Writing is probably the most dysfunctional relationship in my life. On one hand, I can't resist it because I seem to always have something to say. I am fueled by creative expression; it's like air to me. So, thinking about myself going for long stretches without writing is like having that dream where I go to work only to discover I am not wearing any pants ... or anything period. I'm not myself when I'm not crafting my thoughts into some sort of tangible expression. On the other hand, I have a tendency to psyche myself out when it comes to writing. When I wrote my Master's thesis, I would avoid it for days, even a week, at a time, as if it were my dentist asking me why I don't floss everyday. Then I would panic and start to freak out because I wasn't making enough progress, and I would shut myself up in my room for 1-2 days and hammer out 60 or more pages. Then I would be mad at myself because I would have missed out on something I wanted to do in order to finish something I had to do. The truth is, I made that project much bigger than it really was by running from it all the time, then forcing myself into stare-offs with the computer screen until I finally gave in and just started writing something. My dissertation went much better, mainly because the twins were here by then, and I knew I would not have large blocks of time to write. After my wife and I put the boys to bed each night around 7 p.m., we would eat dinner and talk for a little while, then I would go to my office and write for 3-4 hours. I kept this up 5-6 days per week for about 7 months. I actually finished my dissertation well ahead of schedule and never really had any of those panic moments I did with my thesis paper. Or maybe I have just blocked them out.
I have come to a similar place with this blog. The last month has been a whirlwind, and I have a TON I want to write about. But the more I think about it, the more I get overwhelmed. The more overwhelmed I get, the more I put it off. The more I put it off, the farther away those events seem to be. The farther those events sink into the past, the more senseless it seems to write about them. Who wants to read about old news, right?
Thankfully, I ran across a great little post by Gretchen Rubin which has provided me with the kickstart I need to get back on track. Not only do I want to get my blog up to date, but I have several manuscripts that I want to finish by the end of the semester. She did a great job of stating what I already knew, which is that some progress each day is better than putting the pressure on one day to make up for several days of no progress. My personal tendency is to waste time if I think I have a lot of it to spare. When I block out a whole day to write, I don't think twice about checking my e-mail, looking at Facebook or reading a blog or two. I mean, what's half an hour when I have all day? The problem is, I may take several of those breaks throughout the day, then I start to feel hopeless because I have not made the chocolate-covered, massive, award-winning progress I envisioned myself making. If I commit the non-green sin of leaving my computer on and the document open, I am actually more likely to come back to it and write for 15-30 minutes. It's much easier to keep the ball rolling than it is to start it rolling. (I suck at cliches.) I just needed a gentle reminder to get back to what I love.
Which is what I have done here. I have a lot I want to say, but I don't want to start saying it right now. So I wrote about writing for a minute, and I will resume the blogging tomorrow. Then I will write a few lines on the manuscript with the nearest deadline. Then I will go to bed content that I did one of the things that makes me happy without making it a drag.