Back in late spring of 2012, I wrote a couple of blog posts here entitled Trying To Do This, where I contemplated the pitfalls of, and simultaneously committing myself to, the Life of The Writer. Except I didn't call it that because I'm not an asshole. But as my life has wobbled forward from that point, I've been contemplating how I'm doing in that whole vein lately.
I think back then, when I really felt like I was committing myself to it, to writing being my life now and curse the real world who will never consider it a real job! etc etc, I imagined it would be a progressive thing, moving up the rungs of some invisible but satisfying ladder, getting better and better each day. And I have seen other colleagues of mine doing that: their TV recaps get funnier and funnier. They somehow find time to frequently blog in a personal blog while still writing great articles for the commercial sites we work for. They keep coming up with great ideas for posts, and then executing them well. Ideas bloom for novels in their heads and they actually start writing them. They sign up for Nanowrimo. Their Twitter followers continue to tick up. Even though, BLEGH, the writing game on the Internet so quickly becomes about popularity, a convoluted, smoky egotistical bubble where it becomes hard to breathe. And while every now and then I do suffer from pathetic little bouts of, "But I just don't know why people don't like me as much as they like them," which is embarrassing to admit but I'm feeling stable enough at the moment to admit it so there it is, most of the time I realize the grossness of it all--whenever I leave the house and do a job in other spheres of the world where no one is worried about whether people like their witty sentences or not, I'm always like, "Oh, that's right! This is better."--mostly, my somewhat stagnant social media life isn't a sign to me that I'm not likable, because I think I am, but just that I'm not DOING enough. I'm not putting myself out there enough. And if I've been writing for paid online gigs for what feels like quite a while at this point, shouldn't I be on some type of schedule where I'm getting better at putting myself out there?
But I'm not. I envisioned rigor and routines in my Trying To Do This posts, where I would go to coffeeshops, write every day, write as soon as inspiration struck me. But the truth is, my writing life is pretty much like it always has been: I go through extremely manic episodes, a day or half of a day, where I write a bunch and feel like I could keep writing for all time! Every single idea feels writable, and in fact, I wonder why I HAVEN'T yet written about the people who live on my street, or that one road trip, or my thoughts on what those actors in that TV show mean to society. Near the end of these manic episodes, I sometimes start to feel, "Oh God, am I writing TOO much? Does the world want me to shut up now?" But it is still a type of euphoria.
But much more often, writing down to sit an article is something I almost have to force myself to do. Not because I hate doing it, but I just can't get in the right set of mind to want to do it. And then every sentence feels forced and awful and I hate it. But if I don't do it, then I hate myself for not writing it. I have let simple 600-word articles drag around behind my conscience like a ghost for weeks, when they would only take me a couple of hours if I just sat down and did it. But somehow I can't, and just thinking about trying to write when I don't feel like writing exhausts me. I don't understand people that literally write all day every day for a living. They must have some type of hyperactive mind that achieves more motivated consistency than mine does. I know a stereotype for writers is that we write all the things when we're sad, but I literally cannot write when I'm sad. I need a super clear head that both has the energy and the confidence to propel words out of my brain like they matter, or to believe that the sentences I think are entertaining are actually entertaining.
So while I've been working from home again for the last few months [although this will be coming to an end soon], I really spend most of my time transcribing, both because it gives me more money and because it is a type of mindless work, one that I actually can set deadlines for, that I can block out squares of time and say, "I am going to do this thing then," and then do it, the comfort of a 9-5 life. And there have been a whole lot of days over the last few months when, whether it's transcribing OR writing, I feel so goddamn happy, and so goddamn lucky to do cool things, that I can't imagine forcing myself to do anything else. But I feel like it's beginning to get to that point again where I'm getting jumpy, wondering if any of this is enough, wondering if I'm making a difference in the world with my life, and also wondering if working from home ironically makes me write LESS. Because it's going out into the world that actually stimulates my mind, no matter how much my gut just wants to be on my couch all day.
And this has all turned out to be a million times longer than I expected, but I ain't going to apologize because I ain't going to apologize for anything on this blog anymore. But I MEANT for this to just be a quick explanation for something I've been meaning to do for a while: at the end of each month, I will collect everything I've written for the Internet into a little list here on the blog. This may seem egotistical, but I think it will be a good way for me to asses how I AM in fact doing. Because maybe I'm berating myself for not doing enough but when it all stacks together at the end of the month, I can tell myself, hey girl, you're doing all right. And I can point out which posts I wrote that I actually was proud of, and remember them, while also thinking about where I can improve. And, you know, all the people that love me can have a place to catch up if they've missed all my obnoxious Facebook links.
I promise each month won't have such an intense analysis about my writing state of mind. But hey, maybe it will! Who knows what the future holds.
Me on the interwebs, October 2013:
One of my biggest failures this month was that, somehow, I didn't write ANYTHING for Book Riot. Which is a shame, because I really, really like Book Riot, and I had also committed to them when they hired me to write two posts a month. So, I suck and need to get back into a nerdy frame of mind. However, this older post was re-published there at the beginning of the month during The Best of Book Riot, which was nice:
- When You Realize You Can't Read All the Things
My favorite writing moments this month were at Food Riot, and I continue to have the most ideas and enthusiasm for posts there, which is interesting.
- My Spice Collection Makes Me Feel Like a Grown Up
- 10 Reasons Why Squash Brings All the Boys to the Yard
A big thing that happened this month too was that the silly spice article was published on The Huffington Post. Articles from either of the Riots are actually picked up to run on HuffPo somewhat frequently, so this wasn't entirely groundbreaking or anything, but it was the first time it happened to me, which elicited mainly a feeling of relief, like, OK, I'm not doing something wrong. And all my family and friends were super excited about it for me, which was the best and still makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
- At the Lesbrary, I reviewed Carol Anshaw's Carry the One, which was more kind of a "I don't know how to review books that depressed me!" review.
- Reading in the Rainbow: Ann McMan, Jeanette Winterson, Joanna Hoffman: I was really happy to get this one done, as these were all books that were mailed to me by the authors or press people a long time ago. Book reviews are definitely very frequent ghosts that follow me around for too long.
- Diane Keaton to Remake Last Tango in Halifax in America: In which everyone agreed that it's a horrible idea, and no one agreed with my casting choices.
- AE Book Club November Choices: In which I learned that I should never include opinions about lesbian romance novels.
- The Best Thing I Ate, October Food Riot Round-Up
- The Best Book I Read, October Book Riot Round-Up
- AfterEllen Huddles: Halloween Scenes, The Best Lesbian/Bi Character Currently on TV, Good Music in Bad Movies
On the personal front, I wrote two entries on this here blog, which is not bad considering it has been neglected pretty much all year. I am planning on doing Tahnie's Blogember starting tomorrow, though. I know, I know, best laid plans and all that, but her prompts seem really fun so I swear I'm going to actually make a real effort to keep up with it.
So, overall? October wasn't bad. But here's my vow to make November better.