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I had a nasty attack of debilitating personal efficiency today. It’s that bit of me that will probably end up getting me into trouble at some point: the bit that thinks “Yes, I could explain this to you, but it would take three times as long as just doing it myself. So I’ll just do it myself.”

Rush: Now please leave me alone so I can do something remarkably clever.

And after a few days, he had a nervous breakdown. It was an awfully long way to the nearest Starbucks.

I partially blame my own introverted INFJness, and partially my current immersion in writing. Writing is an introvert’s dream hobby, really. You get to lock yourself away in your salon of choice, hunch over a piece of paper or a keyboard and live inside your head. You even have a legitimate reason for taking the phone off the hook and ignoring conversational gambits sent by loved ones. You are creating. Somewhere inside your feverish brain, lives and worlds and incidents are being born. What could be important enough to interrupt that? Certainly not questions about putting out the bins or the best way to cook fish fingers, oh no.

(Going back to my first thought: it feels horribly like arrogance, which is a paradox to me, as I am possibly the least self-assured person I know. Really. I could give lectures on low self-esteem, except no-one would come and I’d be crap.)

But tied to that is my ghastly perfectionism, which won’t allow for failure of any kind, and which certainly won’t damn well let go of something that I can do, damnit, I will do it, if it gives me this migraine I’ll do it…

With writing, you can do this. It may not be the best thing for your story, but you can do it. You can write for yourself, to yourself, a love letter to your own creativity. You can. Maybe you shouldn’t. But you can. Writing is the safe total immersion area, because it isn’t real life. You can give it your all.

In much of the rest of life, you honestly can’t. That way madness lies. It’s utterly counterproductive, because nobody can do everything all at once and have it work out well. (No, I’m still looking at you, Superman. Even you know this.) It’s what makes me hate that often-touted maxim that “if you want it enough, you can achieve anything”. I could dedicate my entire body and soul to a desire to become an astronaut, but it would still remain an utter impossibility.

Enough of the ranting. Back to the writing. Two positive lessons I want to learn from this, because lessons are good – if I ever stop learning, I stop living:

  • Let people help me with stuff in my life, and do it graciously, because I probably need the help.
  • Try and find a beta reader for my hobby, and take the criticism.
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