I haven’t been writing.
At first it was just about writing this big piece I’ve been working on, and even then it was an issue. The experience of writing a 5000 word analytic piece is extraordinarily different from the experience of writing a 500-1000 word reflective piece. For one thing, it gets harder and harder to stuff down perfectionist tendencies that drag completion out the bigger something gets, and it gets harder to silence the anxiety that comes along with those for long enough to get good work in.
Something that’s hard to remember sometimes is that creativity isn’t just about the end product. We’re used to being consumers that only see the final product, used to believing that it’s all about what you show and sell, but it’s not – it’s about the act of creating, and how that fits into, emerges from, and expresses itself through the life you live every day. Changing what you produce doesn’t just change the end product, it changes who you are and how you live your life. And, for me, this attempted change, from musings and reflections into longer form analysis, with no lead-in or practice, was basically leading me through a brick wall. Well, that’s overdramatic, but leading me barefoot through a dark room full of lego pieces anyway.
I need to change the way I approach this.
I have no intention of abandoning the piece I’ve been working on – I’ve worked hard on it, and it’s super important to me. But I can’t keep on going assuming that’s going to be the next thing I put up, because I don’t know when it’s going to be done. Right now, even if it was my full-time job I’m not sure when I’d finish it. It’s something I’m exploring as I write – and, because I want to be complete, because I want to map out a territory rather than, as has been my wont, merely point to its soft torn-fabric shape on the horizon and yell that I see land, I can’t set deadlines. Who knows how big this island will turn out to be?
I’m going to resume uploading once a week. This recent set of ambitions hasn’t panned out well, but there’s no harm in a failed experiment here and there as long as one is willing to cede defeat. Only generals who are willing to lose battles win wars.
It’s training. It’s being a train, loading enough coal in to push myself forwards but not building too much pressure and exploding. It’s piecing a life together, piecing a self together, even after little bits of habit and memory and love drop off, Frankensteining myself piecemeal into my own ideal image. It’s trying to figure out how to walk when every day I seem to wake up with a different number of legs, four in the morning, two in the afternoon, three at night.
There’s no point in complaining about it. It’s just being human.