#307: Slow Green Fireworks

Seed starters on a windowsill.
North La Salle, Detroit, MI

Weekends are for maintenance. I wrote that on an index card recently, and needed to skip last week’s letter to stay true to it. It was also a dreary day weather-wise – downright bleak – which I know is synonymous with dreary but feels an order of magnitude worse. What I’m trying to say is: I spent last Sunday mostly in bed.

But today! The sun’s out and our boulevard’s trees have finally popped, like slow green fireworks. Yesterday I finished a writeup about my current routine, but there were too many words for this newsletter so I’ve posted it on my website here. (There are still too many words, but maybe if you click through later in the week I’ll have added some photos too).

I want to call particular attention to my afternoons – which I’ve never quite been able to figure out even after eight years of working from home. The gist is this: I’m able to successfully block off time for morning work, but trying to do the same for my afternoons sends me into a guilt-procrastination spiral. So:

I’m experimenting right now with not scheduling anything, and working on whatever I’m moved to work on – removing any obligation I might feel to do more. I consciously know that the forty-hour workweek is nonsense (and you’ll find perennial internet think pieces about its nonsensicalness), but I still have to do some mental gymnastics to overcome the guilt […]

I go back and forth between needing structure and needing to rebel against structure. I want to show up every day because I know that’s how the novel gets written. But I also want to be spontaneous enough to work on what I’m moved to work on. Instead of blocking off more time for a specific project – adding another boundary – I’m trying to widen the gap between existing ones. That’s the hope, anyway, of my afternoon un-scheduling.

We’ll see how it goes. I plan to re-document my routine every once in a while. So next time around, you’ll know whether or not this practice has stuck.