Friday, March 7, 2014

Patience Through The Doldrums

The Doldrums are a place in the ocean where nothing moves – the water is still. The wind is still. To a sailor it is a kind of death. You can speed directly into the doldrums, and once there, you're stuck until by chance your luck turns and you find a current, however slow, that when combined with your oars, take you to a place of movement and life.

This is where I am right now. It's not just in writing or in business, but in life. I'm in the doldrums. It doesn't matter how sunny the day is, or how wonderfully smiley my son is – everything is gray and muddled and stuck.

I get like this whenever I feel like things aren't moving fast enough. I am a pretty fast moving person. Whenever I make a decision I take action immediately. I don't wait around. Yes, I might do research. I might collect information for a time, but once all of it is in, I don't dally. I don't waffle. I decide. When the decision has been made, everything falls into place because I decided it would be so. I move. I act. Things push forward. That's how the majority of my life has been.

Needless to say, I have a streak of impatience a mile wide.

For someone like me who decides to do things and acts with the urgency of an ER surgeon, it's hard when things don't move at my pace. I can't understand when people don't come to the same conclusions I do (What do you mean you don't already know and love my books? What do you mean you don't want to come to my writing class and bring all your friends and their friends?). I can't understand when people don't want to move on decisions with the same speed and certainty that I do (What do you mean you don't want to go right now?! What do you mean you don't know what you want out of life?!).

I don't live like that. I'm always moving to the next thing. But I also have slow days where all I do is eat Nutella covered toast and watch old movies on cable. Granted, I would choose to have fewer of those than more, but they do happen. It's kind of like a firefighter. There are moments of extreme nearly frenetic action, followed by clean up and card playing.

My husband is not like me. He is slow and deliberate. He takes his time with everything (except in crisis situations where his protective tendencies come out in full force). It's hard for someone like me to be married to someone like him. This is probably even worse when I'm hyped up on coffee at 7 AM and he hasn't been able to discern which way is up yet (okay, it's much worse).

Being married to someone who functions on a different pace is difficult, but it's not as difficult as when the whole world seems to function slower. I literally feel like the world is dragging me down. I feel like the wind has stopped and the water has stilled. My first inclination is to find a solution to this problem. Generally a solution for me means another project. But if I started a new project every time I fell into the doldrums, I'd be spread so thin I wouldn't accomplish anything.

It's a problem. A serious problem.

I want to work on things, but I'm stuck. In order to unstick myself, I need to work on things. I feel trapped by my reactions to stress, which is more stressful.

Are you dizzy yet? I am.

My decision to get out of the doldrums at this point is to work on an old story idea I had back in 2012. It's fun, doesn't require research or rereading of any of my books, and it can be worked on in chunks. Each chapter can be as long or short as I want because of the nature of the story. It's perfect. And then when I feel ready to return to something a little more difficult to write, I can. Meaningful progress. Thank God!

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