Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Control Issues

I'm not a control freak. No really. I'm not. I have tendencies, yes, but there are a lot of things in my life that I have neither the need nor the desire to control. However...

There've been an inordinate number of Big Things(TM) this year that I cannot control, and it's starting to wear me down. The loss of two loved ones this spring was the biggie. The start of it. Now, fortunately, it's smaller things, but still, relatively speaking, fairly important stuff. I cannot control whether or not my latest manuscript will be accepted. I cannot control what edits I'll get back from the second proofer on another manuscript. (Although at least I know when that's happening.) I cannot control whether I'll get called for a show I'd really love to do. I cannot control the weather, which has been freakishly, horribly, mind-meltingly, record-shatteringly hot. I've been trying very hard to let go of all that stuff. The stuff that is officially Out of My Control. "Don't stress it if you can't fix it." "It's out of your hands." "Let it go." (I used to be so good at that in college.)

In an attempt to balance all that, I've been doing my damnedest to focus on the things I can control, and then controlling them. For example, I can control whether I sit on the sofa and watch three hours of NCIS every night, or whether I go to the gym or for a walk instead. I can control whether I eat pint after pint of ice cream in the damned heat, or chilled watermelon and peaches and all the other fabulous fruit available right now. (Usually it's a little of the former and a lot of the latter. I'm not made of steel; I do need my ice cream sometimes.)

And I can control my writing. Well, to some degree, at least.

I can control whether I write anything at all on any given day and for how long. I can control, to an extent, how much I write in a sitting and the content--although the characters sometimes have different ideas about that last part. At least I can usually stick to the basic genres I want. These are the things I'm trying to focus on. The things I can control, rather than the things I can't. Otherwise, I think this year would send me over the freakin' edge, you know?

So how about you? When life throws you a bunch of stuff that you just have to take, how do you cope or compensate for all the things that affect you but are beyond your control?


Amie said...

I tend to chain-smoke, eat, read or hide from the world entirely. Totally unhealthy but better than crying in the corner. I've had years like that, I just keep reminding myself that eventually things will go more or less back to normal and try to ride it out. The grief will lessen, work will calm down eventually and whoever is messing with your world will move on to someone else. This too shall pass. Sometimes you just have to endure.

Maia Strong said...

I, too, am not a fan of crying in a corner. Reading is good. I should be doing more of that.

Amie said...

I think it's not so much a matter of "controlling" as how to deal with so much stress. You can either choose to ___ OR you can just crack up. For me the hardest part is trying to make a coping mechanism *healthy* instead of self-destructive. Sounds like you cope in a very healthy way. So a big thumbs up and a pat on the back! I'm sorry that so much icky crap has been comming your way. My sympathies.

Maia Strong said...

Thanks, Amie! I think you're right that it's about how one deals with the stress. Right now, I choose to deal by controlling the little things. :) I'm not always so healthy about it, but it's working for me for the moment. ::knock on wood::

Amie said...

I wish you all the good luck and I hope things ease up soon.

Dunno if you want a shoulder to lean on or a place to vent a little... Sometimes an anonymous faceless stranger is easier than someone who is involved. (For me at least it is; sometimes less embarrassing too)

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