25 Apr Don’t Play Yourself.
Or, alternatively: Bad habits of this one indie romance author. Or something. I couldn’t make a good title curl all the way over, so instead y’all got that one.
Let me explain.
Often – too often – I find myself up way too late (we’ll get to that) thinking about the numerous ways I played myself that day. It’s not cute, and it’s note fun, but it’s the truth. I had a recent realization that I’m not very good at giving myself credit for the things I manage to do, but we’ll get to that later too.
I’m defining “playing myself” much in the way that DJ Khaled and Beyonce do – acting against my own best interests, usually for something that *seems* better, or shinier, or whatever, but is usually fake news. Fairly often, I’m even aware that my “playing myself” levels are dangerously high, and threatening to ruin the potential for a productive day, but instead of course correcting… I keep
having big fun procrastinating and wasting time.
I’m glad you asked!
Treating writing like a hobby
– So, I do this full time. Being my own publisher, cover designer, etc, isn’t a side hustle for me – this is my career. This is what i love, where my passion lies, and if it ever became necessary, the way I would feed my family.
I should treat it as such.
And, this is advice I would offer any author who wants to build their backlist and create a career of writing out the stories in your head – don’t treat it like a hobby.
I know it’s really common to fret about muses and writer’s block, and I swear, I get it. But I also like getting these characters out of my head, and getting their stories in front of readers, and getting paid every month.
So, I need to get my butt in my chair, get to my keyboard, and get to work, if I want those things. I have enough things to do, enough on my plate without being consumed by fear, and feelings of inadequacy*.
Literally, a waste of time.
(*notice, i’m not saying I magically don’t feel these things. I just have shit to do.)
Instead of going to get my nails and eyebrows done like I’d planned, I got my butt in my chair, because if I had an office job… i’d have my butt in my chair. This comes in even clearer when I think about the fact that i’m not where i’m supposed to (where I want to) be with my current project.
How am I gonna be skipping work to play when i’m not even caught up to where i’m supposed to be? Where they do that at?
This isn’t me saying that i’m implementing firm business hours or anything like that, because it simply isn’t practical for my household. I am saying that I want to organize my time better, and not allow non-essential things to come before by duties as a business owner.
I constantly need that reminder.
Getting stuck on social media –
biggest timesuck in the world, and my relationship with it is a constant ebb and flow of love/hate. I love the social aspect, obviously. Being connected, reaching readers, being informed, being entertained, etc. I don’t have much to say in the way of rampant negativity or anything like that, cause I don’t (usually)bother anybody and I don’t (usually) give anybody room to bother me, cause i’m not one that’s into twitter fingers. One of us will say the wrong thing, and it’ll be a real life problem, so I chill.
But I watch.
I observe – sometimes obsessively.
And time that I should be using to develop my manuscript, design a graphic, mind my business, drink some water, anything other productive thing… gets sucked away.
Nothing cute about that, either.
Being disorganized –
So, i’m a planner addict.
“But Christina, if you’re a planner addict, how… why… those two things don’t go together, do they?”
^ if that was your reaction, I invite you to mind yo own business.
i fully understand that that’s a completely discordant combination, and it frustrates me to no end. I love planners, love the idea of being organized, love watching other people be organized… i just haven’t found the right balance for me.
“Planner Peace” is such an intensely personal thing. I’ve gone through countless apps, four or five different planner styles, etc, and still haven’t found it.
But I know for an actual factual forreal, not fake news, fact… planning does work for me. On the days when I write out the vision and make it plain, I get things done.
It’s just a matter of doing that every day.
Not Taking care of myself –
hashtag, self care, and don’t roll your eyes.
I often get into the mode of only doing the bare minimum for myself – showering, brushing my teeth, lotioning my ashy knees, etc – and well….
It’s not cool.
The little things, like reading for pleasure, and giving myself a facial, going to get my nails done, treating myself to a nice lunch, get lost in the shuffle. And really, those are actually not even base level things, I can go further.
Drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, staying active.
More struggles than I even care to list.
I work hard (but not always smart) and while i’m not one of those people who “I deserve” everything, I can say with confidence that taking care of myself is something that I deserve to do.
If a cute, high quality, $20 cup is the thing that helps me be conscious of my water intake, so be it. If the kids have to mind their business at the other end of the house for an hour so I can get it in with my husband in the middle of the evening, so I can get to sleep earlier… So be it. If I have to buy new work out clothes so the only fat black girl in pilates class can stunt on those _____ _______… well… y’all get it.
The point is, I can’t get so wrapped up in everything else that taking care of me falls by the wayside, cause guess what?
Direct effect on my ability to write and conduct business.
If i’m tired, and sluggish, and stressed, with messy brows, it can be hard to do what I need to do for the day. If you’ve read “The Lies”, those “gray days” that Brandi talks about… i’m no stranger. Some days, just getting the kids to school saps every piece of energy I have.
But when i’m taking care of myself? I don’t see nearly as many of those days.
Being too hard on myself –
I luh God. I try to never get it twisted, never forget the source of my supply, from where my blessings flow. I’ve even talked before about writing being my gift, and there’s no doubt in my mind on who it came from.
I could be wasting it. I could be sitting on it. I could let anxiety, and insecurity about having sacrificed a couple teeth to bring my babies into the world, and fear of failure, and aversion to public speaking, and being fat, and a whooooole list of other things to hold me back from it.
But i try my best not to. I try to tackle it. I don’t let that other stuff consume me.
I can give myself some credit for that, and more.
Too often, I diminish the things i’ve done in favor of lamenting the things I haven’t, and… add that to the “not cute” list too. There’s enough about my life that keeps me humble – I don’t have to self-flagellate too.
So, there you have it.
Oh, I’m sorry… were you expecting solutions to any of these things?
I ain’t got no answers.
But I’m searching for them, and I do have a couple of things I can share, in some future posts. When I wrote down my goals for 2017, resuming the blogging aspect of this space was on that list.
It’s almost May, and i doubt I need both hands to count the amount of true blog posts that have gone up.
Here’s to committing to changing that.