The Creative Journey
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In Search of Serenity

 

Do you ever feel so lost you don’t know your elbow from a hole in the ground? Do you ever just wake up and look around at your bedroom, the floor littered with clothes; empty cups, plates and dip containers piled haphazardly on the book case and think “Surely, there’s more to life than this, there has to be?

Lately I’ve been struggling a lot with the most basic of tasks. I wake up, roll over and 8 hours later I’m still watching my twitter feed scroll randomly; I’m still in my pyjamas and I’m still thinking “You know, I really should go and shave or have a shower.” It’s not that life is “too hard”, or I’m enjoying a pity party, table for one. I’m just flat. I’ve got bugger all motivation, and when motivation does spark, it doesn’t last for long.

I’ve just left a job that I began with such high hopes but it turned out to be the most toxic work environment I’ve ever experienced. It left me with a major case of self doubt. I reverted to type; talking a great game while actually spending my time watching reruns of I Dream of Jeanie or Bewitched.

I don’t know if it’s seasonal – we’re moving into Autumn here in Australia – or whether or not it’s just my personality. I find myself wondering a lot lately if this really is all there is to look forward to. A gradual, quiet descent into old age. I’ve always felt like there was more. There almost has to be. I watch my friends move on with their lives, their relationships – the good and bad – and the goals they set for themselves and I’m just over here, eating Doritos.

This morning I woke up and cringed at the ridiculous, alcohol-fuelled immaturity I showed last night while watching the State Election. I hate that booze hits me the way it does. I don’t know if it’s always been the case, or if it’s just dependent on my mood, but booze and I really are not a good combination.

Last weekend I toyed with the idea of quitting drinking for a year, simply to set myself a challenge. I don’t challenge myself. I allow myself to just drift. These days, it’s getting harder to deny the family connection to alcohol that seems to be coming more and more to the surface. Worse than that, I just don’t handle it well. It could be because I’m feeling so out of cycle at the moment, or it could be simply that like some people in the population, I’m not built to drink.

Whatever the reason, I woke up this morning and made the decision that procrastination is fuelling a lot of my negative self-image, along with a lot of my self-destruction. I allow my brain to become overwhelmed, to sink, and I’m unable – or unwilling – to dig it out again. Instead it’s like the warm embrace of a much hated enemy.

During a therapy session recently I was told I take on too much. That in order to overcome my self perception of being a failure, I try to control everything and every situation around me. He’s probably correct. The anxiety and panic attacks are unpleasant but they usually flare to the surface when I do something that makes me uncomfortable.

The quickest way to trigger one these days is to acknowledge the deadline for the completion of my draft novel is only about 9 weeks away. That is guaranteed to see me rushing to Facebook or Twitter in case there’s been an important update I might have missed in the last 33 seconds.

I read other people’s journey’s and their treks towards goals and take solace in the fact someone out there is doing something, but at the same time turn it on myself and reinforce my own inner dialogue.

So I came to a couple of decisions today that I hope will inspire me to get myself off the bed and into life again. For the most part, I doubt anyone is going to notice the changes, but I do hope they bring about a new outcome for me that is more positive than the current one. So, to the guts and glory of the post, the decisions I made are:

  • Remove social media and other web site procrastinators from my life until I finish the draft of Darkened North;
  • Write daily – I travel 90 minutes each way to work on the train, there’s no reason on Earth I can’t convert that time from Twitter to writing time;
  • Take time to meditate – I used to do it all the time, now it’s rare if I do it once a month;
  • Challenge myself – I’m removing alcohol from my life until the novel is drafted and if that works, I’m going to do the 12 month No Alcohol Challenge;
  • Quit Smoking – I’ve wanted to do that again for a long time, but I’m scared the time isn’t right;
  • Look for the positive in situations – Each day I’m going to list 1 Good/Happy Thing even if I have to go out of my way to ensure it happens;
  • Finally complete The Artist’s Way – I’ve had the book for several years now, and always stop when I reach week 4; and
  • Take up gardening – it’s creative in a different way to writing and allows me to get lots of fresh air and exercise.

So as you can see, not a huge amount of stuff other people might notice, but hopefully I will notice. Hopefully, by the time I reach June 6 and hand my novel across for workshopping I’ll have redesigned my life into one that I would be proud of. I don’t want to waste any more time thinking about what could have been, or the regrets I have. I want to release that monkey from my back and set about creating the life I want to live.

I guess the point to all this – regardless of the level of difficulty the goals above may have – is I believe that if I take the time, treat myself well and set about changing the areas I don’t like I might just start waking up with energy and excitement again. It’s been a long time since I woke up feeling joyful.

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43 year old Australian writer currently working on the first of a planned three book Epic Fantasy series. When he's not writing policy discussions, or tales of swords, Gods, and magic, he can be found making a mess in the kitchen, and turning perfectly good ingredients into crimes against humanity.

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