My morning began with a freakout.
Well, no, that’s not entirely true. My morning actually began with a wonderfully incandescent moment where I turned on the radio and heard the sweet, gentle sounds of of Ralph Vaughn Williams’ exquisite “Serenade to Strings.” It was when the piece was finished that I found myself falling into panic mode.
The problem: I’ve spent the last three weeks telling myself to email my dissertation advisor to tell her all the things I’ve learned in the course of my research over the last three months. The longer I wait, the more panicked I get. But every time I sit down to write the darn email, I freeze up. Why? Because everything I write sounds less than perfect.
It’s the curse of the overachiever, this need to be hyper-critical and always in control. Judging from the comments on my last couple of posts, many of you can relate. It’s perhaps the ultimate irony that all of our attempts to be perfect leave us frustrated and dissatisfied, ready to throw in the towel and just be done with life.
Little by little, moment by moment, I am trying to undo these nasty habits.
What would happen if I trusted in my talents and abilities? If I was confident that my advisor won’t judge me if I send along a few underdeveloped ideas? If I trusted that brainstorming + a little work will yield the theoretical framework that my project currently lacks?
I’d work faster, I’d be more creative, and I’d be so. much. happier.
In fact, our imperfect humanness is what makes us great artists because the interesting people are those whose character are coloured with most, or all, of the hues of the human condition. They are, as a result of their layers of virtue and vice, capable of wide thinking, and profound creativity. So, embrace your imperfection.
“Embrace your imperfection.” That’s an awesome sort of battle cry, isn’t it?
Here’s what I’ve accomplished in this first week Round 1:
I finished preliminary research at 2 out of 6 sites, continued to work through my notes, finally emailed my committee, and read 80 pages of Coburn & Smith’s Spirited Lives: How Nuns Shaped Catholic Culture and American Life, 1836-1920, which looks to be really useful for my work. For next week:
- Type up notes from my last round of data collection.
- Schedule meetings at 2 more convent archives.
- Finish Spirited Lives and start Across God’s Frontiers: Catholic Sisters in the American West, 1850-1920.
I sort of ditched last week’s plan and revisited my August CampNaNoWriMo novel, STRANGE BEDFELLOWS. It is in surprisingly good shape, possibly because it has more of a plot than any of my other WIPs (plots are useful things, did you all know that?), but I don’t necessarily know that I want to make that my major project for the year. However, I did write a couple of poems: “muse” and “drought“. For next week:
- More poetry.
- Reread TELL ME NO LIES (for real this time) and make the Ultimate Editing Battle Plan.
I made my rounds to the allotted number of blogs this past week, answered all my comments, and spent a little time on Twitter. I didn’t write my 2 non-ROW80 posts, which tells me that I really need to write them over the weekend. For next week:
- 2 non-ROW80 posts
- Continue visiting blogs/leaving comments/responding to comments
Confession time: I have been avoiding books for the last few weeks because I know without a doubt that once I start, I will never be able to stop reading. I will become a tired, haggard, zombie-like shell of a person because I will stay up all night devouring books, and I won’t get anything else done.
But! I marshaled a little self-control and took the plunge into the world of books. I read THE RUTH VALLEY MISSING by the wonderful Amber West (seriously amazing book; review forthcoming), along with the latest novella in Lindsay Buroker’s EMPEROR’S EDGE series, BENEATH THE SURFACE (also fantastic). For next week:
- More reading.
- More journaling.
How has the first week of Round 1 treated everyone else? Have you hit the ground running, or are you slowly building up momentum?
Be sure to swing by and visit this week’s ROWers to offer them lots of encouragement and word love!