A solid start to the week. After my big freakout about not having passion or whatever last time, I found that today it actually came fairly easily to me. Mostly through humour. I tend to write to make myself laugh, at the end of the day, whether the humour is dark or silly or, occasionally, clever, but the main point is that humour gets me through. It’s an old habit of mine, and definitely set the tone of a lot of my older projects, but now I realise it’s another tool that I have for getting myself to write when I don’t really feel like it.
I also miss doing it, even though as a coping mechanism it has definitely dominated the tone of certain projects to an undue extent, and just making myself laugh is not always going to be helpful as a result – but on the other hand, I feel like a lot of my more recent projects have gone too far in the other direction, being too serious one way or another. Seriousness is not a bad thing, but like humour, it can outstay its welcome. Unlike humour, I don’t really find that it motivates me, so I’m not quite sure why it’s become sort of my go-to tone when coming up with new projects.
Lots to think about, then, for the rest of the week – but regardless, writing is getting done, and as long as that is true, everything else is just gravy.
I’m still leaving writing later than I’d like in the day, but it is getting done, and I daresay I’m actually enjoying it once it gets going.
I’ve been very aware of the “hump” with my project, the point in the writing where, once you’ve passed it, things get much easier. There’s a lot of setup with this piece I’m writing right now, and putting off the main action is frustrating the part of me that demands instant gratification, which is a rather large part of me. But I stuck to my guns, forced myself to write through the stiffness that always comes with working on a new project that isn’t driven by passion, which was all of last week’s writing besides the co-writing project – and while it’s not getting easier, I’m starting to believe that it could, at least. And it’s getting to the point in this project where the setup portion ends, and the main action begins, which I think I will enjoy.
I like a good introduction; I like procedure in stories, and I like it well-executed. I just don’t like writing it myself, when I want to jump straight to the action, but as I learnt in writing Wolf Gang, while jumping ahead to the interesting stuff can certainly work, it comes with its own drawbacks, because instead of working through the tough stuff that leads to the interesting stuff, which becomes a kind of reward, it’s skipping straight to the reward and then expecting yourself to go back to the boring crap you didn’t want to do in the first place, which is part of why that god-awful manuscript took me a year and a half to write instead of six months, tops. I have to learn this skill, the skill of writing without passion to get to the stuff that I’m passionate about, because I know that, when it’s all said and done, I will be glad that I did the “boring” stuff. It’s not even boring, just boring to write. And, of course, revision fixes everything if it is boring …
And that, more than anything, is what I want to get used to: getting to the revision process, getting to the point where I can fix things that need to be fixed. I don’t just have to get used to letting myself write badly; I have to get used to letting myself write boringly, which is a hell of a lot harder.
But I’m getting there. It’s getting there.
And I’m still writing my own stuff.
Tuesdays return to their state of being unproductive this week, but hey, got something written.
This has to end, though. I felt so crap today, stressing out about having Youthline this evening, even though I had a good 6 hours beforehand – and would have had more if I had woken up earlier – and as a result spent the day trying to distract myself from this sense of impending doom, procrastinating like a champ, and generally not getting a ton of stuff important to me anywhere near done.
But I think this can become a good thing in retrospect. I mean today sucked, but it’s been an opportunity for me to pull together a few things I’ve been motivated to do in my life recently. One is to “write like shit” better – the whole thing of wanting to get to the revision process quickly so that I can make the thing that I wrote into the thing that I want to have written. The other is to make myself do things that I actually want to do – when I want to do them. I have fretted about not doing this for years; after tonight’s Youthline session I realise that this ties in with pretty much every neurosis I have, the fear of missing out or having already missed out that has dominated most of my life up to this point, and it’s time to put a positive spin on it and turn this frustration into a pro-active initiative.
Also figuring out what I actually want to do, which is where I get stuck again. But putting wheels in motion and all that. I want to get this thing I’m writing to get finished this week. That’s my goal. Sort of like the 10k-words-per-week goal; it’s an ideal, but one that I want to put in the effort to meet, even though not meeting it isn’t the end of the world. This thing that I’m writing – I’m enjoying it in retrospect, but I want to be writing something that I actually look forward to working on, not something that I have to force myself to work on. I mean I want to be able to do both, and so far I feel I’m doing a decent job of proving that I have that capacity, but I still think it’s worth chasing the dream.
It’s still hard to write my own stuff, but it is also still getting written.
I just really do want to write something else.
And you know, I think that could still be this project. I think my attitude is a big factor here; I’m insisting that this project be a certain way, and I think that’s ruining a lot of it for me. I’m trying to prescribe my writing to myself, instead of looking for ways to enjoy it.
At least until I start writing. It always gets easier once I start, but getting started is so difficult. Basic writer problems, I know, but I can’t help but compare this to the co-writing project – met up with my friend tonight to discuss the final two episodes, which was very motivating – which, ever since I started Weekly Words, has been easy to just sit down and put words into, and think that there must be a way for me to get that with my own personal projects.
So this Saturday, and a bit on Sunday, I’m going to be trying a bit of a mental detox and puzzle-solving session, where the puzzle is my brain. I have a lot of things that I try to make myself like or prioritise because they seem good for some reason, and I have gotten so used to doing it that I’ve kind of forgotten how to tell when I actually like something, especially writing-wise. So, in line with my mission to figure out what the fuck I actually want to do with my life, which writing is a part of, Saturday is a Day On. Pen and paper, because it’s harder to file away and forget all about than a digital document. I’m going to do drawing, y’all. I’m going to free-write some shit, take some of these ideas that I think are neat and just see where I naturally go with them before I start turning them into plans and agendas, because I think I’m really missing that immediacy in my writing, and life in general. I’m going to reflect on my life and shit, try to remember what was going on when I came up with the ideas and stories that really resonated with me, and see if there’s some common thread, something I can replicate. And also look at what was going on when I was most enjoying my writing. I think that I know, a lot of the time, but the answer is always too simplistic and hand-wavey. “I was a kid so everything was better/easier”. “I was doing it for self-therapy”. “I was on a sugar high”. Etc.
Saturday is about specifics, because I think the main reason why I find so many of my issues so difficult to deal with is not being specific about what it is that’s going on. I generalise, a lot, so I’m taking this opportunity to get better at that, to pin down exactly what works, what doesn’t, and why, as best as I can.
And that, hopefully, will put me on the path to doing things that I actually want to do, instead of things that distract me from not knowing what those things are.
As well as things that I need to do. But that’s another self-project, and will be blogged about another time.
The font seems to have changed in the WordPress post-drafting window. Weird.
But that’s it for me this week. Looking forward to tomorrow, when I am going to attempt a detox-style day and try to work out what the hell it is that I actually want. Or maybe just take a detox day in general. That might sort things out pretty well for me, because my current routine is and has been for a long time now a string of distracting habits, and I have the suspicion that this is the underlying problem I’m facing in most areas of my life that I am facing problems in I am an English major I know how to construct sentences I got First Class Honours don’t step pleb.
I also really do need to work out a way to measure my non-word-count-related writing progress, even if it’s not on this blog, because so much important work is done regarding writing a thing into being that does not involve the words that it is made up of. But one thing at a time, and the more I think about it, the more I realise that this detox has been a long time coming.
Until next week.
Weekly Total: 5587