One of the mantras I’ve been using over the last year: Hard things get to be hard.
- Going for a walk is hard. Not because walking is hard. I love to walk. But because I go, “I should be working harder, not taking care of myself.”
- Answering emails is hard. My Duotrope weekly update email contains a list of markets that are closing soon, far more than I could send stories to if I were managing a writers’ sweatshop with a whip and free lattes. Which one of these markets will make my career?
- Asking for favors is hard. Because someone might offer to help. Worse: three people might offer to help, and then I have to a) politely decline two offers in such a way that I make them feel good for offering, and b) figure out how to not @#$% up the third offer and use that help to make something so awesome that it more than justifies their generosity.
I have 1001 things that are hard. They center around a) taking care of myself, b) finding a workable balance between two unhealthy extremes, c) managing my attention span, d) dealing with contradictory social obligations, and e) making 100% decisions based on 51% sureness, when I know there’s at least a 5% margin of error.
Today is hard because I’m fighting off about six colds, and I need to sleep, but this has been a hard week, so I haven’t gotten a lot off my to-do list, because hard things take time if you aren’t going to shove your head under a pillow and wait for things to degrade to the point where it’s useless to do something anyway. Which totally explains why I’m blogging instead of a) taking a nap, or b) working. Or not.
Today is hard because good things have been materializing out of thin air and I don’t know how to handle them. A client both gave me a raise and offered to pay for me to watch a movie. Lucy. I asked for resources on a project (a drawing tablet, so I can do something cool for a client cover), and three awesome people volunteered to make it happen for me. Another client came to me and said, “I grossly underpaid you on a previous project, as evinced by me hiring someone else for this other thing. I want you to consult for something specific on this other thing; take your time and name a better rate.” I pitched an article to an editor whose opinion I value greatly, and he said to go for it, sight unseen. More than one person has said nice things about my writing lately. I currently have more open jobs on cool projects than I can deal with. I can’t even cope with all the good stuff today. I know it’s stupid, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Today’s project: say “got it” “yes” and “thank you” to all the good things, sort out my inbox, and establish priorities. And also “no” to all the things that are just kind of there, because even if you don’t say “yes” to everything, if you don’t say “no” it’s just kind of hanging over your head, because they will be back to say “HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT MY OPPORTUNITY YET?!?” Believe me, I know.
And then I will take care of myself, because otherwise one of those six colds will take me down and make everything 100% harder. It’s still going to be an uphill battle, but that’s okay. When I have my stupidly hard things taken care of, the ease of doing everything else makes me look like a superhero.
So, universe: I offer up my apologies for having such issues handling the good things you’re sending to me. I will take time out of my day to work out how to handle them appropriately rather than putting them off. I can’t guarantee that I’ll get it right, right away, and I won’t pitch a fit when you throw some inevitable bad stuff at me, unless I haven’t slept or eaten, in which case I’ll try to eat and sleep before I throw a total tantrum, but that’s on me, not you. I feel like that one episode of I Love Lucy where she’s eating all the chocolates, but I guess I’m not complaining. Because, you know, chocolate. I humbly submit that I will learn how to cope with even better things that you send my way, eventually.
Got it, yes, and thank you. Love, De.