Winter Doldrums.

I haven’t been writing as much as I would like.  I sort of fell off track with the holidays.  My workload is heavy and while I’m not physically doing work all the time, my mind is on it or I’m wiped out by it.  Most nights I can’t even think straight by the time my son is in bed because I’m so mentally exhausted.

The weather of late is getting me down, too.  I’m starting to think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I want to be in San Diego.  The high there today is 71.  The high here in NJ is 48.  48 is pretty warm for NJ, so I really should just be happy about it.  I’m not though.  It’s going to be at least two more months before the weather is consistently better and every year it seems harder and harder to take it.

The holidays left me run-down.  Just as we start to decompress from Christmas and our annual New Year’s Eve celebration with friends, my son’s birthday is upon us.  Then we have his birthday party.  It’s a lot of running and doing and planning and what not for someone like me who honestly prefers to be home or in small groups most of the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and my friends and all the time we have together.  I truly do.  But I also love and need downtime which is something that’s been alluding me lately.

My insomnia and I have not been getting along, either.  I have cut out almost all caffeine.  Aside of some coffee in the morning, generally one K-cup worth, I’m decaf the rest of the day.  I’m still up most nights for an hour or two.  I’ve started bringing my laptop to bed with me so I can write through some of it, but that doesn’t always work.  Sometimes 2am writing leads to some pretty incoherent, rambling nonsense.

I’m not void of ideas, though, which I suppose is a good thing.  I just need the time to work on them.  Time and some quiet is all I need and I can actually get something accomplished, I’m sure of it.

Spending most of my day thinking about writing and not being able to do it is torture.  I knew that it was going to take through most of January for my life to calm down enough that I would be able to concentrate and I’m really so close I can taste it.  I think being close might actually be making it harder.  It’s sort of like being in May of my senior year of high school.  Graduation is right there.

It was right around this time last year that I was taking a writing class, I was committing to blogging and thinking about writing the memoir.  My goals weren’t clear – I was going to write more.  I was going to make it a priority.  But what does that mean?  It means nothing, really, unless I commit to an actual goal.

Rather than go down the road of self-pity and feeling like a failure for being where I wanted to be though, I’m going to keep plugging away.  I’m going to decide what it is I want out of my writing and start making stuff happen.

I’m so excited about writing, it almost makes it bearable to get through the last few weeks of stress.  Almost.  

19 Responses to “Winter Doldrums.”

  1. Kianwi says:

    You wrote 147 posts in 2012. I think you are doing just fine. This is just a temporary lull and you’ll be right back at it. Everyone needs a break!

    Every winter in Michigan, I always say I will not be here for the next one, cause I’m sick of it. And, yet, here I am, once again. But next year, though….

    • Kianwi says:

      Oh, I forgot! You should post one of your old posts at Dude Write this weekend for ladies week!

    • I did do pretty well in December, especially compared to my highly inconsistent past! So thank you for pointing it out and reminding me. Not seeing the forest for the trees these days.

      I spent 2 weeks in Detroit in January of 2003 and I swear to you I will never, ever do that again. Good grief. At least there’s some sun here today. It’s cold, but sunny-ish. It rained/sleeted/snowed the entire time I was there!

      What kind of post would fit there? I don’t really know too much about what they do there.

  2. Cindy says:

    I hear you. Work has been relentless, SAD is definitely a January visitor. I was going to write a post like this but I sort of already did in December and didn’t want people to think I was (a) whiny or (b) falling apart. With you. Spring has to be just around the corner, with light and writing…

    • Clearly I don’t care if people think I’m whiny or falling apart :) I’m a bit of both, so it’s all good. And I’d never think that of you. Plus your post would probably still be funny.

      Spring needs to get here quickly. Hope things ease up for you soon too.

    • Cindy says:

      I’m even taking a writing class right now…. squeezing it in around the edges of 10 things I hate. . .

    • I hate having to squeeze what I love around what I hate. Then that’s the thing that people will say, “Well if you weren’t doing X you wouldn’t be so stressed.” Enjoy the class. I want to take another, I found it really helpful for creativity and for the craft of it. It’s just not in the financial or scheduling budget right now.

  3. I always feel like that in winter too. It’s even more true in NJ than in CA. I actually don’t mind the 48 so much, when it’s sunny, which it is. But that’s just today. It’s going to be in the 20s next week. I can’t take that! And the winter is so long and dark. So any time you want to bitch about that, I’m right there with you. I don’t see how you write as much as you do, with a kid and working full time. It’s admirable!

    • Honestly, high of 24? Why even bother getting out of bed.

      I really don’t know how I get anything done either. I consistently have 14+ hour days, not counting the writing I get done in the middle of the night. I’ve always been the type to have too much on my plate since I was a kid, but this time of year when I want to be wrapped in a blanket watching TV for 3 months it’s so much harder to keep up this pace.

  4. Gina says:

    “I hate having to squeeze what I love around what I hate.” I feel like this all the time. I’ve lived in Chicago all my life. The weather is what it is and it always gets to me after the ramp down from the holidays. It does effect my mood and definitely my creativity. I’m okay if the sun is out even though it’s cold. Gray days affect me.

    Unlike you, I’m suffering from lack of ideas, words. But the difference is you have a kid plus work and I don’t have any kids at home. While I’m up a ton at night (my age sucks for this reason) I don’t have the day stress you do. Hang in there. You have a lot on your plate and I hope you can find some down time.

    I desperately want to take a creative writing class. Maybe that should be my goal.

    • The entire time I write while home during the day, my kid is yapping in my ear. He’s talking to me right now, in fact. He’s been talking since 5am. But he’s cute, so it’s OK.

      I know it’s a season of life and it passes – I mean, life can’t always be easy and fun – but I’m just over it, you know?

      Chicago is such a nice city, I just can’t imagine being there in winter. I went in August.

      I took two classes with Lisa Romeo ( I took the I Should Be Writing Bootcamp and a creative non-fiction class. It’s all online, which was fantastic. It’s at your own pace but with deadlines, accountability and great community via yahoo groups. I would love to do another, but like I said, no time or money for that now. But I do recommend :)

      Hope you find your inspiration soon!!

  5. Christie says:

    I can’t wait to read your memoir!

  6. Winters are definitely long up here in the northeast, and this winter, with all the cold still on the horizon, seems longer than usual. I totally get you. Can’t wait to read what you have on the horizon. Sending smiles and sunshine your way :)

  7. I can relate to never feeling like I’m getting enough writing done. And feeling in a perennial state of incompleteness about my blogging.
    When I read Stephen King’s memoir on writing one of the helpful tips I took away was just to sit down and write everyday. No matter what. Writing is like a muscles that we develop and it gets better and more efficient the more we do it. Maybe the first step is to figure out the hours when you produce your best writing? My mind turns to jello at night, so that’s when I do other things. Forgive my blathering, just offering a few thoughts.
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss)

    • I do try to write every day, but some times, like lately, it’s just not possible. When I can do it, is so helpful – some of the best advise I’ve ever heard. I can’t wait to be past this yucky season and get back to a more productive, less grumpy me. Thanks for your comment!

  8. Jack says:

    I am a big fan of just writing without fear or concern for whether it is good or not. Just put pen to paper and let go, for however long you have to work with.

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