If I happen to glance back at my old posts, particularly those of a few years back, I find that quite a lot of them are the sort of stream of consciousness writing that to me was the point and definition of a “blog.” Articles and points were for professional websites. Blogs were for rambling.
Over time, “blogging” has become an actual business venture, although not for me, and this makes me steer away from that sort of rambly, babbly, slice-of-mind type posts and toward ones that are at least a little bit topical. By that I mean having a topic, and not especially relevant to the time, although almost everything you will ever write is informed by the context of the time you live in, so I guess that applies too.
This blog is a personal site, not a professional one, so there’s no especially good reason not to ramble on, except that I want to put something a little more thoughtful out there. I want to feel a little bit more like my thoughts have a point. It would be nice to look back on previous posts and think “Yes, I see what I was saying here, and I think it was worth saying.”
One could argue that I should go back and delete some of my older posts, at least the silliest and/or most pointless ones. I don’t think I’m going to do that, though. I want to keep this site personal. I don’t want to clean up my image too much, to seem like someone whose thoughts just flow naturally into perfect forms of stories or essays or what have you. It doesn’t get me views or make me money, but I still feel attached to it. I’ve poured quite a bit of myself into this blog and I don’t just want to delete parts of me, even if they are smaller or more distant now than they were at the time of writing. Perhaps I am too attached to the past. Maybe it’s the influence of writer’s journals, like Virginia Woolf’s, and the idea that someday, people will be interested in my raw thoughts because I will have gained some fans through my creative efforts.
I mean, probably not. But at least I can look back on it myself.
I have a habit of procrastinating. I’m not embarrassed to admit this because almost everyone does it. If I have a clear deadline or specific duties that need to be done at certain times I do them, but outside of that it can take me a really long time to get going. In other words, I fulfill my obligations and commitments but it can be very hard to get things done if there is not any set commitment…
Bookmarking sites are a great invention. You can make a note of websites or articles that interested you and come back to them later. Much later. Like, months after you intended to. One of the bookmarking apps I use has a number of sites marked that I had intended to blog about. Some of them have been up there for a long time. At this point I can go back and read/look at them, of course, but good luck remember what it was I initially wanted to say about it. Good luck recalling that spark of an idea that made it feel significant enough to bookmark. It may come back upon reading the site; it may not. It’s a mystery and a gamble.
If I had read them right away, or, say, within a week, I might have written something poignant and thoughtful. Chances are if I try now what comes out could very well be half-formed and short of that original point that came to me way back when. Of course, since I can’t really remember the ideas, I can’t prove they weren’t terrible ideas to begin with. But now I’ll never know, because I procrastinated for too long.
Bookmarking is an excellent way to procrastinate because it makes it very easy to forget about things.
I am thinking about all of the stories I could write, and wondering which ones I should write. There will definitely not be enough time in my life for all of them.
There are certain pieces of advice that you hear over and over. On the internet, from your parents, from teachers, made into motivational poster memes. I know there are many that I have repeatedly come across (and for some reason I can’t think of any now, wouldn’t you know it…) and I knew, but could not fully grasp them until more recently.
I wish certain things about life had not taken me so long to learn. Things like failure being a natural part of life, and if you never fail at anything it probably means you haven’t tried anything–and also that it doesn’t mean you should give up. I never really learned to bounce back after failing, I would just move on to something else. I generally did well in school, rarely failing anything and never trying to master that material after the fact, the few times I got a failing grade.
The past few years, I’ve been failing at a lot of things. Often I feel like I’m not capable of dealing with life and I should not have been allowed to be an adult. In this case, dealing with the stuff that’s causing me stress is the only option, short of giving up and staying in bed for the rest of my life. To be clear, that’s really not something I want to do. And after what feels like a million years of hearing from everyone that you just have to keep trying and keep going, I’m able to face things that have gone wrong and try to improve or fix them.
I wish that someone who struggles the way I have would read this and take it to heart and feel better about what’s wrong in their lives, and understand that it doesn’t mean they themselves are a failure or that they can’t do something to make it better. But that probably won’t happen. Here’s why:
For most people, you simply can’t learn those really important things about life until you’re ready. You might know intellectually that the wise advice you hear is true, but it doesn’t reach your heart because you don’t really believe it. Something has to happen to make it sink in. A certain experience, or a person in your life, or just time in which you can think about life and start to grasp what it actually means, what is important, and what isn’t.
The one I’m working on right now is that it might be okay if I never really make anything of my life. I’ll still be a good, worthy human being. This might be the most difficult one, the one that I can never fully accept…
Have you ever noticed that when the flame on a match goes out, you can look at the head of the match and see that underneath the charred outer layer a glow remains for several seconds? Like the coals in a fire, red-hot under a coating of ash. It reminds me of a heart, the hidden thing that holds the key to life.
What are the matches trying to tell me?
I think I’ve decided that having a quarterly check-in about my writing goals would be a good idea. Perhaps I’ll change my mind before too long, but for now that is what I’ll do.
