I was doing some light reading yesterday in the doctor’s office because my appointment never starts more than 40 minutes late and I only have so much battery power on crappy hospital Wifi when I came across a chapter dedicated 100% to my procrastination. It said*, “Eda, the only thing stopping you from editing your WIP is you.”
*I could be paraphrasing. Maybe.
And while that isn’t all the way true, because I also have things like household chores, chasing a toddler, being pregnant, and working two jobs to contend with, I feel like maybe some of those times when I’m scrolling through Facebook searching for articles that confirm the downfall of the Empire or taking my third “Which pizza topping defines your archetype” quiz on Buzzfeed, I maybe could be editing instead.
I’m not even at the boring part of editing. I’m reading through to make sure it makes sense. I’m reading “for enjoyment” (and continuity). I’m not even proofreading, man. You’d think I could get through it quicker.
It’s a little bit procrastination, a lot of distraction, and a fair amount of guilt holding me back. There ARE, in fact, other things I should be doing. But if I care about this project, I need to make time for it. Writing and self-publishing is a hobby and I’m content with it remaining so but it’s one that keeps me sane so yeah, I need to make time for it too.
I took Facebook off my phone. That means less adorable pictures of my child for the haters to choke on but it also means slightly more sanity for me AND more time to actually read the blogs I follow! Hi blogs!
I am so very frustrated with the world at large, as many of those of us in possession of a soul are, but I have also learned that there’s only so much one person can do and it’s best to focus on the things you have some control over so as not get totally overwhelmed. Despair is not useful. “Anger is more useful than despair.”
Of the handful of things I can control: my social media. Of the things that make me the most frustrated: a friend list full of people who are most certainly NOT my friends, who I would not chose to socialize with given the option, and who are either bigots or idiots I cannot stand in real life so WHY would I continue to “follow” them online? Because they post good recipes? So does Buzzfeed. Because they have cute kids? So do I. To maintain good relations for networking reasons? Not a good enough reason.
Let me tell you about the woman who used to be a coworker–who could still be considered a colleague–who posted some nonsense about protesters being “babies” and how they need to grow up. This woman of color is the daughter of immigrants from a country that does not value women and she spent her whole life–she’s told me on many occasions, often with tears in her eyes–being denigrated by her parents and extended family members. She works in a male-dominated industry full of macho airheads who still use phrases like, “even good for girls” in their advertising. And she is very… very susceptible to peer pressure.
Do I believe that in her heart she supports an administration led by a man who does not value women, minorities, or immigrants? Prrrrobably not. See above, re: tears in her eyes. Do I believe that the macho airheads she works with brainwashed her into thinking that agreeing with something that’s BAD for her would be the only thing that would make them respect her? AAAAAAbsolutely because it happened constantly when she was my coworker.
So I could go on from here into some brainwashing, fake news, peer pressure thing and wonder how many of That Man’s voters were not aware that they were not acting in their own interests but were propagandized nice and thorough and blah blah blah. But it doesn’t matter now. He’s got the chair and there’s nothing my pondering can do to get him out of it.
Instead, I’ll focus on the things I can control. I can choose to not be friends with people who denigrate others while literally crying about the very same happening to them. Because that kind of hypocrisy underlies a fundamental lack of empathy. And why the hell should I be friends with someone who cannot empathize with others? How does such a person HAVE friends or any kind of meaningful relationship if they have no insight into the emotions of others? Is that why they value Facebook friendships? Because they’d rather think of their friends as “followers” who have to listen to every word they say?
You know what? I don’t care. Unfriend. There. I’ve controlled a situation that caused me pain and frustration. What’s next?
When I opened my first Twitter account, I had nothing in particular to share and so I just stalked celebrities and suffered FOMO for every hour I couldn’t check my feed. Now I’ve got a purpose for my Twittivities and find I’m feeling more FOGI than FOMO. And here’s where I clarify acronyms:
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
FOGI (Fear of Getting Involved)
I see all these trending tags and I’m like, “Yeah! I agree strongly with that sentiment” but avoid actually participating because, well, that’s not what I’m here for. I get a new follow from an earnest and genuine-seeming person and I think, “You seem nice. You post things I don’t care about. I… don’t have time for you. Sorry?” And don’t even get me started about the crap happening over on Facebook because I just can’t, ok? I’m not falling for your vague-posting or your request for advice that you could find on Google. I’m scrolling past your damn recipe videos that make cooking look easy. It’s not. I’ve tried it.
I’ve Got to Prioritize, People!
I get 30-75 minutes a day to write and I need to spend that time writing or participating in writing prompts that motivate me to write more. I can’t be settling an argument between my cousin and my aunt when my aunt’s not even online to defend herself. I can’t spark a debate over how many trolls I can get to threaten me for expressing my views. And seriously, stop making all that cooking nonsense look like something I could accomplish in 20 minutes because that is a LIE.
I have to pee, have lunch, switch the laundry from washer to dryer, fill the dishwasher and throw all the toys into bins so that I can write my next book 20 minutes at a time over the next 13 months all while my toddler naps.
Respect my FOGI. Don’t drag me down into your internet abyss.
I’m on mental vacation again and it’s not because I’m lazy or “not a writer because a writer writes every day*.” It’s because I need to prioritize, people. We all do.
*Bullshit. There’s nothing wrong with taking a day off. Or a week off. Or a couple of years off if that’s what you need to do to get your head right.
False. Get a life, please.
A few things happened yesterday that put me in a “hey, might be time for a break” mood. The first was that I somehow copied over the entirety of one WIP with another. So I have two files, named two different things, with exactly the same text. And no back up. Sooooo… that story is gonesies. How did I do this? I don’t know. Try doing anything with a toddler screaming and pulling your fingers and see if you don’t make any mistakes.
The second, I went on freaking Facebook again which just makes me miserable and I should know better. I like being informed to a certain extent but there’s only so much I can handle. Within one swipe of my finger, I saw a story about another goddamn white teenager getting away with rape because boys will be boys and so forth, a story about a 10-year-old black boy who was chased by the police because he sorta looked like a robbery suspect (coughblackcough) and was thoroughly traumatized by the event but has no recourse whatsoever, and a story about a police officer who gave a baby a bath because he was covered in poop and vomit when his drunk mother was arrested.
You guys, I just can’t. I can’t handle that much awful in the span of 3 minutes.
I thought maybe writing about some of it would help me cope so I started a satirical piece called “Leniency for Rapists” but EVEN SATIRICALLY, the thought made me ill. Then I tried to write a blog post about how I tried to write satire and it just hurt my heart all the more. That was the third yuck of the day.
Add to all that a tired teething cranky bratty toddler with a tolerance level of 0% for all of life’s daily frustrations and it made for a half-ton of suckage that I was just not prepared for.
Rather than diving into the drama of another story, I would much prefer to snooze in a mellow haze of happy home life. The kid is chill today. I’m not interested in anything more dramatic than Baywatch (yes, I still watch it. Don’t judge.) And writing will have to take a back seat to mental health for a few.
Priorities. I got ’em.