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  • Writer's pictureJessica McQuistin

The Struggle (to Switch Gears) Is Real

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

Are you good at switching tasks? One of the things blogging has taught me about myself is that I do not like to stop writing once I get going, especially when I really get into a good flow.

Creativity is a mysterious, elusive force that runs through me like water. It ranges from a slow drip to a raging river and its strength seems completely out of my control! (Is there a tap somewhere for this thing?!) My block of writing time, on the other hand, is much more stable and predictable and limited by how long my kids can manage on their own. It can take a while for me to get going, so it's frustrating to have to stop before I've gotten all of my ideas out. Sometimes I find myself in a fog of unwritten phrases that are desperately clinging to my awareness so as not to be blown into oblivion before my next blogging time. Even though I've physically moved on with my day, I can't mentally let go of what I've stirred up. I've felt guilty about this, as it has prevented me from giving my kids (or anything or anyone else) my full attention. One day I wrote this silly little poem:

One More Minute

All hopped up on coffee & creative juices

looking for excuses

to get one last word in

before I lose it

Now I'm overflowing

It took so long to get going

But the kids need me now

They've been patient long enough

so time to put a cork in it

and unplug


Is this what it's like

when I tell them

it's time to clean up?

In case you're wondering, I don't think this is "good" poetry. Not at all. To be honest, it sounds a bit like bad rap to me; but it was a way for me to express what I was experiencing, and this itself brought me joy. So I'm sharing this, hoping it inspires you to write some not-necessarily-good poetry too. Go ahead - I dare you!

Poetry aside, I did receive some excellent advice from Danette Adams, who taught a meditation course at The Branches (my yoga studio). She suggested that I verbalize this experience the next time I notice it happening. Several weeks later, when my blog time sadly reached its inevitable end, I said something like this to my kids:

"I like writing so much, I'm having a hard time stopping! But you know what helps? When I put my computer away upstairs and tell myself that it's done for the day. I'm going to go do that now. Then I can make us a snack."

I was surprised to hear those words come out of my mouth so smoothly, but then I remembered the conversation with Danette and thought, I actually used her advice! And it did help tremendously to acknowledge the struggle I was having. I'm human after all, so I don't turn off as easily as a machine, especially when I'm doing something I love. Articulating this helped me to see it with less self-judgment, and come up with a strategy to mindfully switch gears as best I could.

How do you handle transitions? Do you struggle with guilt when you're not able to give someone your full attention? I'd love to hear your experiences with this! I still have a lot to learn.

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