Because nothing is as self-fellating as this whole project, I’m gonna spend today’s entry talking about yesterday’s entry and its position in the wider I Have My Doubts canon. Short attention span? Here’s it in video form (I’ll take Risky Clicks for $500, Alex).
This project was started as an attempt to expand my writing capability. The invisible caption underneath would often proclaim I don’t need to become a good writer, just a better writer. It’d be hard not to expect that from sustained short bursts of writing that stretched day after day. Of course my expectations and reality varied wildly. For the first three weeks I refused to go public. I figured if I could keep it up for three weeks, chances were I could keep it up for longer. Like some kind of quill priapism I soldiered on and three weeks became three months, a year, two. I even reached the 1,100 mark several days ago. I’ve stopped thinking about it for the most part, but then I’ll look back and think oh, OH. That’s quite something. It’s still rewarding each time.
However, none of that is interesting. I guess the better question isn’t how much I’ve done, but how I’ve done so much. There’s discipline, sure. Discipline goes as far as making sure I haven’t gone to bed until I’ve finished my writing. It’s several flavours of excrement being tired enough I could fall through my mattress. That pales in comparison to the pit of guilt in my stomach I know I’d have if I failed even one day. Believe me, I have a Jewish mother, I know all about guilt. So discipline tells me that excuses aren’t good enough, because my problems are way bigger than guilt if I don’t have 30 minutes spare in a day.
There’s the reward of pleasure, that helps things tick over. Seeing the aforementioned quantity makes me realise I’ve accomplished something and that’s a big ol’ carrot. Hearing people say they’ve read something I’ve written still gives me a tingle each time. Furthermore if I’ve written something and a friend (or even internet stranger) says it’s spoken to them in some kind of way? Hooooo boy. That’s a kind of rush. Outside I’m all “oh really? Thanks.” Inside I’m all be cool. Be cool. Be like Fonz. So ego is a part of it. Knowing I’ve created something that others have consumed not only willingly, but eagerly? That keeps things rolling right along.
It’s rarely as easy as that though. Having those rosy feelings is an uncommon occurrence, so my motivation primarily comes from other places. In most cases it’s a matter of write about a thing now. Yes, “a” thing. Anything, as long as it’s on the page and you’ve spent half an hour doing it. How bad could it be? The answer, of course, is pretty fucking terrible. That’s what happens when I’ve got no motivation to write, I puke garbage onto the page. It checks off the criteria with the modicum of effort. Then I feel bad for not creating something of note. As if I expected to feel rewarded without putting in the work. This happens most days. Lather, rinse, repeat. Blame tight schedules or a feeling like taking time to do this is actively taking time away from time spent with others. It feels selfish. The sensation inside me when my lack of writing means I’m holding someone else up is like a blender set loose on my innards. Thanks inner Jewish Mum.
Yesterday’s entry was of the rarer sort. The times where I’m happy to expend effort and creative input into something. Where time taken is secondary to results. Where I can actually commit instead of banking on excuses of “of course it was shit, I didn’t try”. Understanding that I don’t need to be concerned about others and I’m actually allowed to dig in and enjoy what I’m doing. Playing with dialogue yesterday made me realise that if I want to try writing something, I can. I’m allowed to put effort in and actually care about what I’m doing. This project isn’t just a commitment “because reasons”, it’s an opportunity. I’m working towards being better and part of that is the awareness that I can throw things out there with the potential of failing. I don’t have to do it every time, but just because I don’t have to do it every time that doesn’t mean I can’t ever do it.
It’s okay to try.
It’s okay to care.
It’s okay to fail.
Perfection is not the goal.
Effort is the only way to be better.