First of all, Happy Mothers’ Day! I had a whole thing written that was rather overwrought so I’ve decided to cut it down to this: Among all the other things I am thankful to my mother for, I’m very grateful to her for introducing me to reading. She started me out reading so young that I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read for pleasure, and it’s a rare day when I don’t spend at least part of my day with a book. It’s an invaluable gift.
As for the Project, it proceeds! In practice the 1,000 words a day has been working out to about an hour of writing, which seems sustainable. I guess ask me again in August though. I have sent the first chunk out to my Eager Volunteers and look forward to hearing what they have to say. I also thought I would write a bit about why this blog, and this project, seems like it is necessary for me.
So this is my problem with writing, as far as I am aware. Absolutely we need to factor in laziness and procrastination as well and a couple of specific Writing Crises I will probably talk about later, but this is the fundamental thing at the root of it all. Basically, it works like this.
I get an idea, and I’ll be excited about it, and think it’s fantastic. In the past, this would get me writing instantly, because the idea is just … so … good. However, as time passes, I’ll sort of start revising my opinion. Ok, it’s not a great idea, but it’s pretty good. Well, some parts of it are not too bad. Actually, it’s pretty mediocre but with some work parts are worth saving. Maybe there’s a couple of decent elements but overall it’s bad. No, in fact it’s just bad. Really I should just pretend I never wrote it.
Yes, essentially I have that Statler and Waldorf routine going on in my brain.
This has happened with everything I have ever written. When I was writing more back in the day, it led to an increasing population of things that I had written (or mostly written) and decided I loathed sitting around doing nothing. I can never quite bring myself to delete things but I do abandon them.
I have a few things I have kept around so long that they are either saved on diskettes that I can no longer have drives for, or they’re in file formats that are so old that I have no programs that can open them. I really don’t know why I keep them at this point but whenever I try to throw them out or delete them I get to thinking of the stories that are locked up in there somehow, theoretically preserved but effectively (at least to a technological illiterate like myself) lost in a fog of obsolescence. At any rate, even though I think they’re awful stories at this point I just can’t quite do it. Seems like abandoning them to digital purgatory is bad enough without eradicating the poor things.
But anyway this has caused me to not ever really do anything with anything I have written, and to not finish a lot of projects. In recent years when my time to write has been restricted I have gone through the whole process with an idea without ever writing a word of it down. This reduces file clutter admirably, but also writing output. I suppose that would be fine if only I wouldn’t keep having this nagging feeling that I should, somehow, be writing, if only it wasn’t all terrible.
I am well aware that this is hardly unique and that being your own worst critic is kind of a cliche. It may not be an unheard of issue, but it is my issue and it is one I have really struggled to overcome. I realize that ultimately I do need to just Get Over It but sometimes these things need a bit of a push, which is what I’m hoping this summer project will accomplish.
Essentially I’m hoping that committing to writing something to completion and making myself accountable for it however I can will help me work through this and get something done. Primarily for personal satisfaction but also to see if whatever I produce is in any way decent. I’m not looking for a pat on the head, though – I just want to challenge myself to actually finish a project. Perhaps (he said quietly, in the hopes of not startling the idea away) having finished something once, it won’t be quite so impossible to do so a second time.
Word Count: 8.218