I've been struggling with myself for the last hour to not get frustrated and annoyed with all I have done today, but it isn't working. I just took a walk to the local branch of the Chicago Public Library. They're not open today, but I wanted to drop a book I recently finished in the outdoor drop. On the way there and back, I took note of what a nice day it was. Lots of sunshine, not too hot or too cold. This was the first time, though, that I had left the house today.
I know that I have been productive this weekend, but I hate that nagging feeling that I wasn't quite productive enough. Yesterday, I even managed a somewhat social outing when Kathy and I joined my friend, Bill from the library for an early dinner/late lunch and a movie in Lakeview. We did a bit of walking and I got to enjoy the nice weather yesterday.
I actually even tackled a number of things from my daily list, leaving only two or three unaccomplished for today. I backed up all the files on my laptop, did some laundry so I'd have clean socks for the upcoming week, picked up a Reader (something I do weekly in order to check out any upcoming events and to read Savage Love and News of the Weird), put the first few discs of a new audiobook on my mp3 player, finished my Netflix DVD and finished editing the second draft of my novel (i.e, it now has an ending I am mostly happy with - or as happy as I will probably ever be with an ending that I wrote).
Still, I feel like I really have done nothing. I know what it is. The nagging feeling that it's never enough - I have this desperate need to have more reflective time and always, I have this strong urge to write. To get it all down. Every single thing I think or see or hear. And yes, I know - I am writing, but it's not what I mean.
I realize I have written nothing fresh in so long that I am beginning to feel I don't have it in me anymore. It's the one thing, the major thing I always wanted to do with my life and I am just barely doing it. I wrote a second novel in November, but it was terrible and needs a lot more work before I can do anything with it. The first novel, the one I just finished editing (again), is the same one I have been working on forever and a day - and I still don't feel like it's perfect enough for publication (though, thank god I have an ending now that isn't completely lame and I said what I wanted to say with it, too). It would be wonderful to get it out of my own head for awhile and into someone else's hands, but I can seem to stop feeling worried that it isn't good enough.
In the meantime, I walk around in a daze, writing long pieces of creative nonfiction (i.e, personal nonfiction/memoir - as that is the kind of creative nonfiction I lean toward writing most) in my head - but with little time to jot down ideas or notes. All these long passages of prose in my head that I never get to put on paper - or by the time I do, they are gone.
I guess what I need is an outlet. I need to write some smaller pieces and I need time and quiet (back to the need for reflective time, which has been another persistent gnawing lately) to put them together without distraction (i.e, work, the Internet, pets, errands, worries, people, television and even just being uncomfortable). Then I need some timely feedback.
The problem is: I really don't know what to write when it comes to smaller pieces. Especially since my future goal is always (yes, always) publication and most of my short writing seems to have no main idea. This, of course, is because all of the short writing I have done since college has been blog entries. And they're all just personal ramblings of the pointless kind. I can't even seem to keep this blog on track. Initially, I started it as a way of keeping track of my progress through anxiety and toward a more fulfilling life. I think I get off-subject more often than I am on target.
And as far as feedback, I no longer have the good fortune of being surrounded by writers and aspiring writers everyday. No one has to read and comment on my work for next week's class or next month's writer's group meeting. Admittedly, I've lost some of the will it takes to hound other people to read my work and offer their opinions, too.
So instead of feeling like finishing my novel - or rather, giving it a proper ending - is a milestone, I end up feeling like it was a device for procrastination. Which, quite possibly it was. And in finishing something that seemed to be holding me back, I should feel better - but I don't. I just feel more incomplete.