My Writing Schedule Turned Into a Life Schedule

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Avatar for JonicaBradley
3 years ago

I just made the schedule last Sunday, and have already deviated from it. I must remind myself it is a guide, a target. Not written in stone. It is not law.

My newly created schedule. It takes into account all of the most important activities/responsibilities as well as my husband's schedule. It is color-coded so I can more easily scan with my eyes. The days I am scheduled to write for read.cash are colored Bitcoin Cash green.

I created this schedule last Sunday (I'm writing this on Thursday). I needed a schedule for all of my writing projects, but realized I had to know all of my other activities and responsibilities in order to create a proper writing schedule.

I also need a schedule to keep from feeling completely overwhelmed by shame.

Shame is one of the most toxic emotions. From shame follows self-loathing and an inability to love or even like oneself. Shame feeds on itself in the most insidious of ways.

Here's the cycle from my emotional point of view. Feel shame. Want to escape the feeling of shame. Behave in a manner that causes more shame. And on and on. Shame is an ouroboros.

Ouroborus. The snake eating its own tail.

I have a great deal of shame.

Between being raised by a narcissist and making poor life decisions in order to survive my trauma, shame has become my constant companion and colors my every action in my everyday life.

If I smoke a cigarette, I feel shame. Smoking is bad! But at least I’m not eating.

If I eat when I’m not hungry, I feel shame. Obesity is bad! But at least I’m not smoking.

If I don’t clean my house because I’m painting or arting or writing, I feel shame. Dirty houses are bad! (A sinkful of dirty dishes = dirty house) But at least I’m being creative.

If I don’t paint or art or write because I’m cleaning (or just thinking about cleaning and feeling overwhelmed) I feel shame. Not using my creativity is bad!

I get so overwhelmed and frozen with shame. I end up doing nothing but streaming or reading and eating and smoking all day. And of course, not being productive is bad! But at least I am not harming myself in some other, severe way.

My inner critic is huge and strong and very pointy. She sounds too much like my mother. She sounds too much like me. In all of my years, I’ve been unable to silence her. I’ve been unable to get rid of her. She looms so large. She spews disgust and hatred at me. She shames my every move, my every thought.

My therapist is helping me to shrink her. Make her smaller. Take away her power.

With that end in mind, I created a work/life schedule. At first, I was calling it my writing schedule. But in order to know when to write what and where I needed to know all of my other responsibilities.

I spent quite a long time on this stupid schedule. Hours, not minutes. I color-coded the most important events. It makes it easier on my brain if my eyes can pick out certain colors. The hours I've scheduled to write for read.cash are closed Bitcoin Cash green.

I’m hoping to use this schedule as a guide. I’m hoping it will reduce the feelings of overwhelm. And if it doesn’t completely silence my inner critic, at least I can point to the schedule and say I’ve got a plan for whatever she is yelling at me about.

One very important thing for me to keep in mind is to use this schedule as a guide, not a written-in-stone commandment. I get rigid in my quest for control over my inner critic and my shame. (Maybe I should call it her shame.)

I tend to freak out a bit when life doesn’t go strictly as planned.

This schedule is a guide, a target. Something to aim for. Something to point to when the overwhelm and the shame try to push me down and make me small. The schedule is a stepping stool. A tool to help me get where I need to be.

I started last Sunday and until yesterday, Wednesday, been able to stick to the schedule. If not the exact times, other than milking -that has to be strict so my poor mama goat doesn’t explode -then, the activities on their given days.

Today is Thursday and because of my deviation yesterday I need to deviate again.

Wednesday's and Thursday's schedule. I didn't write for read.cash on Wednesday.

Yesterday, Wednesday, you can see after milking and animal chores, like refreshing their water, collecting eggs, watering the garden, washing up the milk pail, and so forth, I have "Gracie" scheduled.

Gracie is a very good friend of mine who lives in California (you might remember I am in Texas). Gracie is also partially deaf. She can't make phone appointments or hear people over the phone if they have a certain timbre of voice or any kind of accent.

So she pays me to virtually assist her with making appointments and doing things she doesn't have time to do herself.

