I had this amazingly inspiring dream the other night that got me all jazzed with story ideas, so I wrote it down. I loved these ideas; they troubled me and I wrestled with their implications and I loved them some more. It wove an intriguing and confronting outline for a story and I would love to see it done, and I would love to be the one to do it.
Just not right now.
I get really worked up about not doing things ‘when I have the energy’ for them, because so many times in my life I’ve passed up on doing things that I wished I’d tried later on in life. But there’s a danger in overcompensating for that and making too big of a deal out of doing things right away just because you’re afraid of missing out – some things really don’t need to be done right now this very moment, however much it seems like a spur-of-the-moment, admirably spontaneous thing to do. In fact sometimes it’s important that we don’t do those things, because they’re unconsidered, because they required a more responsible and level-headed approach to avoid becoming destructive or damaging.
Then there’s the flipside to this, and waiting too long to do things because, after all, one could just do them later, or there’s no energy for it right now and there’s no point in trying to force it, you know yourself after all and what you’re likely to do, and it gets to the point where in the five days you’ve given yourself to write this freaking research essay it’s taken three days to even come up with an essay question and now the bulk of the essay has to be done in two days instead of three or perhaps even four, the looking for relevant resources to serve as research for this research report and remembering how to use MLA citation, feeling so harassed by malevolent mass murder of time-crows that even though you’ve picked your question you have no idea what you actually need to be focusing on in order to direct said research and *breathe* it should be really easy in your head it’s so clear what the issue is what you’re drawn to with this topic you’ve chosen that’s why you chose it in the first place so then now why can’t you see anything but red when you try and think of what’s relevant what’s driving your interest what’s right there in front of you why won’t it come out in words YOU’RE A FREAKING WRITER WHY CAN’T YOU WRITE
And on these days, you know what really helps?
It helps to know that, yesterday, I got some Writing done. I drafted a bit more of my YA thing, and wrote about the lore and the way the powers work (don’t want to call it ‘magic’ because technically it’s alchemy but who am I kidding it’s all pretty much just magic) for about three hours and I had a ball, and AFTER all of that I sat down for five minutes and found my research question. Arguably I could have spent those three hours spent Writing doing research instead; but just as arguably it was only because I spent three hours actually doing something that I wanted to do that I had any energy to give to the research at all. The point is that I can look back at yesterday and genuinely be glad that I did something that I wanted to do, right then and there, and I got some important other stuff done as well.
Because, to be honest, the research stuff – yeah, I have trouble translating my interests and feelings into words, and into questions and keywords to type into a search engine to look for relevant academic resources. But I know that there’s a direction there. It is something that I care a lot about, and I refuse to believe that just because I can’t think of words to put it into right now it means that I don’t know what I’m on about. I’ve already got some resources already that are looking into what I’m trying to talk about. So that’s a good start.
I’m not skipping any more lectures to finish assignments, though. My reasoning is that I need to have some impetus to plan better, and something arbitrary like that will force adaptation and consideration rather than letting myself with a sigh of ‘oh I’ll just read the slides’. It doesn’t help, because the slides aren’t all that informative, especially with the stage 3 papers where you’re actually expected to be paying attention to what’s going on, which is fair enough. And I miss going to lectures anyway. It’s a quality of life thing. If worst comes to worst I can try taking notes at the same time as writing my essay during the lecture, but I somehow don’t think that would work.
The hardest thing is just doing this for me, not doing it for the tutors or the lecturers or for some idea of being good enough, of being worthy to do this. I’m doing it regardless of whether I’m good enough to do it, and the only thing keeping me from doing it well is worrying about not doing it well enough for somebody else. It’s a mindset that I’ve had pretty much my entire life, and it’s held me back in so many ways – not just from trying, but then for things I do try I feel defeated before I’ve even begun, trying to avoid disappointment – not my own, but somebody else’s. I got back some pretty unprofessional comments with that first assignment I got back, and if I can think of a way of bringing it up without getting really angry and making an idiot of myself, I will, because it’s just pathetic that we, as students, are expected to hold a certain degree of personal conduct and then our markers don’t follow through with it themselves. Ridiculous and hypocritical; something may well need to be said. And furthermore comments of that nature don’t actually serve as feedback. I don’t want to do the same if I do bring it up; I want to make a point and make it clearly and to the point. It’s stuff like this that makes me really reluctant to make an effort at all. But at the same time, it’s likely that they didn’t mean anything by it, and I’m all about giving feedback, so why not give some of my own? This would be one of those things that I’d regret not doing when I look back on it, too, so here’s a chance to head that off right away. And who knows – I may even learn something useful for the next assignment.
In the meantime, I have to get this bloody thing written. I have to go look for more resources, I have to consider what I find and use it to write about my question – really it seems like it’s not so much a matter of trying to write an essay so much as reviewing what’s already been said about a chosen topic. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but that’s how it feels.
And I’ll probably also finish the chapter of my YA thing that I started yesterday and then got sidetracked from with the world-building and writing of lore, which was a very enjoyable diversion. It even gave me some ideas for what could happen later on in the series; and yes, this is most definitely going to be a series, whether or not anybody reads it. This is a story that needs to be told in parts. It was so tempting to just rush ahead and write the scenes that came to mind – and really, that’s not a bad idea. I’m having the same urges with Tallulah as well; it doesn’t matter if I never use these scenes again, it matters that they’re there if I need them.
And I may do that right now, in fact. Yesterday, the only meaningful work that I got done with my essay happened when I was in a good mood from doing things I was glad I had taken the time to do. Sometimes it’s important to delay gratification, not to delay it, but because there are other things that need doing and have to take priority. But I’m not sure that this is one of those times. After all, if the work I end up doing is better, then what does it matter how long it takes?
So long as it’s all handed in by midnight tomorrow, that is. And I mean I wrote an A+ essay in six hours on the day it was due that one time. And this is my first semester back in a long time. Even if I don’t get this essay as right as I’d like, it’ll be handed in, and that’ll be the end of it.
Right after I drink this day-old water out of my Twilight bottle. It’s not really mine; it’s something my mother got from a midnight preview, but I use it because, for one, it’s a really good water bottle, being made of metal and thus not subject to the toxic crap that comes form using those cheap plastic ones. And then on top of that, there’s a part of me that gleefully awaits the day when somebody challenges my right to use a Twilight bottle, demanding to know about my ethical stance on the series.
I’m sure that will be an interesting conversation.
Just not right now.