Tuesday, December 8

Grace in Small Things #26

Today I picked up Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics again. I've been reading it off and on over the last 3 weeks and that's okay. One of the important things I've been learning is that recovery is a slow process. It doesn't happen over night -- however much I'd like it to.

I'm getting better at recognizing "all or nothing" thinking, feelings and behavior. I might have rushed through this book 20 years ago and it took a lot for me to slow down and digest things more carefully. When I slow down, I can catch the thoughts and feelings easier. Like: I get all this, it makes sense, I should be able to move on now but I can't so what's wrong? *Nothing* is wrong. It's okay for this to take time.

The other day, when I was feeling stressed and trapped about doing an entry I was able to identify the old all or nothing thinking. I had to get it done in a certain way by a certain time or ... what? I'm a failure? No, not hardly!

Today I got a better understanding of "chunking". A few GiSTs ago, I'd mentioned this all or nothing thinking and how it blocked me from writing. I made a goal of writing creatively every day for a half hour. I haven't always met that goal and put a finger on the feeling--see? FAIL again. But *no*. I don't have to be perfect. Some days it's just not gonna happen because "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans"--i.e. when you have a goal to write on a story a half hour a day.

So ... I'll rework the writing thing by "chunking" it. That means I'll break it down into steps. It goes like this:

1. Set the goal, which is to write a complete story. Done, yay!
2. Pick a topic. This one will be autobiographical in nature. Done, yay!
3. Make a loose outline.
4. Write memories & anecdotes
5. Put the memories/anecdotes in order so that they fit the outline
6. Flesh it out
7. Go back and read what I've got & edit it
8. Start rewriting
9. Finish rewriting it
10. Give it a title

Once I get up to 10, making sure to pat myself on the back at each step, then I can plan the next series of steps--what do I want to do next with the story? So this "chunking" accomplishes a couple of things. It helps me get to where I want to be and it helps reduce this "all perfect or all wrong" kind of thinking.

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