The tasks accuse me, my guilt rising as I enter the various rooms of the house: quilt squares to sew, music to practice and orchestrate, masks to sew, blogs to write, cupboards to clean, photos to scan, phone calls to make, etc. etc. etc. And so I do nothing, retreating to my room with a book or Netflix.
Reassuringly, the author of The Artist’s Way describes my reaction not as laziness or even as procrastination but as blocked creativity. Okay, that sounds much more forgiving. Perhaps the dam’s rusty gates need only oil and a nudge, because as soon as I prod myself to begin the first steps, ideas flow and I find myself energized once again.
What is so hard about beginning a task? I have learned to break formidable chores into small increments, the initial step being the critical dam breaker. Today it was simply to determine which key a friend of mine had recorded her music in so that I could transpose to a workable file. Following time to problem solve, it took only minutes to complete the job leaving me relaxed and ready to confront the next step which, thankfully, requires more creativity than frustration.
Oh my, during this COVID-19 sheltering I am taxed with learning new skills. Excepting physical challenges, I have always been willing to try the difficult, treating the development of ideas as mind games. The difficulty is in self-learning. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for not coddling us, for expecting us to figure it out on our own. I am amazed at people who give up mastering a new skill when facing a slight obstacle.
A friend once described me as “persistent”, an adjective which surprised me. But now I see it: I am determined to complete a task, learn a skill, perhaps not to mastery, but to a point at which I know I could eventually master it. Sometimes I progress to a new level, other times I accept that the task is not worth the anguish. Either way, I come out ahead.