I go through phases, as I’m sure most people do (but particularly creative types). This blog seems to suffer the most from these phases. Whenever I hatch on to a good idea life steps in and complicates the issues.
So it goes.
As I struggle to work out what to put on this blog, so it is that I struggle to work out what to do with time. Should I write, or read? Should I take notes, or take it in? Should I become an editor, or fall into academia?
There’s always a lot to do, and so much information out there to persuade you either way. Perhaps making decisions is the hardest part, as the book Willpower (which I recently read) purports. Thinking about whether to follow Option A or Option B is far more stress-inducing than doing either of them. If this is the case then it is understandably easier to just float into some activity, and go with the flow.
Making decisions is decidedly human. Because we have a measure of self-control, discerning whether to eat a cheeseburger or a healthy sandwich constantly vexes us. The easier, tastier option will win out almost every time unless we have built up an immunity to temptation. The best way to do so is to remove that temptation in the first place. It’s hard to do in a foodcourt, but easier in the personal domain. Setting individual “bright lines”, a term used in Willpower, presents a clear indicator of where to stop oneself. For example:
No alcohol, ever.
Zero sugar diets.
Programs that shut off the internet.
Whatever your vice there is a way to block it entirely. However, unless the decadence has caused huge amounts of strife you are not likely to stick to your goals.
I digress, but not too far I hope. Writing is what I want to do, and I’m doing whatever I can do to aid that. To start this year I am studying a Masters, working as a sub-editor for the university paper, doing an internship (two whole days a week) for The Conversation, working in an ever-maddening hospitality job, and planning various writing projects. Plus maintaining human relationships, naturally. It’s overwhelming, but I will manage and succeed. My main fret is what to do with my, ahem, “free time”. Write, or read? Read, or write? Both, but in what percentages?
You become a writer—as I see it, gleaned from numerous sources—by reading, thinking, learning, and then practising. Learn and steal. I honestly don’t think that I am capable, not yet—and I won’t be capable for at least five years. Plus, there are so many other skills to learn (HTML, Python, InDesign, editing, etc.) and paid employment to hunt down. My goals and desires swirl around my mind, bringing on bouts of elation and desperation in equal measure.
I hope to write more posts here, book reviews (old and new) and general musings. There’s a time and place for structure, and I’m beginning to think writing isn’t conducive to organisation—at least, not for me.