For the last few weeks, I have been doing a lot of sleeping. During the day I’ve had very little energy, and have been spending quality time on my couch, reading novels and exploring new reaches on Twitter.
I have felt lazy.
Tonight the tooth flared up — the one that the dentist repaired and then told me would be extracted if it went bad; do not pass go, do not get a root canal. I’m calling in the morning to get that resolved.
But in the meantime, I am finally relaxing (well, and the pain meds help). There was a reason for all of this. I wasn’t lazy.
Lazy. The Demon of Sloth looms large in my perfectionist, first-generation upbringing. No, my parents are not themselves immigrants, but my mother’s family managed to preserve the first-generation mindset, a fair dose of working-class terror, and the accompanying A+ student syndrome for a good four generations. (Click the link for a brilliant discussion on the Of-the-Essence blog.) Most of my close friends are first-generation college students. Certainly both my mentors and my proteges were.
I’m rereading NaNoFeed posts past, and I see the poisonous workings of perfectionism. Achieve 5000 words in a day? Not good enough; 10,000 is the new goal. You will never be good enough, the Demon of Perfectionism whispers. Your work will never be good enough.
So this November I’m taking on two challenges: one, to write with just enough of a safety net (aka outline) to feel as if there’s ground under my feet; the other, to edit past work and get it out there. Even when I can do the first draft, perfectionism can get in the way of the second.
Under all that: strive resolutely to be merely human.