Random Thoughts: The Fighting a Friday Funk Edition

It’s been a rough week, and I caught myself nearly crying in my car this morning as I drove to work. Nothing terrible has happened, but I’ve got the blues. I am feeling very helpless in my ability to affect my life to get on with better things. I feel heavy-hearted.

Plus, I am tired. I’m tired because I’m sad; I’m sad because I am tired. It’s a vicious cycle.

I’m tired because I’m going to bed too late, and I’m going to bed too late in the service of a worthwhile project (NaNoWriMo), so that’s not going to change anytime soon.

It’s toward the end of the day, and I’m on the cusp of Thanksgiving vacation, so let’s talk about some things that are helping me not go into the bathroom and cry.

1. It’s my father’s 70th birthday today. I called him from the car while we were waiting for Kate’s bus, and she sang happy birthday for him. Michael also wished him a happy birthday, but more quietly than Kate. I hope it kicked off his day right.

He’s a good dad. I’m glad he’s 70. I hope to make many more happy birthday phone calls to him.

Dad, Kate, Mom
My dad (plus Kate and my mom). He’s a good egg.

2. I am going to this event tonight to meet some fellow Pittsburgh bloggers and have a beer. If you’re bored, you should come on out.

3. A visit to my chiropractor made me feel physically quite a bit better. Vintage Black Keys on the ride back to the office on this sunny day helped too.

4. I do have a long vacation coming up shortly. We will be leaving for North Carolina on Sunday. Let’s hope a week of writing, rest, and family and food helps lift me out of my funk. Bonus: New baby snuggles.

5. I truly do have the best husband in the world (for me). He texted earlier today, insistent that I go see Mockingjay tomorrow with my friends. I still don’t know if it’ll happen — I’ve got writing to do, plus I’d like to get in a workout, cleaning, and packing so we can hit the road early on Sunday. PLUS: New hairs Saturday night. Oh, and Mass. But how funny is it that my husband basically has to force me to go have fun. He’s such a jerk.

Dan and Michael
Dan snuggled up with M in the woods last year. Look at what a jerk he is!

6. I have one little niggling worry about next week, and it’s the fact that I have to find a place and steal the time to write. I know that Dan has my back.

Mom and Dad, I hope you will understand too. I figure I’ll do it early, with coffee, and be done early.

It’s pretty serious. It means a lot to me. I’m finally writing a book!

What gets you out of a funk?

The 8 Things I Learned During #30DaysofJournaling

1. I like writing every day. Even when I had to do it at the end of a long day, I appreciated the exercise, the discipline. It was in some ways a low-pressure exercise as well because I wasn’t racking my brain to come up with something to write about. The prompt was waiting for me in my email. It was akin to having a meal plan — it’s not stressful to journal when you have something that’s going to help you fill up a blank page.

2. I like writing something that is just for me. It’s possible that one or two or five entries from my journal will make it onto my blog as posts. It’s also possible that one or two or five entries will be turned into poems that will get around to workshops when I start doing that again. But in the meantime, the primary reason I decided to participate in 30 Days of Journaling was to just write for me.

Nearly all of what I produce in writing is seen, edited, commented on, consumed, judged. And that’s fine; I’m a writer, and that comes with the territory. But writing in a journal is a different way to write — it’s just writing. Whatever comes into my head comes out onto the paper. I can write things I would never say and never put out there for public consumption. It was very refreshing to write that way again. It’s been years since I wrote like that.

3. I like writing on paper with a nice pen. I have two very nice fountain pens, both of which were given to me by my husband. They turn journaling into a sensual exercise. Plus, the journals I purchased for this exercise were pretty! (I filled one and a half.)

Journal One.
Journal One.

4. It’s okay to feel while writing and let those feelings inform the writing. I was cranky sometimes, and let myself be cranky. One of the prompts had me crying afterward. Most left me in a meditative or thoughtful mood, but some of them sparked something deeper. It was an exercise in letting the feelings happen and even writing more because of them.

5. Grief, man. This 30-day exercise reminded me once more that it’s never ending.

6. The book that changed my husband’s life is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Which also, oddly enough, ended up on my “Books I want to read…” list.

7. I still got it, baby.

Which is to say: I still have an internal life. I still have a life worth examining in quiet space and writing about in a conversation with myself.

Some days it seems easy to be lost. Being a full-time, out of the home, professional paid writer, and a full-time in-and-out-of-the-home mom to three busy kids, and being a good wife to boot, and the invisible work — cooking, cleaning, collecting laundry, teaching my children to do all of the above as well — sometimes the urge is to turn off my brain with a book or TV show.

So it’s been nice to see that even if it was only for 15 to 20 minutes a day, I could write about NONE of that overwhelming stuff.

8. I like writing every day. I like writing every day so much that I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) officially for the very first time. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to produce a novel (about 50,000 words) by writing Every. Single. Day. That’s about 1800 to 2000 words a day.

Which I discovered last night takes me about two hours. November will be interesting. And exhausting, probably. But I’ve had a novel rattling around in my head for a few years now (what writer doesn’t), and this is a good exercise and a good opportunity for me to GET IT OUT.

So I expect I will disappear from social media for a little bit. I am going to aim for posting here at least twice a week, but don’t hold me to that. When you realize you need to put 2000 words on a screen, you tend to want to hoard them.

Did you journal for 30 days in a row? Or NaNoWriMo/NaBloPoMo for a month? Tell me about it in the comments! Solidarity!