Getting Your Shit Together is Hard

I’ve been pretty bad about updating this blog, and right after I went live with it too. Let’s examine what’s going on and try to fix it.My friend Marcus has been writing daily in his corner of the web since… September I think? He missed one day in all of that time and he was able to use that lapse as a topic for more writing. I uh… haven’t had quite the same track record here. But that’s ok, we have separate goals. And this whole thing was actually an experiment in discipline in the first place. What I’ve learned is that I’m not very disciplined. But then, I knew that. That’s the point!

I think there’s three main reasons I haven’t been keeping up with any kind of schedule so far:

First is that I’m just not practiced with sticking to something like this. Something that I want to do but am not required to do. If I don’t have any accountability I’m pretty shit for follow-through. There’s almost always something else to do that I can convince myself is more important / fun / easier / whatever. I have the same problem with doing any exercise regularly. If I attach a bike ride or long walk to my daily schedule of getting to and from work, I do it pretty much every day with no problem. When I’ve got lots of time (more on this in a second) I just slag it all off in favor of drinking more beer and watching puppets on youtube.

Second is really just more detail for the first. I don’t have a job. Now, you might think that this would allow even more time for doing all of these little (or big) projects I’ve got in the back of my mind. Nope! This blog, a hexcrawlmap for D&D, riding my bike, working on long-form fiction, hiking, any number of other things I’ll lament not having time for when I get a job… I’m not fucking doing them now when I have the time. Why?

Discipline. Schedules. Organization. Planning. I’m not good at that stuff without some overall structure to my day to day. Having a job will give my life that central core of stability that I feel like I need. It’s the structure that I hang everything else on. As of right now, it’s SUPER EASY to just say, “I’ve got all the time in the world to do all these things, so I can go ahead and NOT do it now, because I’ll just do it later, fer sherz!”

Third is dumb. I realize that. Still… I read a thing online about blogs and they basically said stop making travel blogs for the love of god please. They went into detail about how the internet doesn’t need another white guy talking about all the places he’s gone / going to in the world. And this just struck to the heart of all of my anxieties about this entire project. Because, well, I am that guy.

Here’s the thing about this… I started this entire blog for two reasons and two reasons only. No, that’s a lie. Three reasons. Three reasons only. I wanted to practice writing on a schedule because I want to possibly maybe actually finish a long-form fiction story I’ve been kicking around for over a year. I am in a transitional period of my life and want to try a bunch of new things and this is a way to track the things I’m trying so I have a record for myself. And I want to be able to share things I’m doing with friends that have said they want to see it and I’ve basically eschewed most forms of social media. And the comments about nobody needing another one of the things that I am trying to start just… ugh. Yeah, they’re right.

And it hit my fears right on the head. Am I just having a mid-life crisis? I don’t think so. I think that was part of the reason for moving to Los Angeles. I think a MLC is much more to do with not understanding yourself and trying to figure it out. But usually it’s by flailing about, shotgunning new things, regressing to thrill seeking for the sake of the thrill only, having no idea what it is you want to do or what you want out of life. Not understanding how you want to live.

But my rough idea about traveling and how I want to live is not coming from this sort of flailing at all. It’s actually from the opposite. I’m doing these things because I’ve done my flailing already. I KNOW what I want, what I need, how I want to live. This is it, for now anyway. This is how I want to live. The documentation of it is my form of journaling and a way to share with friends. I think their main argument was really aimed at a very strange corner of the internet that has to do with “blogging as job” which doesn’t apply to me. So I should probably just ignore it and keep going.

Yeah, I’ll try that. Fuck that guy! Just kidding, those blogs are actually pretty annoying… I promise I’ll never take a picture of myself facing a lake, back to the camera, with my arms raised and a treacly inspirational vomit quote accompanying it.

Anyway, it all sort of boils down to discipline and anxiety. Anxiety that what I’m doing is… what exactly? Embarrassing somehow, I guess? It’s just a new thing, a new way, and it feels embarrassing because of that newness. I get the same feeling when I’m doing a workout ALONE IN MY BEDROOM for fuck’s sake.

The anxiety is just a thing I’m going to have to muscle through, honestly. And I think, as with most things, the more I do a thing, the less weird I’ll feel about it; the more confident I’ll become. The discipline thing… Well, I’ve started back using Wunderlist, though I’m not sure it’s actually what I’m looking for for a scheduling / task app. I’m going to try to use it for getting down topic ideas and setting a schedule for writing. As of now, I’ve set reminders to do two posts a week; Tuesday and Friday will be the days I post. I’ll do my damndest to put something out each of those days for the foreseeable future.

And, yes, I know I’m putting this out on a Thursday! I just figured out the schedule this morning and didn’t want to wait till Friday to post something.

So, that’s the scoop. Let me know if you have any iOS apps you like for scheduling and organization and I’ll check them out. If you have any other ideas about maintaining discipline other than the straight up hard work of doing the hard work, let me know. I’m pretty sure there’s no silver bullet here. If anyone has found it, they’d be ruling the world by this point.

See you tomorrow!

  1. Marcus

    I think I’ve reached a point in writing as a daily habit where it’s compulsive, as in, I feel anxious if I haven’t done a post on a particular day, and midnight is approaching, and everything else gets shoved aside until I finish it, despite being at a party or having game night or the middle of whatever else.

    But it’s very hard to keep to a regular time when the work schedule changes weekly, and therefore discipline gets nebulous. If my posts weren’t short, I don’t know how I’d get them out regularly.

    And yes, the world doesn’t *need* more white guys talking about most things. But that’s in abstract, in the aggregate. There’s plenty of room for understanding, acknowledging, and engaging our privilege, and you never know who else might find value in your work. Staying universally silent doesn’t seem like a good answer. But then, I’m another middle aged white guy with a blog and a podcast, so, grain of salt?

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