Ok. So today was rough. I think the oppressive cold is starting to get to me. When you wake up in the morning and the temperature is four degrees below zero with a wind chill of negative thirty-five, the last thing on your mind is going to the gym or having a wonderful. productive day. I spent a good two hours staring at blank screen this morning, just thinking about how cold it is here, and how it would be so pleasant to live anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line right about now. So I got no writing done today, except for what you're reading here of course. I did go to the gym but for the first time this year I couldn't finish my Couch to 5K Workout, which made me feel even more like a piece of garbage, and now I'm in one of those bad mood spirals that makes it nearly impossible to get anything productive done.
I hate that I get like this. Once I reach a certain level of agitation I lose all ability to focus. Trying to change my schedule around to accommodate morning writing has been a giant failure so far. I'll wake up around 7 AM, make coffee and breakfast, open up a Google Doc, and stare into the abyss for half an hour or so. Somedays I've been able to get a thousand words in or so, but there has been nothing that has felt worth saving in the month or so I've been on this routine. I've actually found it easier to read in the morning than get work done, which I'm guessing has something to do with my usual morning habits of reading the paper or surfing the net in the morning for the last five or six years. I want to give it a month or two more before I throw in the towel on this morning work routine, but right now it feels like trying to push a square peg through a round hole.
One thing that's horrible about doing creative work are the days where absolutely nothing gets done. All creative people have these kinds of days, and in the long run they just become another part of the process, but they always feel awful. Even if I was just working as a fry cook at McDonald's at least I would have served people with faux-nourishment today. Instead all I've seem to have done is bitch on the internet, which is great work if you can find a way to get paid for it, but unfortunately right now I'm doing all this bitching pro bono. As far as struggling on today's run goes, I was not exactly in the best mood when I went to the gym. I really hate days where I don't get any writing done, it puts me in a really foul mood. My gym is only a few blocks away, but just going outside to shovel the front walk and start my car was unpleasant enough enough to sour my mood even more. I was really hoping that the terrible conditions would keep people away from the gym today. I wanted to have the place to myself, so i could blare some music and take out my anger the heavy bag, weights and treadmill. I was actually looking forward to catharsis that comes from kicking my own ass.
It turns last night's storm was bad enough that a lot of the schools and businesses were closed today and the gym was filled with soccer moms. Most days I'm completely happy to have people to chit-chat with at the gym. Since I live in a small town, I know most of the people who are members at my gym. I just would have preferred a little privacy today. I thought I'd try to listen to a podcast as a way to cheer me up while I ran. As I feared, I absolutely can not listen to a podcast and run at the same time; my mind just gets too absorbed into whatever the person on the show is saying. I feel the same way about writing fiction. There is no way I can write with the radio playing, or with a television on in the background. If I'm writing in public I have to wear headphones to block out people chatting.
If nothing else, today's failure will just be extra motivation for Wednesday's run. When I got home from the gym, I made some delicious chicken enchiladas, watched a really good interview between Howard Stern and Louie CK, and now I'm writing this. You'll have to forgive me for being so whiny, but there are going to be days where I use this writing time as a way to vent.
In a strange way I've learned to appreciate days like today because they make the good days seem so much better. Even though things didn't go exactly the way I wanted to them to go, no one I know died, and it's not as if I had to go through some kind of major hardship. Tomorrow I'm going to be taking my grandmother to a doctors appointment regarding her cancer. She's been fighting lung cancer for the better part of a year now, and it's been hell on her. But she's still fighting. Some people's bad days eclipse the trivial frustrations of what I go through, and I need to do a better job of keeping these things in perspective. There was a time when, if I had a bad day writing, I would go weeks without getting back on track with whatever project I was working on. Now here I am, just hours after banging my head against the wall, writing - because I'm alive, and blessed with my health. We should all be so lucky.