What I’m Taking Into April

Momentum, mostly: both the thing itself, and a better understanding of it.

In March I experienced the strange sort of joy that comes when you finally sit yourself down and get to work. In this case, I was doing all the paperwork that goes into our income tax returns.

This lily has been working overtime on growing, and I appreciate it.

It’s a lot of paper (and electronic documents, which oddly still feel like paper), what with weird pandemic payouts and changes (or not) in two countries’ tax codes.

Truthfully, it’s not THAT big a deal. I’m not researching obscure legal precedents or creating something from scratch; I’m basically filling out forms and passing them along to others who fill out other, official forms. Eventually, money will change hands.

However, it IS a job that always looms large in my imagination. Through the years, I have ruined many a sunny-winter-morning-with-coffee moment when I realize, “Ugh, the TAXES—I need to get on those.”

But this year, I Niked: meaning, I just did it. And amazingly, every day I worked at it, the job actually got smaller.* In fact, I started early enough in the year that I could have worked fewer hours at a more relaxed pace (yes, on more days) and still been done in record (for me) time.

But I didn’t. Once I got going, I wanted to keep going. So I did, and after a couple of focused weeks, I pulled most of it together and sent it to our accountant.

I felt pretty good—proud of myself—about finishing before the last minute. I let myself enjoy that feeling and I recognized that I want to keep feeling it.

Not necessarily that I want to work on one thing at a time, and certainly not that I want to work on spreadsheets eight hours a day for an extended period of time.

But the pride, the feeling of accomplishment—that. Completing something. Doing good work.**

As a result, I’ve also done the side jobs that arise as part of the whole “annual tax” task. (As the returns are filed, we will have more logistics: payments and uploads and papers to pick up. I am aware of this but remain undaunted by it.)

AND I’ve started a deep edit (not my manuscript) that has loomed large. AND I’ve drafted that essay that’s been rattling around in my brain for a month or so, which may not go anywhere but needed to be drafted.

And also treats: I’m still reminding myself of the ones I’ve mentioned already this year—my bulb-in-a-pot lily has grown a flower and is a special joy, and there’s some banana bread in the freezer. But this whole momentum thing may be the best treat of all.



* What does it say about being a writer that when you work at something, the job remaining seems to grow? Not just the good kind of growth, as in “more words” or “more story figured out,” but also the daunting feeling that this job is turning out to be even more complicated than you’d imagined. The feelings of “the next draft is sure going to take a whole lot of shaping” and “I’m going to need to research this a LOT more,” and “is this even going anywhere?”

Or maybe that’s just me?

** Yes, I'm also aware that feeling proud of good work maybe shouldn't feel as rare as it apparently does, and I'm ALSO-also aware that saying aloud that I've done good work is something I could also do more, speaking of things that feel daunting.