This Is How To Fight Your Way Forward In The Messy Middle

I had a week, people.

A week you have all had. A week you might be having right now. Things that were supposed to happen, didn’t. Things that should never happen, did.

I created a beautiful plan for what I wanted to do this week. And for several days at the end of the week, none of it got done.

Right now, writing is a side project for me. One I enjoy enormously. But it doesn’t pay the bills. And it also takes a backseat to my family obligations.

So when things don’t go to plan, my writing time suffers.

I am also hitting what I would describe as the Messy Middle of my writing. I started writing about 5 months ago. I was so excited and fulfilled with writing at the beginning. I had big hopes and dreams. A book. And more. The excitement of starting and committing to a new project fueled the early months. I found a way to get it all done.

The only two weeks of the past 5 months that I didn’t write very much were the two weeks that I was with my family in Italy.

This past week, I managed to write 2 stories on Medium (versus my usual 4). But I otherwise have barely been on Medium for days. And I have made no progress on my longer term writing projects.

As a perfectionist, I feel like I fell off the wagon.

You know that feeling?

Like, to reach your goal. You have to plug away You have to eat perfectly every day to lose the weight. You have to run the exact right number of miles, at the exact right pace, when you are training for a half marathon.

If you don’t, you’re in the ditch. And then all bets are off.

You might as well give up.

Let writing fall by the wayside for weeks. Or months. Or years.

Eat a hot fudge sundae AND a bag of Doritos.

Not run for the rest of the month.

Well, I’m not going to let that happen to me. Not again.

Because the only person who thinks I am failing at my goals is me.

I doubt that many of you realize that I normally write on Medium 4 times a week.

I know for sure that no one knows how much work I have done on my book project. Or my other writing project. And how much I am “supposed to” do every week.

So I had a few days that went sideways.

I bet that I will have a few more.

You know what I am going to do to get through this rough patch?

Write something. Anything. This thing.

Maybe not my best piece of work. Not the most researched. Not the most eloquent. But I’m putting it out there. And telling myself that its not about streaks. So I broke a streak. Big deal. I’m not in the proverbial ditch. Because the ditch does not exist.

I read somewhere on Instagram a post that said:

B+ Work Saves Lives.

I believe it.

Stop thinking I can give 100% to everything at the same time.

As I write this, my kids are eating cold pizza for dinner. While watching a college football game. I am solo parenting this weekend.

My perfectionism creeps into my parenting. I try to limit screen time. I try to feed my kids balanced, home-cooked dinners. But you know what? Giving them cold pizza in front of the TV means that I get a little time to write this story. Its the best that I could do this weekend.

The funny thing is, my kids are in heaven. I win Mom of the Day today. Not sure why I struggled to let this happen.

Remember I am doing this because I love it.

I love writing.

I love words.

I have wanted to write for years. For years I wrote in journals about my hopes and dreams of being a writer. And for years I couldn’t even begin.

I got started. I got over that first hump.

No one gives you cake and a party to motivate you when you are in the middle of something. Not like the beginning and the end.

But before I decide the middle is too hard. And beat myself because I had a bad week. I need to remember. I love this. Why would I want to give up on something that I love?

I have no idea if my stats on Medium will ever get higher than they are now. I don’t know if I’ll ever find a traditional publisher for my book. It might take me longer than other people to get through everything. Because I have another job and kids and a husband and and and…

But I love to write. Why would I walk away?

So there you go. I did it. I got back on the horse. I got back on the wagon. I didn’t hit this rough patch in the middle and give up.

I’m sure I’ll hit another rough patch soon.

But when I do, I need to remind myself. Sometimes you need to do the best you can. And give yourself a break on the other things. Because its better to do something imperfectly than not do it at all. Especially if its something that you love.

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Denver, Colorado, United States

© 2019 Deb Knobelman, PhD.