March is very quickly ending, thus the first quarter is as well. I don’t have good news, unfortunately. If you have read my previous posts this year, you may know that I did okay in January, although not meeting the daily goal for the whole month, but hardly wrote anything in February. This trend continued in March. I could detail the reasons that I didn’t have the time, talk all about the circumstances I’ve been dealing with lately, but it is really just excuses. If I’m being completely honest, I think I haven’t been writing because it takes a lot of discipline, a conscious effort to MAKE time for it. Apparently, I haven’t been doing that.
The minimal word count I did complete (only a few days of writing out the entire month) consisted of blog posts and work on the same Sleeping Beauty retelling I have already talked about. For a while I was quite stalled on that story, but I decided to go back to it and move on to the more interesting parts, and figure out that whole post-exposition, pre-action section in the next draft. Or perhaps all of that is exposition.
I’m a little worried that I’ll finish it and determine that while it has points of interest, as a novel it will not be of great interest to readers. I mean that the people who read it will enjoy it a lot, not that a lot of people will read it… I think that I have a bit of a tendency to stick to my original story ideas as far as plot goes, where I should be learning to make better adjustments so that it’s just a better story. This can sometimes result in a story saying something very different than what you originally intended. Sometimes that’s a problem, and sometimes it’s okay.
I have a few days left in March and I do plan to get some writing in, but the most urgent thing right now is some spring cleaning. I’ve got much to organize, throw away, and clear out. I’m very, very behind in the 365k challenge, in terms of what my total word count should be. In February I didn’t mind this, but now it’s been going on much too long.
Would it be so terrible if I don’t make the 365,000 word goal at the end of the year? No, not really. Not finishing would not affect my life much, really. But it would most certainly be fantastic to meet that goal, or even exceed it. Finishing would affect my life, even if only in the sense of developing better writing habits. I think that’s worth the effort.
What are stories of rainbows and pots of gold really about? Are they stories of good luck and hope, or of foolish wishes for magical solutions that don’t exist? There are tales both of people tricking fairies and fairies tricking people. So, is it a trait of the person that makes the difference? That is, if you’re clever enough, you’ll snatch the prize from its keeper, but if you’re the simple, gullible type the supposed treasure will turn out to be fake.
Of course, rainbows aren’t magical, pretty as they may be. They don’t actually lead all the way to the ground, so if there were a pot of gold at the end, it would be floating in the sky somewhere, not reachable by people. In fact, I don’t think rainbows generally have concrete “ends.”
But who knows. If you meet a leprechaun, see if he’s feeling generous.
I hesitate to write this knowing that I might speak too soon, but it seems that winter is actually ending! I had some doubts, in the middle of the month-long snowstorm we were having. Now, while temperatures overnight will continue to drop below freezing for at least a few weeks, I’m sure, the current forecast looks much warmer. That makes me feel so much better about things. I went out today and I noticed a difference in the huge mounds of snow. There are still huge mounds, of course, but there seemed to be no impassable sidewalks left! I was very pleased about that. I can now wear more than just the one pair of shoes again…
The part of spring I really like comes after all the snow has melted, when temperatures are getting up to the 60s and 70s and the sun stays out longer and longer. Style-wise, it’s a lot easier to choose an outfit, especially since I can just throw on a dress and go without putting on tights or leggings, which has deterred me from wearing dresses most days this winter.
But there’s something to be said for those first few warm days as well. They’re the ones that are full of potential, promises, and hope.
If it snows again, though, I’m going to be so upset.
The very beginning of February started out mildly hopeful, although pretty unproductive. Things quickly deteriorated from there. Without meaning to, I ended up taking a hiatus from writing and just about everything else I meant to do.
I blame it mostly on the weather. Blizzards piling on top of each other had such a strong effect on life in Boston this month that productivity suffered in all areas. I work from home, and so I didn’t have to go out in it or try to grapple with the sad public transportation more than a few times, but it seems to me that the energy of the city is frustrated and exhausted, which didn’t help me to feel more motivated. There were also a few social distractions, but that took a much smaller percentage of time than complaining about the weather did.
There was also the somewhat significant matter of not knowing what to write. When I hit a point in the story I had been writing where it just did not want to go any further, and I decided to take a break from it, I didn’t have another project lined up to work on instead. That, I guess, was a mistake. The few times I really made an effort to figure out what I wanted to do, I got nowhere. The creative juices are not flowing.
(Ever think about how weird that phrase is? It’s so weird. I don’t think people should say it anymore.)
As for the writing challenge, which I still intend to complete, I’m now about 30,000 words behind because of my lack of productivity. One thousand words a day is not actually very much if you keep up with it, but it’s a lot to catch up on if you miss more than a few days. Luckily, I still have ten months to go, which is plenty of time if I can make March go better. The way I see it, if I continue to get absolutely nothing done and write just a few words here and there, I can last through May before I’m beyond hope of reaching the end goal of 365,000 words. I am determined to do better than that, and to write much more regularly and hopefully in larger quantities (I’ll worry about quality when I get to editing), so I have plenty of time to catch up.
I also know that many of the ideas for stories and blog posts or internet articles need to be written soon, or I will completely lose track of them. Whether they end up being fit for a reader’s eyes is another question. For now, it’s time to get back into writing! Winter isn’t over yet but spring is closer than any of us think, I’d say. The urge to hibernate has (mostly) passed, and I believe that I can actually get things done as we move out of this blip of a month.