Brain Freeze

This weekend was full, but not with all my favorite things. Friday night I celebrated a girlfriend’s birthday and went to a swanky steak place, consumed caviar, nice wine and had a good time. Saturday AM, I had a league tennis match and before I even got there, I was convinced I was going to get beat. My opponent had the reputation of being over skilled in our group and had beaten everyone. To my total surprise, I played my best tennis and beat her. Pretty cool.

That afternoon I had marked out time to work on my book proposal. My proposal has been finished for months and my agent has been working the field, pitching away. I’ve gotten two bites back and a request based on a the publisher’s feedback. Simple enough, right? Starting point, feedback, tweak up and send back. A nice orderly way to manage my Saturday. Well it didn’t quite look like that. By 6PM I had transformed into a non thinking, sleepy, procrastinating zombie. Then stress was entering my head because I knew I also had other things to do before Monday. I was making no progress on anything. My conclusion: I needed some new black shoes. So I hit the stores. Nothing called out and said “Buy me, Buy me”.  Another thought entered my mind, Sushi and Saki – now there’s a nice combination! And I have my notebook and file with me. I’ll eat, drink and work. Well I did the first two, drove home and passed out. Missed Saturday night live, damn it!

Sunday morning arrives along with a mammoth, too much, Saki headache from the night before. For the next few hours I scribbled nonsense, napped, had a nightmare, watched football and procrastinated even more. This was so unlike me. The weekends are my best creative output time. I’m usually a machine.

My logical alias checked in. He whispered, “You are scared, Karen. Scared you may come up with a brilliant new twist for the book proposal, the publisher will hire you and then you will have a giant deadline. Or you won’t come up with JACK and you’ll get rejected.” It’s all bad. So is drinking poison, which was not even on the list and just as unlikely.

It’s 4:15 and my local Tampa Bay Bucs are playing on the radio. TV was blacked out. That makes my cranky too. But, I can burn through another couple hours of fear and fuel my procrastination even more.

It’s past 8pm, the Bucs lost 28, 24 and I have not written one darn word or even had a half of a thought of genius. It’s cat nap time, again. I set my iphone for 20 minutes. I will rest, from all the hard labor I did today, wake up and then write.

I opened my computer and within a couple of hours, drafted a discussion document about an expanded approach to my book proposal, wrote a short blog, sent 10 new business emails out for speaking gigs and went to bed. Phew, got through it! It should not have been so painful. I suppose next time my brain freezes I will go exercise, that usually works well for me, but this weekend my funk wasn’t liking much exercise other than looking for the remote control.

Today I feel like new person, maybe because the document was off my plate for a few days. I was venting to one my colleagues about my brain freeze and procrastination, guilt and stress and she sent me this excellent article on high-level creative thinking. It’s worth the read and I will try the advice next weekend. Thank you Lauren!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this on going challenge I had this weekend. What’s your story?