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The Dreads

So as you may have heard, in writing with Chris Kennedy I got two novels done in about a month. Unheard of sustained momentum for me.

Turned in that second book, got a short story finished, submitted that, and turned to the second short I have due this year, and...

Froze. The dreads kicked in. That creeping feeling that something is going to be so impossibly time-consuming and hard I build it up in my head until it's an insurmountable juggernaut.

In this case, the story was plotted and about a third done, and I was so convinced that it was a mess and I had so much work to do on it that I just didn't get re-started.

I opened the document. Closed the document. Opened it the next day. Closed it again.

Then I finally got to work and knocked out 2000 words, and feel pretty good about the direction.

And I have to relearn this lesson a million times--whether it's over chores (sweeping, UGH), errands, adulty-tasks (getting retirement accounts organized? took...six months for an hour of work. Cmon!), or good old writing. It feels most egregious with writing though, because once I get to actually writing, I love it (most times).

Does this happen to you? What's your go-to 'just get it started and get moving' solution?

As you may have gathered from these my posts over the years, it varies for me. Lately it's been 'do something entirely different and ride that momentum back to the thing you have the dreads about.'

Relatedly - I've been cooking more! I've organized a bunch of notes scribbled on a bunch of various papers! I've re-caught up on a few long-running series I stopped reading for no reason whatsoever.

So it's not all bad, but the dreads...whew. Especially as all the everything around us continues to be...all the everything, I've tried to focus more and more on gratitude, and celebrations.

For instance, The Lyons' Pride is out in the world, and the reviews and feedback from readers has been so, so wonderful. People seem to enjoy reading it as much as Chris and I enjoyed writing it, which is pretty dang fantastic.

I've gotten to spend so much time with loved ones lately, and gone outside to see so much beauty. Even while international travel is not currently in the cards, I've gone to some amaaaazing places and can still drool over my own pictures (for instance, the lead image in this post, while foreboding enough for The Dreads, is from an amazing snorkeling trip in the Galapagos). I've been cooking more, and it's been pretty tasty!

Those are fun celebrations. They don't completely erase the dreads, but sometimes the best I can do is ease, not fix. I guess that's part of progress, too.

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