As Above, Etc.

As I write this — a week or so before you read it, unless I end up doing what I’ve done before on this blog and just changed around the order of posts before they publish for reasons that even I don’t understand at the time — I’m coming off a pretty sustained period of intense workload. It wasn’t the same kind of workload as, say, a convention or whatever; thankfully, I don’t have one of those again until mid-summer. Nonetheless, I’ve found myself with a bunch to do, and my head swimming a little as a result.

While I’m never a fan of these lots-of-work-no-time-to-do-anything periods — I’m not that much of a masochist — I’ve always found something weirdly fulfilling about them, especially afterwards. There’s probably some sense of unhealthy internal justification going on, for some of that; an idea that, if I do a good job, then I’ve proved my worth on some level in a personal manner and therefore I’m… a good person, or something similar…? That’s a route I don’t feel particularly comfortable exploring, in large part because I know it’s entirely ridiculous but also close to the truth on some level despite everything. (When things were shitty in my marriage, I’d bury myself in work because it felt like an escape. I know that kind of mindset is in there, unfortunately.)

Instead, there’s a sense of reflection and calm that comes afterwards, when the work is done and I can take a breath, let a lot of things that have been floating around in my head go, and reassess how everything went. I had this after the UK trip a well, to some degree, so it’s not entirely a work thing; I find relief in the aftermath of things, in knowing that something big is over and taking that as an opportunity to take stock and look back. It’s a learning experience, in some way, even if sometimes all you learn is “That was too much, let’s never do that again.”

In this case, I’ve learned that I need to re-learn something: part of this intense work period involved writing a long form piece that I found myself struggling with for the silliest reason, in retrospect — that I was impatient with myself for the entire time, and pushing myself to just get it done already. There was no reason for that, I wasn’t up against a hard deadline, per se, but I found myself angry and frustrated that it wasn’t done already very early on in the writing, as if I was letting myself down, and it wasn’t until the third day of proper writing, when it came to an end, that I came to peace with the fact that some things really need the time and distance to get right. (I’d been writing other things during this time, as well; each of those three days, I wrote four or five other stories, because that’s how the internet works.)

It’s a good lesson, especially given that I’m theoretically going to be writing more long form pieces in the future — but also a good lesson that I should apply to all my work, and all my everything else as well: I need to learn to step back, calm down a bit, and remember that not everything can be done through sheer force of will in one sitting. Some things take time.

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