Monday, November 18, 2013

Driven to Distraction

This afternoon (Monday, 18 November) I’m writing from my hotel room in Saskatoon. It’s cold here at -9°C (feeling like -15°C), and we’re expecting five to ten centimetres of snow between this afternoon and Tuesday evening. There is already a light dusting of snow on the ground, and snow covers the rooftops of the buildings that I can see from my seventh-floor room. Earlier I went for a short walk across the street to the Midtown Plaza where I had lunch and grabbed a coffee from the Starbucks on the way back to my hotel. The air, while cool, was refreshing but it was nice to, once again, be inside. I’m not sure I’m ready for winter.

The last few weeks have been challenging. I’ve had a difficult time focusing, thrown off course by too many distractions. Television. Social media. A certain restlessness. Fatigue. I’ve struggled to sit down at my desk and write, struggled to keep on keeping on. Maybe it’s the weather — the shorter days, the grey skies, the cool air. Maybe it’s the long hours put in at my day job that leave me drained. Maybe it’s the uncertainty I feel about the road ahead — where I am, where I’m hoping to go. Maybe, in the face of a new round of rejection letters (even though they encourage me to submit again in the future) it’s the lingering doubt about my talent as a writer. Maybe it’s my obsession with the circus playing out daily at Toronto City Hall and my compulsive need to read everything about my city’s embattled mayor (it’s such great drama!). Maybe it’s a combination of all of those things. The bottom line is I’m struggling to create, to get myself to the page … Struggling to lift myself up again.

Just for today, I’m trying to take advantage of this downtime holed up in Saskatoon for the day with absolutely nothing on the agenda that I must do. I’ve been able to relax, hear myself think … plot my way forward. This morning, once I was showered and dressed, I turned the TV off and reviewed the manuscript pages I brought with me. Amazing, yes it is, when the TV is off and silence reigns just how much work I can accomplish. Two chapters reviewed and changes inputted. I took a little time to review my goals, make some changes to them and set some [hopefully] realistic timelines for achieving said goals. Amazing, yes it is, how a few hours of solid work can make me feel so much better about myself and my writing.

This afternoon I will do a little more writing and then take the evening to relax before a long day tomorrow that will end in Vancouver. Writing this morning and taking some time to review my goals — plotting simple and doable tasks to move my writing projects forward — has eased the feeling of being overwhelmed that has dominated over the past few weeks. I know I need to eliminate, or at least bring under control, all the things that I’ve let distract me lately. With my action plan in hand, I feel confident that I can do that. And, just for today, I feel that I can keep on keeping on.

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