Setting goals for yourself can be a double edged sword.
If you’re an Achiever type, who needs to get a set number of things done in a day or you feel like a Failure™, goals motivate you. They are invigorating. When you reach them, you feel so great.
But, if you are this type of person who has to check everything off the list every day and you fall short on a goal, then your feelings of being a Failure™ tend to compound, multiply, and grow until you are convinced that you are the worst and laziest person in the world for not being able to achieve this one thing.
When I started this blog last May, it wasn’t on a whim. I had been thinking about hows and whys of starting a blog for a couple years. For a long time I let my perfectionism stand in the way of getting anything done. I had to come up with the perfect content plan that would include many brilliantly crafted arguments that ended with profound realizations and takeaways.
Yes, I am fully aware I am ridiculous.
Once I gave up on the idea of regularly delivering the impossible through writing and decided that I could do literally anything else, the ideas started flowing. As it turned out, I hadn’t completely run out of ideas and had nothing to say. I’d just paralyzed myself via perfectionism. A lot of my writing for fun in the past has been fiction writing, particularly books. I thought that writing a blog would be a nice, easy release from that. These posts are shorter, therefore they’re easier! (Again, why does my brain do this to me and why do I fall for it every time?)
So I set the goal of a post a week. If you go back through my 2021 archives, I did a decent job. Missed weeks here and there, but overall, considering the having children, being in a pandemic, and the holding down a job then quitting that job and starting a new job thing, I did pretty good.
Then it all sort of unraveled.
Like many parents, my last couple months have been really hard. Sick children, sick me, daycare closings, the Omicron variant, and a whole mess of other shit has very unfortunately returned me to the type of burnout I was experiencing last summer. (I am not opposed to reviving hot cicada summer for this winter. We can make it work.) But this time instead of trying to power through and do the writing at night, I instead kind of collapsed and started mindlessly watching YouTube instead. Oh, and I also finally saw some Squid Game months after everyone else had already forgotten about it.
The terrible part, other than the absolute grinding burnout, was that I was thinking about writing pretty much every night. But I didn’t have the energy to do it, couldn’t force myself to pull out the laptop. So instead of delighting in this great outlet, I just thought about the article I wanted to write and how much I sucked for not being able to write it. Pretty much every night of December and January. Good times!
My goal for 2022 is still to write and update this blog. Weekly, if I can! But, if not, then often enough so that you know I’m still here. I have a couple topics I definitely want to cover. There’s a whole treatise I want to write about the Kate Winslet/Cameron Diaz masterpiece The Holiday. And although it’s not Christmas anymore, I’m going to write about that silly movie two months after it’s relevant. Because I want to.
I still have a couple thoughts brewing about the Mission:Impossible franchise. I want to write more about how the internet thinks of and approaches content. I want to write more about books. And I have a plea to make to authors and movie makers around the world to please stop giving your mean female characters “mustaches.” What are you doing with that. Stop it.
But the bigger goal, other than posting semi-regularly, is to be kinder to myself. And to remind myself to be kinder than others. It’s been almost two years since this pandemic thing started and everyone needs a lot of grace right now. I basically need boatloads of it by this point.
I hope you’ll give it to me. And I’ll try to return the favor.
One thought on “Writing is hard. So is the pandemic.”
You must be kinder to yourself. Even though you intend to do so, I hope you actually do. Life has been confusing at best and difficult as a norm for quite awhile now, and we keep going. I was berating myself for a little slip-up recently and a very wise person told me to give myself a break. There you go, I’m passing it on. Give yourself a break. By the way, one other thing missing in the photo. Dogs crawling all over you.