For those of you who are somehow unaware, last week was the United States Presidential election.
To say that this election cycle was stressful would be an understatement. For many of us, the candidates were uninspiring at best, and the stuff of dystopian nightmares at worst. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, many of us filled out our ballots unenthusiastically, but with hopes that things would get better. But then, the counting began.
Last week an entire nation watched election maps with bated breathes.
Thanks to electric voting boxes, past election results were counted and confirmed swiftly, but the large number of mail-in ballots meant slower results. The nearly neck-and-neck numbers kept us all on edge. For many marginalized people in the United States, the results of this election would greatly impact their rights, their safety, and their lives. For the rest of us, the results would be a matter of pride and integrity in our Nation’s character. Leading up to the election tensions were already high. Both sides were preparing for violence and revolt, that largely resulted in a battle of memes.
My anxiety spiraled and my writing suffered.
I’ll admit, I already failed my writing goal this month, largely because I hadn’t counted on the election dragging out as long as it did. Instead of relaxing and settling into my writing routine, I found myself reaching for my phone to check on the newest reported numbers. Every morning as I woke up, and each night before I went back to sleep, I was checking the percentages. Somehow all the election anxiety got mixed up in my writing, and I found myself writing almost allegorically about politics instead of about the haunted house as I intended to do.
Writing is a habit that’s easily broken.
Writing, much like exercise routines, is an easily broken habit. Unlike exercise routines though, writing cannot be done mindlessly, meaning that you cannot expect to let your mind wander as you complete a set hour. While I can journal and jot down ideas when I’m overwhelmed, actually writing a cohesive story is difficult, if not impossible. When I write to escape, I have no control over my destination. This means that set writing goals do not get accomplished.
Am I going to clean up this writing mess?
That is my intention, but it is still as loose as my initial goal. The election may be officially over, but unfortunately, the stress of 2020 isn’t gone. I still plan to continue working on my stories and editing the for publication. I have not abandoned this goal and know that it will not happen if I don’t keep at it. I will not, however, place my dreams above my health, or pursue my goals at the cost of my mental well-being. Cleaning up my writing goal mess is something I know I can do, even if I have to take it slower than I normally would.