Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Would you rather stare down self-defeat or clean the oven?

An incredibly clean oven at Chez Manning

Do you have days when you realize you've achieved nothing. Zip. My ‘to do’ list sits forlornly on the counter top with not one thing crossed off. This is me. Pretty much every day. I look at my list and there’s thirty-three things on it. Why? Even if I could whip up a cloning machine and have seven useless copies of me running around, I couldn't cross off thirty-three things unless all of them said, ‘cross this off.’ One of the things I didn’t achieve today is ‘get cat food.’ Any minute now my ears are going to be assaulted by the wails of a cat who is going to go into cardiac arrest unless I feed him right now.

I've decided to go a bit Freud on myself. Stand back, it could get uglier than me trying to eat  peas (those things are evil and were put on this planet to taunt me). I called up my version of Sigmund and Sigmunded myself (that’s an awesome name, is Sigmund,) and talked to myself for ten seconds before I got bored. I came to the crashing conclusion that I’m a self-defeatist. I can defeat myself into anything. I could put it down to coming from a family where you only called attention to yourself if you were on fire, had a bone sticking out – and it had to be a femur, or a strange man wearing a trench-coat was chasing me offering up sweets if I’d help him look for his lost puppy. But I can’t blame my upbringing. Sigmund said non in a cool French accent. No, the sad truth is I always think I’ll fall flat on my face or will look ridiculous or will fail so I don’t try. Okay, so the session with Siggie went on for a bit longer and we're now besties, hence the name Siggie. So, instead of making myself write ten pages of my current WIP, I tell myself it will be so woeful and bad that I’ll come to the crashing conclusion that I’m a terrible writer and I should have abandoned this years ago and taken up composting. Take my blog. I literally stare at my computer every Monday, determined to write something awesome only to run from the room to clean the self-cleaning oven.


I've decided I need to beat down the demons in my brain and get out there and make myself do things. Like this blog. I’m going to post regularly and I will most likely bore my three followers including Uncle Lennie (Hey Len! How’s the pumpkin growing going?) but I am going to post regularly and I am going to make myself write every single day. I have to because Siggie said it’s the only way to defeat the demons.

Do you have any tips for a serial self-defeatist to break the cycle? I’d appreciate any before I go and clean the oven. Again.

 Philbert the cat who does not take politely to being denied food. 


  1. Yay! More Hayson Manning whit! You and I could be related, I swear. Goodness. Anyway, (My editor hates how much I love the word anyway...) I would suggest some yogi teachings on contentment, and then a nice yoga class, followed by some hot tea.

    1. The lovely T.M! Wonderful to see you. Thanks for dropping by. I'm as bendy as a pretzel and me in clingy clothes? I think I'd make people hurl. I like tea though. A lot.l Maybe I need to add some Zinger tea in the morning.

  2. Not sure I have tips, cos I think I'm right there with you. if I don't try to hard I can't fail too hard. But surely your success is a good place to begin. And there's always alcohol and chocolate...

    1. Ah... Alcohol and chocolate. The staples of my life.

  3. Hey Hayson,
    I have a couple of tips - I never write To Do lists, then you can't beat yourself up for not crossing things off :)

    And with my blog, I came up with a broad heading and I do a post to fill it each week. Story Sunday was the first one - so each Sunday is a post about story - either my writing, something I've read, something I'm musing over. It's a broad enough heading you can ramble about anything :) And it's pretty fun and easy to talk about writing or books. If I didn't do this, I'd do nothing.

    So that's my tips for getting me doing things and stopping me beating myself up for not doing things - and I don't even have a clean over to show for it! Nor do I have kids or cats to run around after.

    Good luck!

    Cath xox

    PS That's 3 of us commented already - and no Uncle Lennie yet!!

    1. Catherine.
      You of course are a wise woman. I like your idea of something I'm musing over. Does gifting my kids to unsuspecting people with the promise of gift cards work?

      Uncle Lennie! Where are you?

