This should probably be subtitled “I have a journal problem.” I’ve known this for a while, but today it’s been really driven home. The first step is admitting you have a problem, so here I am. Also, CW for discussion of depression.
I am sitting on the loveseat, surrounded by cats (as so often happens) and within range of sight without really rummaging are at least 11 notebooks. Yes, eleven. Four of these are the big Blueline notebooks I use for keeping work notes and random writing notes. Three of the notebooks are 5×8 notebooks of the Moleskine/Leuchtterm variety. Two are cool Japanese spiral notebooks I bought in Tokyo a couple years ago. Two are recent Field Notes pocket notebooks, one still in its wrapper.
So what do I keep in this collection of journals, or what do I want to keep? At present, one of the 5×8 is my Bullet Journal, one is a journal for writing-related things (started after I took an interesting workshop with Fran Wilde in June on journaling and creativity) and the third is/was a Nanowrimo Bujo. I’m reconsidering that choice now, and thinking about putting the NaNo things in the writing journal. The larger Japanese notebook was for morning pages, although I’ve been incredibly lax about doing morning pages for a while, and the smaller one is current a sort of health and accomplishment log. The Bluelines are mostly work notes, although personal stuff creeps in and I end up spending time on the weekend teasing out the lists of things to do from the miscellaneous meeting notes, etc. One of the Bluelines is nearly done, one is the replacement for the full one, and one is going to be my actual writing for the novel I’m currently plotting. I also have a Field Notes planner, which I haven’t figured out how I want to use yet.
Clearly, I need a better system.
Part of the challenge here is that I struggle, sometimes more often than others, with depression. And part of the way my depression manifests is in lack of habits, and needing to think through and make decisions about even small things. I am also exhausted a lot. (I had to stop and take a nap in the middle of drafting this post, which is ironic in the extreme.)
I also have a hard time acknowledging accomplishments, which means I get down on myself hard for not getting things done, I make impossibly-long lists of things I’m trying to do or want to do or need to do (for some value of need), which I then don’t get done and, well, you see how that’s going to go.
For people who don’t deal with this sort of thing, I thought an illustration from today might provide some insight, and maybe will help you deal, or realize you’re not alone, or help you support and deal with someone around you who presents the way I do.
Today I got up around 9:30, which meant I already felt behind, even though I had *absolutely nothing* actually scheduled for today. (I had the aforementioned lists but nothing had been designated specifically for today.)
- petted the cats (several times)
- abluted (which spellcheck thinks isn’t a word but hey, I’m a writer, I can invent words!)
- got sort of dressed
- took my meds
- washed a couple of dishes that were in the sink and unloaded/reloaded the dishwasher while coffee was making
- sent a handful of work emails (while feeling bad for working on the weekend)
- did some work admin stuff in Google docs & sheets (probably using most of that sort of spoon for the day)
- ate breakfast prepared by PS
- made another coffee and heated and ate two leftover low-carb muffins
- searched for phone
- found phone and placed call to gutter people who had left note yesterday about a ‘problem’ (immediately fraught with anxiety and money thoughts)
- made lunch date for tomorrow (with people I love, but still an effort)
- watched a bunch of YouTube videos on NaNoWriMo prep and BuJos (which is how this all started; I’m fascinated by the processes other writers use – I keep hoping I’ll find some magic pill to help with mine)
- helped PS with a game mechanic and watched him game briefly; also chatted with him briefly a couple of times
- picked up a few clothes off the bedroom floor, and carried two clothing items upstairs
- made notes for work and added to Endless To Do List
- started this blog post, got tired, tried to take a nap, ended up making more notes for this blog post.
It is now 5pm. That is approximately 7 hours worth of ‘accomplishments’. Today feels like an average-to-good mental health day, in that I haven’t just sat in front of the computer playing WoW all day, and a middling physical health day.
Was there more I could or should have done? Probably and absolutely, in that order. Is it any wonder the list never gets shorter, and I need so many journals and lists to manage it?
Tomorrow, more on what I decided about managing the lists and a bit of PrepTober.