Sunday, November 04, 2007

Reclaiming Your Mind One Mess at a Time - Day 6

Don't you hate it when life interferes with your best laid plans? Do you let it knock you down or do you keep pushing forward? With messes if you don't push forward you'll quickly be back were you started from.

That's what happens to me when I workYou would think I would know better than to plan these writing projects. It seems every time I decide to write over a period of a few days my family life or disabilities let me know they have other plans. This time it was a bit of both for me. I'll warn you in advance. This will be a longish article. Rather journally in fact, but I have some things to get off my chest so I'm hoping you won't mind the ride.

A year ago this time I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. I thought I had it all planned out. I had even pre-written articles to post in a timely fashion throughout the month so I could keep my blog current. The trouble was that I was also homeschooling and I discovered to my horror that my 8 year old was a functional illiterate. I couldn't dedicate the time to writing. The public school had failed her. I had to help her learn to read and write. She took forever to finish simple assignments. I spent 7-8 hours to cover one or two classes. It was a nightmare.

I didn't understand at the time why teaching her was so difficult. Most of what I write now is hindsight. Another thing I didn't understand at the time was that to make that NaNoWriMo goal one has to not care about what one is writing about. Honest. This is from the mouth of one of the organizers who I've met on Twitter. The goal is to write 50,000 words by the end of the month - in essence 50,000 words of crap. It's not high art. It's just for fun. Consider it a very, very rough draft, or an icebreaker. I was taking it too seriously. I was spending my time on back story and character development. I didn't stand a chance of meeting that goal, not with so much on my plate and me pacing myself all wrong for the goal.

What is most memorable to me of that time was one regular reader who would give me advice as my attempt to meet the NaNoWriMo goals unraveled at my feet. She would talk of how she made the goal in the past. She wasn't published, but she made the goal. And I didn't. So despite being a regular reader for two years, she never came by again after last November. I suppose I fell off her pedestal. I don't believe any reader losing interest/faith in me hurt as much as that one reader.

What I learned from that month, however, was that some projects are too big for our circumstances to finish quickly. Disabilities, family, work, and life will get in the way of all our plans. We can beat ourselves up about it or we can press on. We can choose to let the disappointment of others discourage us, or we can listen to our own inner voice and finish things at our own pace. If we persevere we can still win the day, or week or month (or year). Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Those who finish the marathon are always congratulated no matter how long it takes them to complete the task. I aim to be congratulated, not awarded a medal.

Clutter drags me down, so cleaning is very important to meI mention all this because I was quite disappointed that I had to postpone my cleaning project due to ticking and family. The delay simply couldn't be helped. Cleaning project #6 was supposed to be a two hour job and it took several days instead. What was even more discouraging was that it wasn't a deep clean of my studio, but a cursory tidying that frankly doesn't look all that impressive in the before and after shots. But it made a difference to me. Not only did I have the satisfaction of conquering my disabilities of ticking and AD/HD by finishing the project, I had the added benefit of a cleaner working area. I could feel the difference even with the lights off.

I realize that cleaning comes easier to some people. They can clean in their sleep. Not everybody is like that, however. Judging from some of the comments I've read and recieved, a lot of you are intimidated by my efforts. Messes frighten you. Just remember that I've had years of pushing against the fear and boredom to train myself to do as much as I do. Compared to people like my Mum this is a pittance. I'm almost embarrassed to claim I accomplish much at all. However, I wanted you to see that not all cleaning projects are visually stunning when finished. Sometimes it's all we can do to push back the chaos to the edges. Visit the picture set, read the descriptions, and understand that what I do here isn't really that amazing. I'm just stubborn, and you can be that stubborn, too.

Enough lecturing. I need to get the family to church, tackle my last project, draw, design a logo for PodcampSLC, and pretend my two or so hours of sleep was a restful eight. Today will be another marathon and I aim to make it across the finish line.

Day One (Corner of Car Junk)
Day Two (Camera Box)
Day Three (Photo Box from Hell)
Day Four (The Easy Peasy Refrigerator Top)
Day Five (Kitchen Storage Shelves)
Day Six (Studio)
Day Seven (PC Junk Box)

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