Some weeks ago, I declared that I would be writing three blog posts a week. One political, one writing, one garden related. I get on tears like that on occasion. I look at the calendar and the hours available and the projects I already have on my desk and decide, against all evidence, that I’m wasting huge chunks of working time and I need to Step It Up.
It never, ever works that way. I have to reluctantly admit that I simply cannot browbeat myself into writing, whether it be a post about writing, or about gardening, or about politics. No matter how passionate I am about those topics, I can’t force myself to write them. That’s why I never managed a career as a freelance magazine article writer. My brain just drop kicks the best of intentions into the trash and directs me to baking or chopping underbrush or playing with the dog.
If I leave myself alone, and set out a list of goals and tasks, I get rather a lot done in a scatterdash, fifteen-minutes-here, ten-minutes-there fashion. This week, I’ve baked homemade pop tarts, hot dog buns, and pretzels; I’ve made chicken parmesan subs for dinner, put together the next edition of The Irregular Update, hacked undergrowth like a champion and weeded ferociously, cleaned multiple rooms, written several chapters on my two outstanding fiction projects, taken on a layout job, deadheaded plants, researched a lot of gardening questions, and a dozen other everyday items that aren’t worth listing (like laundry). I’ve been busy. I literally do not have time to write an informative article, much less one that takes as much of a deep dive as my last post about the history of racism in America.
(I do plan to follow up on that post, by the way. I have more to say on that topic. I also want to resolve the takedown order I have in place for the site that scraped my content before I put up another one. Wish me luck.)
The other reason I don’t want to do the self-promised blog articles, I think, is because they’re not making me any money. If I’m going to put time into something that doesn’t bring in financial benefits, it’s going to be something that reaps longer term rewards, like improving our house and surrounding land.
I have to stop trying to force myself to go against how I work best. I suspect that many of us are pushing ourselves to do what we think we ought to do, the way we think we’re supposed to do it, instead of finding the best use of our individual styles. I had a conversation with a friend recently about the disadvantages of medicating oneself to be in alignment with societal norms. For me, I HAVE to take the medication; I am just flat out non functional without the fix to the broken part in my brain. But I can see an argument that folks with ADHD, for example, might do better to arrange their lives to take advantage of their unique skills, instead of medicating for a 9-5 job. It’s a complicated and uneasy argument and balance, and it’s frankly not my place to stand on one side or the other.
The larger point is that I’m backing up and taking a look at my own style, my own areas where I’m excellent and where I’m weak. And instead of flogging myself over the weak bits and trying to force myself to make them strong, I’m going to let myself revel in the strong stuff.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to start the water boiling for the pretzels…