dealing with here.

Anyway. So, I convinced myself I’d made errors all over the place – in blog posts, in Facebook status updates, in Tweets (one of those was correct, actually, but we’ll move on swiftly) – and it took major self-control not to whip the laptop out and pore over everything I’d written for the last month. I just sat and worried about it instead, in silence.

Panic? Who's panicking? Not me! No way, mate. Image: juliakovach.wordpress.com

Panic? Who’s panicking? Not me! No way, mate.
Image: juliakovach.wordpress.com

Panic – or anxiety, I guess – is no stranger to me at the best of times. I usually have a mild form of it buzzing just underneath my consciousness, muttering things like Are you sure this is a good idea? Shouldn’t you be writing now? Perhaps you should be doing xyz instead of abc. This story idea is no good, you know – it’s bound to burn out around 25,000 words. Then, what’ll you do? Silly girl. Who do you think you’re fooling, here? Writing blogs like this really help to shut it up, but nothing – besides total, complete absorption in my work – can really quiet it. However, it’s hard to become totally absorbed in my work when this buzz-saw voice is keeping my brain from focusing. It tends to make me flit from one task to another, not completing either of them very well; it makes me feel as though I’m incapable of doing anything right, and then I feed it by falling into its trap.

But you know what helps, too? Reading. Spending a weekend with my loved ones. Taking my eyes away from a screen and engaging with the real world. Watching an awesome bearded lady become Queen of Europe. Remembering to breathe. Being thankful for all the happiness which my panic sometimes makes me forget about. Realising that everyone makes mistakes from time to time and that, if I do, the world’s not going to end.

Now. Let’s see how long I can keep these lessons in mind as I get stuck into a new week…

Mondaaaaaay! Let's be havin' yaaaaaaa! Image: rottentomatoes.com

Mondaaaaaay! Let’s be havin’ yaaaaaaa!
Image: rottentomatoes.com