The first writing session of the week is the most exciting and the most anxiety-inducing. I’m coming fresh to the page after two days of rest! Ideas have had time to morph and change into something that wasn’t possible before! The page is totally fresh, the day is new, there is a profound sense of possibility in the air. Sitting down and creating—this is I’ve been waiting to do for my entire weekend! How can it go wrong?
Several ways, actually.
My weekend could be defined by a deathly lack or surfeit of sleep, rendering my brain unable to focus or produce the work that I know I’m capable of. My fingers will strain to push out words, my brow will sweat from the exertion (or from pushing out the last bit of alcohol in my system—hoo boy I should NOT have had that entire bottle of wine four hours before bed, I am overheating and my brain feels like it’s floating in a jar.) Sunday morning writing rolls around, and my head is pounding, hair much more sweaty than it should from such a low-impact run, and wishing I could just go back to sleep so I could not feel like I’m dying. That is an impossibility, though, because I have work in less than three hours, and it’s Sunday, which mean it’s going to be busy.
I could spend those two days doing absolutely nothing productive, spending too much time buried in pointless browsing on the internet, staying right in those shallows of fragmented attention and focus that Cal Newport warned me about in Deep Work (which, to be clear, he only mentions as a negative in relation to work, but being the ADHD person that I am, anything that offers constant dopamine hits just for scrolling and refreshing isn’t something I want in my life.). My mind will literally never be bored, which means I won’t have time to actually think. Ideas will stay suspended, and Sunday will come, and I’ll stare at the screen, wondering why I don’t have any ideas. “What in the hell was I thinking about last week?” I’ll think, referring to my notes, seeing the words, but unable to make all of the necessary connections, severed as they were by my gleeful overindulgence in bite sized social media content.
There’s the off chance that I could just straight up be unable to sleep, and I can’t shake my tiredness, and as a result I tremble when I start the timer, get overwhelmed by my inner critic—who is incredibly loud today—and give in to its pronouncements that I’m a complete and total hack. I put my tools away, defeated, and the rest of the day is spent trying to reverse the depression tailspin. I’ll convince myself that I’m terrible, that my work has no value, and that I should probably just quit while I have the benefit of being unknown.
Just a few situations I’ve experienced that I need to be wary of. Situations that I’ve taken steps to prevent over the course of the duration of my writing journey, through moderation, meditation, self-examination, and just taking the time to say “no”. My weekends are so much more relaxing and empty lately, filled with blank space that I don’t feel compelled to fill at all times. A blank space in which ideas have room to grow and change and surprise me when I revisit them.
I go into Sunday mornings with a rejuvenated creative self, ready to put something on the page, even if the going is slow at the start.
Remember to slow down, remember that your work has value, and remember to take care of yourself, from your brain to your fingers.