Writing About Not Writing

So, I’m gradually trying to do what I say I want to do which is blog regularly and try to start really writing again (and hopefully, selling some of that writing so I can live the fabulous and carefree lifestyle of someone who has two freelance writers in one household). Because my two favorite things are goals and lists, I’ve set myself two goals for the month of September.

1) To blog something everyday

2) To write a total of at least 500 words per day.

The blogging can count as my 500 words or it can be just a short little something as long as I write something else as well. The main thing is to get myself back to writing and blogging consistently. I’m not too concerned with the content at this point.

I know people like to say you aren’t really meant to be a writer unless you can’t not write all the time, but even ignoring the double negative I think that’s bullshit. There are lots of reasons writers end up not writing for various stretches of time, including depression, medication for that depression, other life circumstances, or simply just writing the stories in their head but discarding them before they can put them paper because their inner critic is a loud-mouthed asshole.

My difficulty in actually writing comes from several sources.

Aside from those mentioned above, the first one is that I have somewhat of an all-or-nothing personality. This problematic because it tends to mean if I am doing something, then I am doing or thinking of that thing all the time. It’s not just one of many things I’m doing, it’s all I’m doing. At least until I reach some kind of end point or hit some kind of difficulty, at which point I stop doing that thing entirely.

I read the complete (so far) Song of Ice and Fire in a week. I stayed up late, barely ate, and, yes, read at work when I could get away with it. When I was done with it I probably didn’t read another book for several months. I’ve spent weeks toiling on a knitting project but when I discovered a mistake I’d have to go back and fix, I put it away and didn’t pick up again for several years.

I’m not saying it’s a good personality trait, it’s just the one I seem to have. The last time I was in the writing groove I produced a totally of nearly 300,000 words of Sherlock fan-fiction (Johnlock forever!) in a startlingly short period of time. And then I went off it and have barely written anything else, of any kind since. Although it was some damn good fan-fiction, it did kind of take over my life for awhile.

Another problem is that my actual job that I get paid for involves pretty much sitting at a computer all day, writing technical documents. I cannot even express how little I want to sit down at my recalcitrant laptop-from-hell and write something incredibly amazing after a long day sitting in front of a slightly larger screen writing something incredibly factual. And it’s probably not great for my career to spend my hours at work writing fiction. Although I can’t say it’s never happened.

Lastly, I have a massive fear of failure. Which is conveniently dealt by not actually attempting things in any serious way. The fantasy of the half-finished novel in the drawer that will change my life one day is the perfect thing to keep hope alive while not having to face change in any meaningful way. Also, little known fact: “Keep Hope Alive While Not Having to Face Change In Any Meaningful Way” was a rejected slogan for the Obama campaign.

But I feel like I’ve reached a breaking point with hanging out in my comfort zone (or I’m just really sick of working in this cubicle), so I’m going to try to brute-force my way out of these habits and into some better ones so I can a) get back to writing creatively, b) not burn out on it or tank my current job in the process, and c) eventually have a little less fluorescent light and a little more sunlight in my life.

Only one real question remains: Is it cheating to use writing about my issues with writing to hit my word count for the day because I can’t think of anything else right now?

Probably. But this sucker is 749 words, so I’m going outside!


Welcome to My Bl…HEY IS THAT A BIRD?!

I lack focus. Except when I don’t, and then I get tunnel vision. Until I get distracted. And then I lack focus.

Beginning to see the problem here?

I’ve tried blogging before. I’ve tried big ambitious projects before. The problem is, I’ll start a science blog and after a few weeks discover that writing about science is not appealing and I just really want to post a new recipe I invented. I’ll start a food blog and find that all I can think of are intersectional feminist rants. To be successful, you need a niche, an appeal, a category. But if I pick one thing, I exclude all the other things I’m interested in.

I briefly entertain the idea that I could maintain multiple platforms and post regularly about each of my interests, but even my finely-honed skills of self-delusion don’t stretch quite that far. Instead, I become paralyzed by my choices, fail to write anything at all, admit defeat, and decide instead to crawl under a blanket and binge watch Hannibal.

This cycle of write-distract-freeze-give up repeats approximately twice a year. Sometimes more if I’m feeling particularly creative.

So I’ve decided the only way I’m ever going to make progress is to embrace my lack of focus, unabashedly. This blog will not have a theme. Or a topic. Or a niche. Maybe it will find one eventually. Maybe I will discover my one true passion in life. Or at least on the internet. Maybe it will remain a disastrous mish-mash of whatever has caught my interest this week. Maybe I will never have any following and labor in muddled obscurity till the end of WordPress itself.

But I’ve decided I don’t care. Writing is better than not writing, even if it’s just distracted fragments which I mistakenly imbue with significance to placate my own narcissism.

So there will be science. There will be recipes. There will be pictures of my dog. A lot of pictures of my dog. There may be fiction. There will definitely be memoir-worthy essays about my conservative homeschooled childhood. There will be reviews of books, movies, hiking trails, restaurants, and knitting patterns. There might even be dark corners of my psyche revealed that even I have yet to discover.

My only rule is that I have to write whatever I am inspired to write and not judge myself for it. I can’t over-think it and I can’t worry about a lack of direction.

If you’re still reading after that embarrassingly aspirational word vomit, good luck to you.  You’ll need it.