So this blogging challenge hasn’t exactly been working out too well. I struggled to get my 2 posts a week for the first couple weeks, and then just stopped altogether for the last several. That’s not quite hitting the ground running, is it?

I have no excuses as to why. Well, I do have excuses, just not good ones. Any reason I named for not writing would crumble faster than a proverbial cookie. I’ve been busy, yes, but I’ve also had enough snatches of free time that I could have gotten something done. All things considered, right now SHOULD be the time where I get my writing life in gear.

I have a 1 year old who, unlike any child I have ever known, already sticks to a schedule as far as when she eats, sleeps, and needs extra attention. I can plan around spending time with her and be at least 95% sure those plans will remain in tact.

School has a lot of work that has to be done first, but none of it is TOO labor intensive. It’s challenging and engaging without being really overwhelming, even when I wait to the last possible moment to do the work.

My wife is starting a new job and early returns would appear that she is finally going to be happy at work, which hasn’t been true in a few years now. Don’t know her real schedule yet, so that will require some balancing in the future, but the midnight to 8am shift she’ll be working will still leave me some free time. Not to mention the fact that if she’s happy at work, she’ll be happier at home, which makes EVERYONE happier.

All these excuses that I held in front of me like a shield have been obliterated. I’m disappointed in myself for not doing more, but I’m trying not to berate myself too badly as that usually makes the problem worse. So what’s a whiny, procrastinotic (procrastinating psychotic), wanna be writer to do?

The answer is: write. But that’s not happening. Not how I want it to anyway. I mean, even this blog post is taking me away from my true goals. Sure, it’s writing, but not what I want to work on, so I’m torn between being happy for any progress and being frustrated it’s not the progress I’d hope for.

And believe me, I can hear the millions of people reading this (<—- that’s me being uncharacteristically optimistic about my work, just trying it out), screaming “Just do it!” at me. Well… that slogan never made me buy sneakers, so I don’t think it’s going to work here either. Logically, I know the value of that kind of attitude. I’ve read any number of blogs hailing that very strategy. To write, all you have to do is write. Right? Stop avoiding it and just make yourself sit there and do it, no matter how painful it is.

Sounds good, but I have strong problems when it comes to putting it into practice. It’s hard to resist just throwing in the towel and calling it a dream that will never be realized. Of course, the quickest way to make that true would be to give up, so I struggle on, trying to piece together something that works for me.

I don’t know what that will be. But if I’m being 100% honest, and not the pessimistic ass-clown I can be when it comes to my own work, I think I’m close to figuring it out. It just feels like I’m on the edge of a breakthrough and all it’s going to take is a nudge to go over that edge and then never look back.

It all started with this blog: http://bigglasscases.blogspot.com/2011/01/you-are-not-original-and-thats-ok.html

It’s a piece about the not-so-original ideas throughout all genres of writing, and how you can still make them work even if they’ve been done before.

This post was significant to me for two reasons:

1. I have a tendency to obsess over original ideas. To the point where if it’s not original then I just don’t want to do it. This makes life exceedingly difficult when you consider that the thought of an ‘original idea’ in the field of storytelling is just short of mythical. Not saying it can’t happen, but odds are MUCH greater that you’re just going to be able to figure out an original tweak to an old idea. Which to the overachieving part of my mind, just isn’t good enough.

I need to get that part of my mind to shut up and realize that just because it has been done before doesn’t mean I can’t do it again with my own take on it. The idea may not be original, but my presentation of it will be just because it came from me. That’s important, and that’s how writers end up being successful using the same recycled archetypes.

2. It applied to my current work in progress directly in that one of the cliched ideas presented was one I was trying to use and didn’t even realize it. Something was off, and I couldn’t get passed it. As soon as I read this blog post, I heard that ‘click’ in my head, and ideas began falling into place, as creative inspiration flowed. I saw what was wrong, and I knew how to fix it.

This gave me a feeling that I hadn’t felt about writing in some time… excitement.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do anything about it immediately (and that’s no excuse, just a simple fact). So it was like someone had thrown open the escape hatch, and I was too surprised to climb through. By the time I could move again, it was closed.

It was a missed opportunity, which carries me into my current feelings. The side of me that is desperate to try and succeed, and the side of me that condemns every little thing I do and wants nothing more than to plod along in the status quo are perfectly in balance. Getting back to this blogging challenge is a nod to the positive side (progress), and the fact that I’m doing this rather than working on my story is a nod to the negative (same old shit, different day). Something is going to give, that much I know. The side that will end up yielding, that’s a mystery to me right now. I know I’m capable of achieving what I want.

I just have to get out of my own way.

 

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