Productive While Doing Nothing

I’ve been getting down on myself for not doing all the writing things that I want. That’s not to say I’m not doing anything. I am. I’m just  not doing as much as I would like. I feel like I should be done with all the character sketches and concordance entries and synopsis writing, and ready to write the novel. I’m already writing out scenes as they occur to me, but all my characters have different agendas, so it’s important that I have them all in my head so I can put them down in the right way.

Meanwhile, through my job (which I never actually divulge, saying instead that I work for a pig launching company) I am nationally certified to, uh, launch pigs, and my recertification date is coming up. I have to do 20 units by this spring, but don’t want to do it late and have to rush. (It takes quite a lot of knowledge to launch pigs, mind you.)

So, this past weekend I did some of my courses, worked on organizing my concordances (one for this project and some for the recently set aside project), some character sketches, kept in touch with my previous (and hopefully future) editor…and yet I was down on  myself for not accomplishing more. I thought that I should be done with this, working on something else, past this developmental stage. I was down on myself for watching Netflix (American Dad!, in case you were wondering) and sorting my new iPod. Why? Because I had other things to do.

This is what I mean by being productive while doing nothing. Thinking about it objectively, I actually did…enough. Not as much as I could or even should have, of course, but I did do quite a bit. Sometimes we have these expectations of ourselves, these agendas we internalize which become law, and any deviation from them becomes crushing defeat. Any accomplishments, however significant, become paltry in the face of what we DIDN’T do.

Our perceptions and our focus become our realities, so that any achievement, no matter how lofty or hard-won, pale in comparison to our expectations. We minimize our achievements because they don’t fit 100% with our preconceived notions of what ought to be. Because of this, we are never satisfied, and therefore set ourselves up for failure.

With that mindset, we become discouraged and don’t work to our greatest ability. My only advice after all this is to not let it happen. Take a step back and look at it from someone else’s viewpoint. See your accomplishments for what they are without holding them against a background of your expectations. You might find that you didn’t do as badly as you thought.

~ by Darren Endymion on December 7, 2015.

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