Monday, October 17, 2016

Brick by Brick

Few things bother me about myself (aside from that aging, hurting, sagging, wrinkling stuff) than being disorganized. My natural state is precise organization; I'm nearly obsessive about it. So when I do something so completely unlike my normal condition, I berate myself, feel guilty, and just generally hate what I've become--slovenly, undependable, a complete loser.

I'm kidding about some of the above, but I do hate it when I let others down. And that's what I did during the month of September. I missed not one, but two different blog posts on AuthorCulture and that's unlike me. But it did teach me an important lesson. I'm not Wonder Woman.

Here I am in my Wonder Woman costume,
handling things admirably and looking
remarkably youthful.
Wait a minute... that's not me.
That's my granddaughter, Molly, in her
Wonder Girl-in-Training costume. Silly me.
Yep, surprised me too. As much as I think I can do just one more thing, add a little to that load over there and put one more thing on my "to do" list, I can't. I liken this condition, which I've dubbed "One More Brick Syndrome," to having a load of bricks held in a large basket secured to my back with the bricks even with the top of the basket. We'll call the initial load "life." Life is heavy and sometimes hard to get used to, but hey, we all have things we carry around with us. But then the unexpected happens--a new baby or house or job or spouse, then perhaps losing that house, job, or spouse, or a health, financial, employment, spiritual, or relationship downturn begins to take up more time. With each new dilemma, another brick is added to the pile. I can jockey them around and bend my back or twist my shoulders to accommodate this new freeloader, but as more and more things happen, and more and more bricks are added to my pile, eventually I drop the ball (or brick, in this case), and something suffers. This time it was my blog posts. Another time it might be a birthday, car payment, or doctor's appointment.

It happens to all of us, I know, but I'm going to focus on writers. Let's face it, writing is a very small part of being a writer nowadays. We have more to do after a book is published than we do writing the darned thing in the first place. We have marketing, keeping up with social media, arranging for personal appearances, running contests, blog tours, and many other things to gobble up our time. As our responsibilities grow--not only in our professional lives, but in our personal as well--we have to adjust. Sometimes we can accommodate whatever life throws our way; sometimes we can't. The trick is to know when and what to put aside for the time being, i.e., deciding which brick to take from our basket. It's not easy. That's why I got into trouble in the first place. I keep thinking I can handle one more thing if I just bend a certain way. But I can't. No one can. Maybe I'll have to work in a messy office for a while until I have the time and patience to clean it up properly. Perhaps I'll need to say no to requests for my time and energy from unexpected outside sources--school, church, community. And in this case, maybe I need to write my blog posts in advance so when the day comes to publish them they'll be there.

And that, my dear friends, is precisely what I'm doing at the moment. This blog isn't due for eleven more days. Can you believe it? You may commence with the cheering. Wonder Woman is back!
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