The Mystery of What to Do When I Don't Know What To Do

Laundry, usually. That’s the truth. I usually turn to laundry when I’m at a loss. In fact, I just sat down from starting a load that could have waited a few days, and it’s a strange comfort to know that I’ll have to get up in a while to put the load in the dryer. Ugh.

Or email. Yes, that’s a good diversion. I have to check out that bedding on sale at Joss and Main or see what today’s deals are on Amazon, right? I wouldn’t want to miss anything crucial to my life.

But, my inbox is empty right now. Ugh.

The day’s been a chaotic windstorm of thoughts. I’ve been trying to write blurbs, shoutouts, blogs, and tweets, all while mapping out two different plots in the works. I’ve got five or six windows up, several things started, but going nowhere fast. As soon as I have one coherent thought on one thing, a million other thoughts (of the useless variety) stream in and muddle up the progress.

I keep thinking, if I could just focus on X then I could get X done. But all the letters jumble together. My thoughts scatter like leaves in wind-circles. It’s fun to watch, but it fizzles out to nothing in the end.

Then, I think, I could multitask and have several things going on at once. People do it all the time. But, honestly, that doesn’t work for me in the kitchen and sure as hell won’t work for me in writing either. Concentrated, focused efforts lead to good results. The rest is just mind-numbing starts and stops, nothing useful. I’m feeling a little schizophrenic. I can’t believe I spelled that right on the first try! Stream-of-consciousness writing is fun, isn’t it? At least for the writer, maybe not the reader.

Let me try to find my point again.

Oh, so what do I do? Rather, what SHOULD I do when I don’t know what to do? It's a mystery, but I think I can solve it.

It’d probably be useful to make a prioritized list and tackle the most important thing first. And if there’s no one most important thing, then decide what feels right at the moment. Like, I’m feeling this blog right now, but not the blurb I’m trying to write. I keep making weak, wordy attempts at the blurb, but the blog is flowing rather easily. Don’t go against the flow. Maybe it’s just not the day to write the blurb. Forced blurb-writing makes for terrible blurbs. And the last thing I want is a terrible blurb.

Oh, email.

Ugh, nothing good.

It may be time to try some mind-clearing exercises. A walk. Deep breathing. Meditation.

Yeah, that sounds good but the truth is more like TV, doing my toes, having a snack.

When I’m overrun with thoughts, it can help to jump off the track. Then, regroup and get back on.

Yeah, I’m going to go do my toes.

Ah, my feet feel much better. Look better, too. I went with electric blue polish for some pizazz.

Anyway, I didn’t have any great ideas or revelations whilst doing my toes, but for a few minutes, my thoughts weren’t on my lengthy to-do list or trying to describe a 250-page novel in less than 100 words. My thoughts were on my toes, and that was refreshing.

A prayer for clarity and focus also helps.

Talking out my writing issues with someone familiar with my work is another way to jumpstart writing energy.

Another useful option is to change stations. I love listening to Pandora stations when I work, but if I’m not feeling Today’s Adult Hits Radio then maybe I need to switch to Rap Strength Training Radio or Classical Radio. Maybe new music will spark new motivation.

Also changing locations can help. Maybe the desk just isn’t inspiring enough for me today. Moving my laptop outside on a lovely day might clear out the crazies. Or the coffee shop. Or the next room.

The last resort, of course, is giving myself a break. Maybe it’s not only a bad day for blurbing, but writing in general. We all have them. Maybe it’d be more beneficial for me to pick up a book or hang out with my family than force my fingers across the keys.

So, that’s what I really do and aspire to do when I don’t know what to do. Now, what should I do next - it's a mystery!