Blog No. 114
It’s been three weeks into the new year and I’m finding that old habits die hard. For some things, like this blog, that’s good. I don’t have a ton to write about, but here I am writing it. For working on the second draft of the edits, and restarting the novel, that’s bad. I can say that I have gotten some done, but it’s at the iffy level of writing how I ended the year. Really, that’s not too bad. A chunk of my time (both then and now) gets eaten up with editing, posting, correspondences, facebook, twitter, ello, and other social media promotion, Zine layout, meetings with other groups, physical social attendances, and so on. It can get busy, and it does get in the way, but without that stuff, I’d be writing in a vacuum with no growth, feedback, or clear method for publication. Though, last year at this time, I was in the thick of it (it being writing). I was going out to cafes in the cold evenings after work, writing for a few hours, then going home to get to the logistical stuff. It didn’t last, but it started.
I have given motivation away for habit, but how do you start a habit without motivation? Part of my wavering is having too many directions to go. I am starting the novel again, Christian and I are trying to get ahead on Adventure Worlds, we have the collection to edit and rewrite, I’ve already started the next Zine (so we can give our fantastic volunteer artists more concrete information), I have this blog, and I have editing for other groups. I honestly enjoy the majority of those things, but it’s all work, and work, plus my job, plus my laziness, equals spinning wheels and lack of overall productivity. Things are moving forward, but not at the pace I want. I am working hard, but not as hard as I would like. I am taking advantage of my vast amount of free time, but not as much as I should be. It’s a classic case of something, but I don’t care to look up the term.
The solution is easy. I’ve had two years of trial and error to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. I have to use willpower, guilt, and structure to kick start my productivity. I have to look beyond the act of sitting at a desk, to see where else I need to be motivated in my life (mainly working out, which really does help with focus and stamina). The solution is to simply sit down with my headphones on and work. When I feel distracted I have to go somewhere else to work. I have to suspend breaks, games, and netflix for when I’m done what I scheduled for the day. I have to get the boulder rolling with my force of conviction and let the gravity of habit pull it down the hill. Something, something, Sisyphus. There are plenty of people around me, friends and colleagues, who are willing to be supportive, are going through similar things, and want to see me succeed, which is great and helpful. I want to take advantage of those, but it all comes down to me doing the things and making the grade, etc. As my parents used to say, “I can put the pencil in your hand, but I can’t make you write.”
So, that’s what my next few weeks are about. Hitching up my boots, forging ahead, doing my duty, getting back to the dedication of last January before it all fell apart at the end of February. Only this time keeping it going until mid March, at least.
5 thoughts on “Blogy, Blog, Blog.”
You’re just like the rest of us – same confusion, same chaos, same too much to do – too little time. Don’t sweat it – do what you can, when you can. I guess the fact it’s never really finished – being a writer is ongoing – makes it a little like breathing. Just keep writing.
This is the third time in three years I’ve posted something like this. I think no matter how much better I do, I’ll always want to do better. Baby steps, get in the elevator.
You need to realize – you ARE doing better every time you write. Remember everything starts as a first draft. Once its on paper, you can start to build on it. You cannot be your own critic – you’ll drive yourself crazy. When I can’t decide if something works – I shove it into drawer and walk away. Wait at least overnight and then read it out loud. This approach allows you a more subjective view of what you wrote. Baby steps!
Ben, 114 that is freaking awesome. I am so proud that you have gone from the stage of ‘One Day’ to ‘This is the day’ in the life of a writer, I am feeling that burn coming on very strong myself, I have a little ways, but I know I am going to get there, and stand side by side with you and Christian letting the words just freestyle out of my head onto the page. Your ability to multitask with so many different avenues is amazing and inspiring, you are doing amazing my friend. JC
Thanks Justin. I has been a long, hard, climb, and there is still a long way to go. I can’t wait until you are here too.