Most recently, she has used my services to call the Los Angeles courthouse to find out how to get equipment for her jury duty. Just before that, I called all around Pasadena, California, and the surrounding areas to find her a dentist who could see her on the weekend in the late afternoon. Gracie works nights so early morning appointments are out of the question.

She also has asked me to transcribe tape-recorded stories from her relatives. She can't hear the recording well enough to get every word. Her mother's side of the family is very interesting. Her grandmother married a Phillipino man. They lived in California where at the time, interracial marriages were still illegal. I got to learn a lot about her family by transcribing these recordings.

On the other side of her family, her uncle George was a poet. He wrote a lot of poems, most of which he made into three different chapbooks. A chapbook is a short collection of poems, often gathered together in a homemade booklet.

Three of Uncle George's homemade poetry books aka chapbooks.

When George died, Gracie was given a box of his poetry. There are file folders full of lines written on scraps of paper. Gracie wanted me to go through and see if there were any unpublished "books" of poetry. I started looking from the wrong side of the box.

At first, I could only find handwritten scraps and revisions. Then I could only find the first or second or third unbound copies of the three books he already has.

Finally, I found the last book. Unbound, but printed out in the order he wanted them to be published. Unfortunately, Uncle George had very poor spelling. Even in the bound chapbooks, I find very common errors. Their, there, and they're being the most common.

Grammar rules usually go out the window when it comes to poetry, so I don't worry too much about that.

Poetry by George Keolian. He was very bitter toward some of the women in his life. Gracie says he thought he was "God's gift to women." He sure used poetry as an outlet for his feelings.

Gracie would really like to see all of his poems preserved. Not very many people in the family care about poetry in general, let alone his. Since Gracie wants them preserved, and the homemade books could very well fall apart, burn in a fire, or get ruined in a flood, she asked if I would create some e-books.

This just means I have to transcribe each book into documents and either publish them only to e-books or publish them on Kindle Publishing Direct. Then, she can have actual printed books. They would look so professional, maybe the rest of George's family would like to read them.

And that is what I have been working on the most.

Tuesday, I had 2 hours scheduled for Gracie and 2 hours scheduled yesterday. I get paid for 20 hours a month. Gracie has already paid me several months in advance. I haven't yet worked all the hours she has already paid me for.

On Tuesday I worked the 2 hours before writing for Medium. Yesterday, I got started on the next 2 hours before writing for read.cash.

But I encountered a problem.

Transcribing the fourth book of Uncle George's poetry.

The problem I encountered is I lost track of time. I ended up working from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

And then my husband came home from work, hungry and tired with bags of groceries.

I needed to put some groceries away and use some to make a delicious spaghetti sauce. I stopped working right away and got to work on the yellow bar labeled: K home clean/cook.

The rest of the night was slated for family time. we spent a lovely evening winding down from our respective jobs, and then we went to bed.

Today, Thursday, I switched the schedule again in order to make up for yesterday. After milking, I immediately started writing for read.cash. And I'm still writing now.

It is close to 1:00 p.m. and I'm supposed to be painting. I will start painting as soon as I publish this article. I've been itching to get paint on my brush all week, knowing it wasn't on the schedule until today.

"Sunrise over HX" by Jonica Bradley, completed several years ago. I don't want to sell this painting even though many have asked me to. I wouldn't mind making it into an NFT if I ever figure out how to do that.

I'm writing about all this schedule making and deviating from the schedule because I need to remind myself of some facts.

Fact #1:

For many years I suffered the trauma of having so little control over my life. I become pretty rigid as a means of taking back control. I get very upset when things are planned or even stated, and they don't happen the way they were supposed to "as planned" or "as stated".

An example of this is my husband and his sheep. He will say something like, "I want to keep all of the females from EweGirl's line. I won't sell them." And then a few months later, he sells one or two.

I get very upset. I feel personally betrayed. Why? It doesn't make any sense. The sheep don't belong to me. They are his. I don't even like sheep (except to eat). It only makes sense when you take my history into account.

I could never trust a single thing my mother said. She would make promises and break them and deny she ever made them in the first place. She constantly contradicted things she said from one moment to the next. I never knew what to believe and I still don't. She has tried to convince me she didn't say the things she said, and I said things I didn't say. My husband was the first person to ever call her out on her lies. In front of me, even.

