Sunday, July 21, 2013

How Many Hats Can a Person Wear?

I often feel like I'm in one of those crazy one-woman stage shows, the ones with elaborate costume changes and monologue-dialogue-entire conversations with myself, and sometimes the house is packed, and sometimes it's just the bleak sinkhole of an empty auditorium.

Suffice to say, I wear a lot of hats. I've become a quick-change artist, shifting between the different roles constantly; in fact, my daily to-do list is structured around the idea that I can only take so much of any one role for so long, and have to keep cycling through them to keep my energy level high. So here are just a few of the hats I'm constantly juggling:

  • Author (with many subhats, like Book 1 I'm Drafting, Book 2 I'm Drafting, Book I'm Editing, Book I'm Brainstorming/Researching, Book I'm Promoting, and so on and so forth!)
  • Editor (Editorial Assistant with Spencer Hill Press; editor/beta reader for friends' mss)
  • Worker Drone (subhats: foreign affairs wonk, translator, writer, working group coordinator--perhaps the toughest hast for an introvert to wear!)
  • Grad School Student
  • Goth-Rock Martha Stewart (subhats: Girlfriend, Sheltie Mommy, Board Game Night hostess, Master Mixologist, she of the healthy meal preparation, she of the "we are all going to exercise together dammit" whip-cracking, and lately, High Priestess of Rounding Up the Sacrificial Virgins and Faustian Pacts to finalize our first home purchase)
  • Worthless Lazeabout (subhats: binge-watching trashy paranormal "reality" shows, plowing through my never-diminishing stack of books to read, and assorted video game dorkery)
  • Cheerleader/Ass-Kicker for My Writer Friends
Whew . . . I got a little exhausted just thinking about it all!

But to touch on what Danielle said, far more artfully than me, it is exhilarating and fulfilling and just such an honor to live such a rich life. It's also occasionally draining and vexing--I never get that wonder day-after-the-last-final-exam feeling, and my working memory is totally shredded. (Thank goodness for my ubiquitous notebook, aka, the real brains of this operation.)

Still, cycling through all the hats works wonders for keeping me engaged and focused. If I get stuck on one task, I switch to the next. If I feel my attention straying, I can swap to something else to keep my excitement fresh. The brain is an amazing creature, and it always amazes me what problems my subconscious will solve for me when I've distracted my conscious mind with something else!

How do you juggle your hats? Do you have to tackle one task at a time until it's done, or can you alternate?
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  1. Girl, if I wore as many hats as you, I'd topple over. More power to you. I get stressed if I just have to cook dinner and bathe the kids.

  2. The dizziness from reading about your MANY hats aside, I have to say I just LOVE Jayne and his hat! In fact, I'm actually looking up knitting patterns right now to make one ;)