The A+ student had a goal. Or rather, the Artist Formerly Known To Participate in A+ Student Syndrome, who still liked to get things done–that person had a goal.
It was a set of little deadlines, leading to one blog post per week, on Fridays.
In fact, that exceptionally smart person was going to get a few posts ahead, “in the can” as they say, ready to automatically publish–so she wouldn’t have to worry about producing every single week; she could take a little time away if needed, or work on something for longer if it was, you know, Not Quite Ready But Almost. She luxuriated in thinking and writing, felt cured of the perfectionism.
But then…you might have noticed Of-the-Essence-Blog started on a Wednesday, followed by two Friday posts in a row and…silence until today.
Yes, life intervened before she could get the next piece finished, without that comfortable backlog of essays. Life intervened when she lost a filling on Thursday–Thursday before the Friday when the blog needed updating.
Just a filling, but really, when you are breakfasting on delicious pastries, and you think, Wow this muffin must have been made with stone-ground corn, and then you see it’s not a misplaced part of the grinding mill, it’s a big hunk of silver which until moments ago fit nicely into a back molar and you’ve never had trouble with fillings before and the jagged tooth then shreds the side of your tongue and egad this needs to be fixed very, very soon and you berate yourself in good A+ student manner for not finding a dentist right away when you moved here and then you think about all the awful life crises that happened to prevent you from finding said dentist and in addition you realize you now can’t eat all the crunchy healthy food in your fridge, thus undermining your campaign to get the clothes you bought last summer to fit more loosely again, and oh my gosh you still haven’t chosen which short piece to edit and put up on your blog–well of course you are going to be emotionally and physically exhausted and incapable of writing about anything for days and days.
Friday and Saturday went by with no post. Dammit. Behind already.
The list of self-imposed deadlines grew from “little” to “little and belated” to “really overdue and huge and monstrous”; the writer berated herself and returned to strict requirements for things to be Just So.
Aside from not being on time, she saw she hadn’t prettied up her site to her own exacting internal specifications, so she avoided what now felt like drudgery instead of delight, with hours of television episodes on Netflix on Sunday and cleaning out the email queue on Monday and Tuesday, all the while eating too much soft white bread and honey-butter.
The voices returned.
I can’t do this writing thing, I am letting my few readers down, I am letting myself down, I am failing already and I just started.
An unexpected interruption had collapsed the proverbial dromedary’s spine; the pack animal wasn’t as strong as she thought.
Then the former A-plus-er realized that being tired or in pain can turn up the whispers of doubt, which don’t ever go away fully anyhow. You just get better at identification and quicker at banishment. After seeing them for the untruths they are, no worries linger about straw and burdens–because you are just out enjoying the day’s walk.
Hey! I am not letting anyone down; so I didn’t get to do what I planned. What’s the big deal? There’s no failure here, just falling down and getting up.
You are a writer. Only fear makes it logical to pulverize your creative children before they are even born. So, write already!
After the new dentist put in a temporary crown and chewing was no longer painful, she took a deep breath. I will try to publish this next Friday. I will. Then she smiled and shook her head.
In the first post, I said I would be continuing my description of A Plus Student Syndrome. Just didn’t think it would be quite so soon.