I have learned to trust my husband over the years and years of our relationship. But when he states something and then does the opposite, I definitely lose that trust. And I feel betrayed because in the moment his behavior is reminiscent of my mom. The woman he stood up to. For me.

Fact #2:

My mother is no longer in control of my life. She is no longer up-rooting me and moving me across the ocean to a foreign country where I was so much more than just "the new kid." I was the foreigner. The Amerikanisches Madchen. I didn't even speak the language. She is no longer waiting until I finally fit in and feel comfortable in my new surroundings (which took 4 years), and moving me across the ocean to Texas where the cruelty of the children was like nothing I've ever experienced before or since.

Fact #3:

Not only do I control my own life, I realize (during my best moments) that the world will not explode if every detail doesn't go as planned.

It's funny because I really see myself as a laid-back and easy-going person. I guess I am sometimes. Other times? Yeah . . . not so much.

If I start freaking out about deviating from my schedule, please give me a kick in the pants and remind me the world will not end if things don't go exactly as planned.

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Lead image credit: Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Ouroborus image credit: CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3836719

All other images by author and used with permission.

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Avatar for JonicaBradley
3 years ago

Comments

I did this for work once My visiting brother spotted it and laughed at me - it's like having to remind yourself to brush your teeth... why? you brush your teeth everyday, he said. No, I did not have "brush my teeth" but it was the tasks needed to get done on a daily at work, colour coded too Spent time doing it too but I think it was my escape for a bit from getting all that needed to be done done... don't know if that makes sense

I also used this method for the kids, so at one glance I knew which kid had something to do

But since the lockdowns, with most activities on hold... aiks

Thank you for this though, I struggle to find a sort of routine to write and I never thought of this for writing, always trying to fit it in between the free time... but I think this would work better. Just making it part of the day

All the best with the writing and Gracie's project :D

$ 0.00
3 years ago

I could relate some part of your story, like how you put schedules for things. I also do that especially way back college that there are a lot of things to be done. I do it for me not left something behind, undone. Setting a schedule is a good thing, it is not bad if you make a good changes with it from time to time, it's fine if you can't do them perfectly. They are just guide, please don't be too hard on yourself. You can surpass "her shame" soon, i'll pray for you.

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3 years ago

I really hope so.

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3 years ago

I spent so much of my life being very strict with my life. I planned everything. I was always ahead of time. I set a very rigid discipline for myself. Of course it brought me a very excellent reputation in my environment. The important thing is that my level of stress maintained for many years only led me to a malignant disease. And that's when I came to my senses. Now for me everything has its time and you don't have to run around to achieve your goals. You have to let it flow. What can't be done, can't be done. But everything can be achieved with patience and accepting changes. I wish you the best.

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3 years ago

I am most impatient with myself. I was raised by the narcissist who was also a workaholic. Every second she is awake she must be busy. I've never seen her do nothing. Even when she is watching TV she is also knitting. I suspect HER mother was also a narcissist. And she, too always had to keep busy. My grandmother always tried to keep ME busy also. I feel so much shame if I am not constantly producing. Which is why I have free and family time scheduled as well. If I can learn to relax into my life with no shame, I'll be just where I want to be.

$ 0.00
3 years ago

You will make it, you have made your decision and you are with specialized help. Now you just have to be patient because everything is achieved but in time. Not before or after. And the most deeply rooted are the traumas of our childhood. I assure you, you will overcome it.

By the way, I already participated in the challenge.

$ 0.00
3 years ago

You wrote a wonderful article.

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Thank you so much!!

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Maybe @constant1995 or @crackers could help you with digitizing your art in NFT. I haven't got a clue though.

$ 0.00
3 years ago

That would be really great. I don't have a clue either.

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Cheers for the shout but @pantera mj would be the best bet

$ 0.00
3 years ago

hook me up @Crackers!

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Have you looked at where you would like to list them

$ 0.01
3 years ago

Not even a little bit. I wouldn't know where to start.

$ 0.00
3 years ago

I really do need some help with that.

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3 years ago

Same happen with me.Always try to follow my schedule but failed.Wao, you have Gracie a friend from California.Your 3re fact is emotional.Mother is our heaven .Really love her❤

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3 years ago

I try

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3 years ago