My anxious mind

So I’ve just come off a big writing job, pumping out over 14,000 words in a mere three weeks. When you’re working on a publication, in this case an entire magazine, it sucks being the writer because you’re the first one up to bat. Nothing happens until you deliver. The good part is, once you’re done, it’s somebody else’s ballgame to worry about.

By the way, you won’t find this on your supermarket newsstand. And it’s definitely not the kind of magazine you’ll find in your dentist’s office. It’s strictly a marketing piece that appears as a supplement in a business magazine. Still.

I’ve been doing this for a good number of years now, and every year I ask myself, “Why are you doing this again?” The “this” is not so much the actual task. It’s gotten better, though not necessarily easier, because at some point muscle (brain) memory kicks in and it’s a matter of harnessing it to take you across the home plate.


What I haven’t gotten a handle on is the mental anxiety that keeps me awake at night. I worry that I’ve become a grind of a writer, churning out the most unoriginal, mind-numbing copy. How many different ways can you write about pretty much the same things year after year? One of the things I try to do is not bore myself, because if I’m bored, you can bet the reader will be too. And when I can’t sleep, I do a lot of meditation to calm my nattering mind – clearing the decks, so to speak. Oddly enough, it’s at those moments of relaxing the mind that ideas start to flow.

I don’t delude myself that what I’m writing is literature. The magazine is utilitarian in that its purpose is to promote and sell a product wrapped around an idea – the building of a city.а It’s actually a pretty good gig as there aren’t that many new cities being built these days. Plus, I’ve been working with the folks who are the master developers of this particular city since before they broke ground, so in a way I feel like it’s my baby too.

Nevertheless, it’s an all-consuming grind that, thanks to my Muse, is finally over.а Now you know why I haven’t written a blog lately.

I did manage to eke this one out because (1) my writing group was scheduled to meet, (2) I hate not to at least make the effort to write something, and (3) I felt the need to do a purge so my brain could get a good airing and I could start to get some sleep again.

Here’s what I ended up writing for the group. It wasn’t what I set out to write, but it never is.


The Clock

As night pulls down the shades,

my body clock winds down like the

slow unspooling of a tightly wound

spring, its incessant ticking

annoying my mind which has

its own agenda.


Think of the clatter if

we were still in the golden days

of classical time pieces made up of

wheels and gears and pendulums.

Tick tock, tick tock.

To my mind, it sounds

more like a metronome,

keeping time with the hamster

going round and round in its

wheel of racing thoughts.


The clock in my hometown was brash,

bonging out every hour and half hour.

Once the daily racket of commerce

was put to bed, the clock would be

the featured soloist in the silence

of the town square.

Midnight takes a long time to ring

if you’re an insomniac.


The digital age is so much quieter

that surely, sleep should be easier with

a silent sentinel that only casts a

weirdly greenish glow as it

soundlessly marks the





while you twist and

toss and turn

on your brand new

state-of-the-art slumber

numbered bed

guaranteed to send you

sweetly into sleep.

I want my money back.


As all writers know, ours is a solitary calling, whether you’re writing the great American novel or just selling stuff.а And good or horrible, it’s all on you, baby.


Damn you, anxious mind.

Stop cringing in the corner

And come up for air.

ай Maya Leland 2014