Proof positive

I feel this blog is fairly positive. “Fairly” being the operative word here. This was actually the main reason I created it in the first place: to provide a contrast to the incessant angst of my Tumblr blog, which I honestly don’t know why I haven’t deleted yet. But nevertheless, it sometimes gets to the point where I find myself a little … disappointed, shall we say, with how I’ve tried to force positivity into some of my posts, mainly through the use of some kind of corny closing sentence that feels like I’m “spinning” things. I don’t like doing that, because “spinning” suggests that “conning” is just around the corner, and I don’t want to con anybody.

However, part of the reason for why I’ve forced those positive ends is because, quite often, I actually need a little injection of optimism just to keep from ragequitting in the heat of the moment. And I’d probably un-ragequit an hour or two later anyway, but keeping an unbroken chain of optimism seems like the better choice in those situations.

I think I was wrong. I think honesty is the best policy when it comes to your own state of mind, and while there are some things it’s better to “spin” to other people, doing it to yourself is only certain to fuck you up in the long run. Or that’s been my experience anyway. So basically, from this point on, I’d rather be honest than positive.

Having said that, there is actually something positive I wanted to talk about.

I mean I handed in another essay late, after last semester’s unbroken record of handing everything in at least one day late, which was disappointing. At the last minute I got into the mindset of “just hand it in” and got over my perfectionist tendencies, but it took knowing I was already late to hand it in to do that, and that’s not a habit I want to continue. Though I suppose you have to start somewhere when you’ve spent your whole life putting things off because you don’t think you can do them “properly”. And I guess I’ll hear about it if my work is terrible; I’m at honours level now after all.

Mostly I get upset about the state of my writing habits these days. A combination of bad time-management skills and lacking a clear direction for my energies to be driven in leads to a lot of procrastination and regret. And the worst part is that I keep losing moments of inspiration to these bad habits, stopping at the feeling of enthusiasm and not transforming it into action. I regret that probably more than anything, and mostly because it doesn’t just apply to writing.

But tonight I got an alert from Oh Life; I stopped using the service a while ago, but I’ve kept the alerts going, though I forget why. It’s nice to be reminded of how my life was I guess. All my entries are documented and saved. This particular entry was about writing, and it was about how enthusiastic I was about Tallulah, a feeling that I don’t quite have anymore right this moment.

It was dated as over 400 days ago.

And that made me realise something: this book has taken over two years to get to the very unfinished point that it is, and that frustrates me when I think about it like that. But there’s another way to think about it.

Which is that for over two years I have been working on the same story more or less non-stop, and for over two years I have time and time again found the enthusiasm to keep going. For over two years, I’ve gotten excited about the prospect of writing this story over and over again; for over two years I’ve only ever temporarily lost energy for it. It’s always come back, and it’s often come back in new and refreshing forms that I could never have predicted. For over two years, I’ve made this thing work, and I’ve always come back around to enjoying it.

That’s not something I have to spin: that’s recorded evidence that I’ve got a good thing going, and that things are actually a lot better than I sometimes think they are. When I say “never throw anything away”, this is the kind of stuff I’m talking about. Aside from any kind of story-seed ranting or abandoned first chapter (or any other-numbered chapter) you write, keeping a timeline of your emotions while writing – or embarking on any long-term project – can help to reset your perspective; and sometimes resetting your perspective can be the difference between throwing in the towel and realising that, actually, you might be on the verge of an epic comeback.

Gonna see if I can possibly hand in this second essay on Monday (which will be almost a week early, just to counterbalance my late hand-in this week), and then it’s all Tallulah, all the time, except for the time I have to spend on doing academic readings because I don’t want to be late handing in anything ever again ever, ever. I know I can do it. I just need some proof.

And then, when I’ve done it and recorded it for posterity, it’ll be right there when I need a reminder that, actually, you don’t always have to force positivity. Sometimes it’s just there.

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