In case you didn’t hear, I quit my job a week ago. I felt confident doing that, because I had a plan. I saved money. I had a project to work on. I bought a new journal/calendar/organizer thingy, and wrote down an hour-by-hour schedule of how my days were going to be filled writing a new novel.
Lot of good that did me.
I woke up on Monday at 6:00 am. I had an hour and a half to do nothing but write before my husband got up… a dream! But then, when I sat down, I was completely paralyzed. I felt exhausted. Totally drained. I couldn’t write. But don’t worry, dear reader, I found ways to fill that time! For example, I stared at my computer screen. I checked social media multiple times (you never know if you’ll get another “like,” after all). And most importantly, I chased my two cats around our living room. Eventually, my husband came downstairs and I realized I hadn’t at all accomplished my goal of writing 1k words of a new chapter.
Brilliant, excellent, strong start.
I quit my job so I could start writing. So… why wasn’t I doing that?
I will let you know that I didn’t write a single thing on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. I wasn’t going to just hit the ground running, like I’d mapped out. I was reeling. I left the routine I’d been used to for the past 10 years: wake up, write, go to work, come home, repeat. Those instincts, and the rhythm my body had gotten into, were and still are present. I’m going to be making new habits, and new structure, and be my own boss, but not before I detox those old habits out of myself.
So I decided to take a little break. Well, I didn’t decide — I told my husband I’d fucked everything up, and he told me to ease up and chill out. Yes, I’d failed to accomplish all of the things I’d planned on. My hour-by-hour schedule was certainly not being followed, and no words were being written by moi. But it’s only been a week. This shit takes time… annoyingly.
It’s just that — not to pat myself on the back here too much — when I set goals, I hit ‘em. It’s how I wrote two books in a year, y’all. That isn’t easy to do! So this whole being OK with not having everything figured out thing is not a fun place or mindset for me to be in. Like, you know things are bad when you’re Googling “quotes about failure to feel better about yourself” (btw, new favorite one is “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failing is another steppingstone to greatness.” That comes from Oprah, like all good things).
So, yeah, I don’t have a storybook life right now. This past week was really hard. I’m not used to just doing nothing. But I forced myself to acknowledge that this is a new life, and adjusting to that will take time. I’ve caught up on Younger. I finished reading Emergency Contact. I cried a few times because I felt badly about not writing and wondered if I’m truly cut out for this unemployed thing.
One piece of good news is that today is the first day I actually woke up and felt excited to write.
I got in 1k words before lunch. Maybe I’ll write another 1k (hey, maybe another 2k if I’m on a roll!) this afternoon. But if I don’t, THAT IS OK.
I’ll find a new routine that works for me, and when I do I’ll publish that here, in case it inspires anyone else.
This is a new beginning. And I guess you’ve gotta fail before you succeed (or something like that, I hope). And I’m going to just start embracing each failure as a hint at what will and won’t work for me.
But if anyone has any tips… I need them and I’ll take them!
—Originally published on February 15, 2019 on erinlarosacreative.com.