One of the things that I’ve realized about myself is that I don’t have a particularly vast reserve of willpower or stamina when it comes to projects. About half the time I feel comfortable in my abilities to get things done, and I’ll develop a project plan with a schedule and milestones and everything. I manage to keep this up for a few days before I inevitably fall behind because I’m trying to do too many things at once or I just haven’t predicted the correct amount of energy for a particular thing that needs to be done. The deadlines get missed, the projects get scrapped, and I’m surrounded by a mess of broken plans for quite some time.
I realize that coping with depression means that I’m never going to be able to be “on” all the time. My brain simply doesn’t work that way. When I feel myself getting ‘depleted’ for lack of a better word, it just makes things worse to push myself on beyond my abilities. I have to put down the burdens I’ve taken on, give myself space to rest and recuperate, and pick up again as I feel able. While this might work on a personal level, it doesn’t quite cut the mustard for the outside world, with its hard deadlines and expectations.
Most of what I do, personal-goalwise, is trying to interface my own internal process with that of the outside world. I really want to work in a way that’s efficient and consistent, so people know what they’re getting with me. I want to be the kind of person that can write three blog posts a week here at the Writing Desk, two posts a month at [adjective][species], run a Pathfinder game twice a month and cough up a publishable short story at least once a month. This, in addition to a full-time job, an ambition to cook in more often than I eat out, a goal to exercise at least thirty minutes three times a week and any social engagements that I’ve going on.
It’s a lot to do. And it’s all stuff I want to do, very badly. Still, it’s work, and work takes effort — moreso for me than it should. I’ll admit freely that I never really learned how to work hard when I was a kid; schoolwork came easily to me and I never learned how to beat my head against a wall until it came down. It’s one of the lessons I really wish I had had.
Still, all that’s to be done is deal with what’s in front of me. I’ve been trying to be very disciplined about the exercise first, and the writing second. I haven’t been writing exactly every day, but a lot more often than I have been. I’ve been reading more than I have in ages, and swirling the ideas and pieces of story and storytelling in my head quite a bit. It hasn’t added up to productivity yet, but it’s getting there.
I’ll keep pushing myself as hard as I can for as long as I can, with the understanding that the day will come when I need to take a few days’ rest. For now I’ll just aim to be as productive and efficient as I can.