  4. Hayson, my let’s-run-away-to-Tonga-and-drink-frosty-adult-beverages-on-the-beach, partner,

    I have written this very blog post at least three times. I call it the “re-rededication post.” It should be called the “let me dump some more crap on my plate,” or the “let me see how badly I can mess with my ADHD” post. The results are always the same. I feel bad, but instead of writing, I do something else and feel like a blogging failure.

    I do not offer advice, because you have Siggie for that. He IS a professional, after all. I will offer a possible paradigm shift.

    NOT doing something IS doing something.

    Let that sink in for a moment. In the meantime, enjoy the sparkly luster generated by your newly sanitized oven. Ah. So shiny. Pretty.

    Philbert…FANTATIC name, by the way. I picture him wearing a waistcoat and monocle sipping a Brandy Alexander…but I digress. Philbert, may be busily pounding away his own “I am being held under inhumane conditions, and forcibly starved, in this gulag,” blog post, but he’s a cat. It’s expected. He will sigh and roll his cat eyes in disdain, but he will live until tomorrow. His food supply will be replenished, along with the “guilt treats,” that I know you will get him. I know this. I am also a pet parent. We spoil. It’s what we do.

    So, about this pesky “making yourself write” business. Listen closely.

    You, my friend, are a writer. An outstanding one. Your words speak to people. This is NOT compliment. It is a fact. You are also a Mom and wife. You are a perfectionist and a Superwoman.

    Sheesh, I’m exhausted just writing this. I will tell you what you have heard before, but may not be applying to your blog.

    Write what you know.

    It may only be a few sentences about how you cleaned whatever room happened to be in your path, at the time. Write about it. These were my enlightening thoughts today: Brilliant, right?

    Blogging, is a skill that must be exercised. There is a give and take between the blogger AND her followers. There needs to be a symbiotic relationship, in order for it to work. So, you only have half the responsibility. A response by your followers, resulting in a CONVERSATION, is the other half.

    See, how I justified the hell out that? Thank you, ADHD.

    Here’s my suggestion: do what you did tonight, and that is, post on your Facebook page that you have a blog post. Then, we, your minions, will stop by and give you a little love. My only condition is that you then, stop by MY blog and do the same for me.


    Love, peace and hair grease, (a little Don Cornelius funk for the kids),


    1. My Michelle,

      I have booked our tickets and we will be winging our way to Tonga. Just you and me girl, plus margaritas. I need me some Michelle time. OMG please don't say you're a blogging failure. Ever! Your blogs are awesome. I love them. You're so full of smarts< I am in awe.

      Oh, no, no Superwoman here. I wish. I'd quite like her invisible plane for a start. I'm the woman who thinks cereal and peanut sandwiches for dinner is acceptable. Baked beans out of the can? Awesome.

      And as for support? Absolutely. You have me for life. Word!

      Love and margarita hugs back at you, my lovely!

      Hayson xx

    2. I see a "I'm not Superwoman, but I really like her stuff" post in your future, Hayson, my love.

      As long as the family is getting something to eat you're fine. Breakfast foods for dinner is a winner in my book, every week, in fact. Beans are a delicious, healthy, source of protein. Eaten directly out of the can is "green."

      Chocolate and alcohol for all!

  5. Lovely Hayson,

    If you enjoy blogging, then blog-on sister friend, because I love to read anything you write. I GET you and you always make me laugh. But if the weekly blog is just one more thing on an overloaded to-do pile, I submit to you that it is more important to write what's captivating your heart and imagination, when the energy, (and the advance), moves you, than to put another weekly burden on yourself. Nobody lies in their deathbed and says, "I wish I would have blogged more," and nobody lies in their deathbed and says, "I wish I would have read more blogs." But I think far too many people say, "I wish I would have lived more." (Also, it is possible nobody "lies" in their deathbed at all, but rather, "lays" in their deathbed? I really need to learn the lay/lie rule).

    Also, I don't want to freak you out here, but are you sure that's a cat? ;)

    1. I hear ya, my sister Sam. I take on too many things then epic fail at them all. But I love getting comments from you. Makes my universe complete. You are totally right about the deathbed comment. I would hate that my last breath would be about blogging or cyberspace.

      You know I live with sloths right? Even the cat is linked in.