There are patterns in our behavior and our beliefs, which shape our daily life and our future. Some of them are closer to the surface, some are nested deep within us, and typically go undiscovered for most of our lives—if we were normal people, that is. But we’re writers, and in the turbulent world of writerhood bad habits and fears have a tendency to jump right up in our faces, all the time.
Time we got in their faces for a change. Don’t you think?
Prosperity comes from control, and all control comes from understanding (pretty philosophical, ha). First step is to find out what our worst habits and patterns are, the ones that wreck our productivity and should be replaced, and which ones are great and beneficial, and should be amplified and put to proper use. While I’m gonna start with my own, I’m really much more interested in your worst and best. What is it that presses your guilt button time and again, and what helps you deliver and just feel good about yourself every single time?
Surprisingly, my Achilles’ heel is not procrastination. I’m the kind of person who grabs a to-do list and starts with the most annoying, terrifying or tedious thing on that list, working her way up to the pleasant and easy ones. It’s not dicking around on the internet either. Every time I go online, I learn something—either from writers, bloggers, scientists, newsbots, and even youtubers. Surfing, tweeting and posting funny pictures on Facebook only takes 10~20% of my day, so it’s really not such a big deal in the 21st century.
*takes deep breath*
My worst and most annoying defect is perfectionism. If you’re not afflicted, you’re a lucky bastard and I envy you to the bone. If you do have it, then you know what a pain in the ass it can be. The effects? I always find flaws in everything I do (especially what I write), and feel an irresistible urge—practically Tourette’s, it’s that level of irresistible—to correct them, to fiddle and tweak and polish, and then rework the whole thing after a couple of days, where I’ve changed my strategy and made “improvements” to the concept to stop feeling like I’m the world’s biggest idiot. It’s driving me insane! Not to mention everything always needs at least a couple of versions, because otherwise how could I sleep at night? Even my spreadsheets have drafts. And my notes. My freaking notes—the ones no one else will ever read! Argh!!
Does it have any advantages? I probably get better quality than if I were lazy and self-content. And also… uhm… nope, that’s it. The rest is agony. Self-deprecating, anxious agony. It’s not a recommendable way to do things, especially if you want to go into retirement with all your neurons intact.
I guess my best habit, or attitude, is that I’m an incurable optimist (otherwise I’d dig myself a hole and never get out of it again). I don’t think the universe is a good place despite the troll-plague, corruption, disease and global warming, supernovas killing civilizations and black holes swallowing all reason. I think the universe is a good place because it doesn’t give a shit about all that, it’s not bothered, it just keeps existing and evolving nonchalantly like a badass. All truly powerful things are powerful not despite adversity, but because of it, because they tear through it with their teeth, digest it and metabolize it as they go on being powerful and ever-changing. That’s my goal. That’s what helps me pull myself out of that perfectionist cycle of self-correcting madness.
I honestly believe that the problems and setbacks I will undoubtedly face as I pursue my goals and race toward the sunset of my life, are nothing but building blocks, puzzle pieces, equally important and just as necessary as the good things, to make me stronger and more complete. How can I possibly expect all pieces of my life to be margins or corners? What kind of an warped picture would that be?
Yes there are bad things in the world, and yes there is evil and injustice and ignorance. The media never lets us forget that. But there is also a lot of good in the world, a lot of beauty and kindness. Whether we admit it or not, our lives are influenced by that which preoccupies us, and we, in turn, can influence others by bringing out the good, being kind and honest, instead of aggressive, accusing and inflexible.
Damn, I’m philosophic today, ha. Gotta lay off the Earl Gray.
Now to you — if you’re really honest, what are your worst habits, attitudes, patterns that you wish you could break? What’s repeatedly holding you from realizing your true potential? And what, on the other side, has always proven helpful and productive? What habits or attitudes have kept you going and have yielded results?
I’ve set up a multiple-choice poll where you can select 3 things anonymously. I will close the poll on Wednesday night before the rooster crows, and the points that get selected most often will be discussed in a blog post next week. If you don’t find what you’re looking for in the polls (where I’ve tried to stay more general, to encompass variations), then please leave a comment and throw me the ball — I’ll pick it up, and have a serious talk with it. Or just say hi, and gimme your thoughts on the topic.
Thank you, and have fun clicking! 🙂