I don't have those days very often.
I'm stubborn, determined, and more persistent than my cat when he wants me to pay attention to him instead of whatever it is I'm working on. I've always been this way, and that's always been a good thing. That drive and the perfectionist tendencies behind it has helped me push through a lot to get me where I am today.
I finished high school on time because of that drive.
I graduated from college. I completed my graduate degree.
I wrote my first novel, and my second, and third, and fourth.
I'm a stubborn perfectionist, and I've always been okay with that.
Today, however, I've found myself questioning why I bother. At first, I wasn't even sure where that little niggling voice of doubt came from. I wrote two chapters today, and I think they're pretty good. I heard from a reader who loved the last book.
But I just haven't felt good enough today.
And then I realized why.
So many authors are fabulous at juggling a full plate. They work, raise kids, write, and do a thousand other things at once. I'm not one of those authors. When I'm working on something, I focus solely on that to the exclusion of pretty much all else. I expect perfection from myself, and I'm willing to put in the work to make it happen.
But at what cost?
My days are full of a mentally exhausting day job.
My nights are full of writing and other responsibilities.
I'm out of the loop on everything. My house is a mess. My DVR is full of shows I haven't had time to watch in months. My friends feel neglected. My husband forgot what a home cooked meal tasted like. I've seen my family twice in the last few months.
None of those are necessarily a big deal on their own... but at some point, those small things add up to big things. And those little things have piled quite high in recent months.
I may be capable of a lot, but I'm just not good at keeping so many balls in the air at once. And today, I found myself realizing how much I miss out on as a result. I don't have close relationships with a lot of other authors. I'm lucky if I update my author Facebook once a day, or drop in and post a random tweet. I don't know my readers like I want to know them, simply because I spend far too much time in pursuit of something that's not realistic: perfection in all things.
Writing was easy when it was just me and a notebook. It's not so easy when it's me, a notebook, and a whole lot of people I don't want to disappoint. I'm more careful with my words, and that means I spend more time writing and less time socializing. I barely know people I once talked with all the time.
That makes me sad.
That doesn't mean I want to give up on writing, because I don't. I couldn't even if I wanted to do so, simply because writing is so much a part of me. I need to write like my Border Collie needs human interaction. It's necessary to my survival. But today... I found myself questioning if I was good enough because I don't think it should be this hard to find a balance.
I hate asking myself that question.
I hate even more that it was necessary.
It's time to stop being a perfectionist, step out of the cave, and start being human.