I’m not going to do much of a recap here; I haven’t read through all of my Weekly Words posts for 2019, and I think doing that is the only way I’ll get the kind of perspective that I’m craving, which will require some devotion of time that, at 1:42 AM, I don’t quite feel invested in committing to just now.
All signs point to one overarching theme for my 2019, or at least one thing that I’m going to mention in this blog post: I need to have the means to extend my focus beyond my writing. Because writing is not enough.
It is, in and of itself, valuable and fulfilling and worth doing. But it is not a substitute for everything else that I need. It’s not a substitute for socialising; it’s not a substitute for exercise; it’s not a substitute for R&R; it’s writing, and if I’ve learnt – or started to learn – one thing in 2019, it’s the importance of acknowledging things for what they are, rather than what they could be, or what I wish they would be. I like writing.
I hate just writing.
And my writing is going to suffer until I get some balance back.
Okay, one other thing that I learnt from 2019: I’m so fucking sick of myself and this has got to stop. There’s other shit going on in the world, and a lot of it is pretty interesting, even to me. I reckon it could be worth looking into.
Weekly Words initially started as a way for me to have some form of personal accountability for writing every day, to turn daily writing into a habit. If nothing else, I would at least be updating my Weekly Words blog post every day. Good in theory.
Who the fuck cares about how much writing I didn’t do on X day? Or how exciting it was to break through writer’s block? Who wants to see this pattern repeat over and over and over again for SEVEN FUCKING YEARS? I honestly don’t know if any real-life people read this blog anymore, but I cannot blame any of the ones that I know at least used to for checking out. This blog is like a reality TV show about a mouse running in a wheel.
And okay, I care. I care about having a record of my experience as a writer, and that is the whole “thing” with this blog: writing about writing. Sometimes – very often in fact – there’s just fuck all going on; life is not a story, but if it was it would mostly be filler. Or my life at least, which does not make for good blog material.
But as I’ve realised, I don’t write for the sake of writing. I write for the sake of having a tool by which I can accomplish other things. I don’t revel in the construction and manipulation of language; I don’t particularly crave the tactile sensation of typing on a keyboard or writing on paper with a pen, pencil, or what-have-you. It’s a means to an end, and yes my joining the Mark Manson cult of Kantian pedantry means that this opinion makes me evil and shit but you know what, some things just aren’t that goddamn valuable to me and that’s how it is.
Writing is valuable to me because of what I get from doing it, not because I get to do writing.
And I’ve been trying to use it to get way too much, for way too long.
I guess, really, I don’t love writing for its own sake because it’s been so long since writing wasn’t this global substitute for literally everything else that one can do with one’s life; I treat it as a means to an end and, well, that is a bad thing. In this context. I think it’s fine to treat writing, and many other things, as means to ends instead of ends in and of themselves, depending on the context. But in mine, well, I think there’s room to appreciate writing for its own sake …
Or I can make room.
And, for the sake of my mental health, I don’t think it’s exaggerating to say that I need to.
I said that my 2020 New Year’s resolution was to tell a good story. It still is. But I think that telling this “good story” is going to involve me being able to look beyond myself to find it, and the same goes for this blog, and just myself in general. This is my blog, but that doesn’t mean it all has to – or should – be about me. Not least because I, like anyone else, am just not that fascinating all on my own.
But throw in some context, and maybe that’ll change. In fact I’m sure it will.
I gotta get some news in my life, man. I need to know what’s going on around me; I want to know. I want to participate.
And I think that Weekly Words might be over and done with.
I still like the idea of a monthly check-in, though, so I reckon I’ll keep that, and use that to tally up my writing efforts on this blog – I can keep my private records for the minutia. But going forward …
This is a writing blog. I want to make the most of that, expand on what that can mean, get to better understand what it does mean to me that I’m not admitting or embracing or considering. Writing is fascinating, as an art and as a field. And I’d like to be fascinated by it.
But you know what else is fascinating? Being part of a community. My interests span many different communities, and for reasons of anxiety or snobbishness or look fuck knows I really need to start going harder with this therapy stuff and get to the bottom of this, but my point is that I have steered clear of communities that could, potentially, be a great resource for me in many ways. I mean that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Find people with whom you share a common interest and go from there? Might be something to it. Finally, I can share my D&D 5E ranger revisions with people who will understand the burning hatred that drives such an undertaking just as keenly as myself.
Also friendship and whatever.
But yeah – just like using writing as a means to too many ends has toxified my relationship to and perception of it, this blog has very much become a catch-all dumping ground for my brain, starved of appropriate and functional avenues for exploration and expression as it has been for so very, very long. And it’s time to start putting things right. This might mean starting more blogs; this might mean spending less time being a record-keeper for my own life. I’m definitely not stopping writing; I’ve just finished my re-readthrough of Bad Guys and have actually found it very insightful – I have a better idea of what the story needs from me, and also what it doesn’t need. And that’s going to be a long commitment, one that I’m willing to make now that I’ve accepted it for what it is: a process that I was a little, let’s say, optimistic to try and measure out in months. This might take a while – I’m counting on it. And I’m ready for it.
But there’s the rest of it all as well, everything else I need and have missed out on this past year, a lack that perhaps I feel more keenly for how much I’ve been pushing myself to find it. And that has no place on this blog.
It’s time to engage, spread out, dive in, and be willing to not keep track of every minute experiential detail for the sake of having the goddamn experience itself.
And once I get used to that, maybe my true love of writing will come back to me. But first, I think I need to be willing to let it go, for the chance that it’ll come back.
This plan is risky-sounding, but it’s something that I care about. I’ve been waiting, longing, hoping for a project to come along that I cared about enough to risk fucking it up for the chance of getting it right.
Perhaps I was the project all along.
Okay there’s no way I don’t enjoy writing for its own sake, even given how badly I’ve handled it over the years; I get to write cheesy shit like that whenever I want as a writer. Can’t put a price on that.
Happy New Year!
… also HOW THE FUCK DID I WRITE MORE THIS YEAR THAN LAST YEAR.
Complaining. I did a lot of complaining this year. That must be it.
Also I guess I did write an entire novel? But I wrote an entire 50% of a teleplay last year …
Look whatever I guess the moral of the story is that even when I suck at writing I’m fucking amazing at writing guess I’m just doomed to be a baller-ass writer for the rest of eternity I guess that’s okay …