18 May 2020

Productivity (Not Necessarily During a Pandemic)

Don't fight yourself more than you have to.

You shouldn’t measure your worth by how productive you are.

It’s a lesson that I definitely haven’t learned yet, but am slowly struggling to come to terms with. It seems callous to complain during this nebulous time; especially with people dying, or fighting for humanity’s return to normalcy. The front lines are a dangerous place and sitting in my apartment dwelling on myself doesn’t say a whole heck of a lot for my empathy.

But that being said, the notion of self-care is, I think, something schools should really delve into instead of one of the more useless skills I was taught (looking at you handwriting, though I don’t know if kids still learn that.) Teaching people to fight depression, and the despondent, listless anxieties that popup in everyone’s lives from time to time is an investment I believe in.

During the shit show that is the COVID-19 pandemic, I have spent many a string of hours horribly paralyzed by the what-ifs of my future, with no job and money troubles looming. But truthfully, the thing that has caused me the most problems in the past few weeks is my complete lack of motivation to continue writing. After submitting my very first query letter, after soliciting reviews of my work, I have done nothing with my draft in the past three weeks.

I’ve written snippets for my new projects, one of which I will eventually settle on and commit to words goals for, but every night, as I lie awake staring at my ceiling, I can’t help feeling a yawning pit of disappointment in myself for abandoning my first completed project at the last few steps.

This is more for myself than anything, but if someone should ever stumble upon this, I think it’s important to reiterate:

YOUR VALUE, HEALTH, WORTH AND HAPPINESS SHOULD NEVER BE WEIGHED AGAINST YOUR PRODUCTIVITY.

It’s a trap I think many creative people fall into at one point or another, worrying about a slump, and what it says about them.

Truthfully, it says nothing. It says you are human.

It’s important to remember, that the journey is just as important as the destination. Sure, these past few weeks could have been spent sitting at my desk writing. I couldn’t say if what I’d have produced would have been anything I’d be proud of though.

Better to have spent the weeks trying to wrestle with my feelings, so that when I come back to the table (now) I’m sure I’m ready to put my best foot forward.

This is a reminder, future Danny, that moments of doubt will come, go, and come again. Acknowledging them is not weakness, and worrying about what you have or haven’t created is something you may not be able to stop doing, but it’d be swell if you could.

With one foot in the past, and one in the future, all you can do is piss on the present.

Words worth living by, if nothing else.

You have nothing to prove. Just do your best, day by day.