For my third COFFEE Project post, I am going to tell you all about the massive amounts of progress I’ve made in pursuing my goal of expressing myself creatively more often.
You will be amazed to find out that I’ve written not one, but two entire books in the last week, and recorded that acoustic solo album I’ve always wanted to make.
Bored from all of the accomplishments, I decided to take up painting, and discovered that despite my previous works of art that look like a mentally-challenged, drunken elephant created them, it turns out that as I have aged, I have become a surprisingly exceptional, almost magically talented artist.
Yes, friends, not only was I the fiery ball of motivation headed straight for the planet of my laziness that I promised you I’d be, I was a Big Bang of determination that created a brand new galaxy of productivity. And baby, is there ever some life on this planet.
So… are you buying any of this? Yeah. I didn’t think you were.
Can’t blame a girl for trying, right?
“As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
The truth is that my life got in the way a little this week, and I got in my own way a little too.
I had a few moments of freezing up in fear that psyched me out. Self-hugs and self-ass kicks were delivered to the brain gears, and that seemed to get the mechanics moving again. (Oh, good. We’ve moved from my last post’s predator/prey analogies into some sort of “my brain as a machine” theme. This should be great.)
But I did stick to my new writing schedule.
(Get out of my way, Me!)
In my last post, I established that I would write on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
When Tuesday rolled around, I was so amped up to tackle this mental roadblock that I sat down ready for battle, and started writing an hour early, at 10 a.m.
“HA! Take that, chicken-sloth! I will defeat you! Go lay your eggs of sluggishness somewhere else, because This Girl feels like EATING an OMELETTE today,” I shouted triumphantly, aggressively pointing both thumbs at myself. (And then I cocked my head sideways like a perplexed dog, wondering exactly what I meant by that, shrugged, and resumed typing.)
I worked on my little book idea for hours, and only stopped once when my husband called from work. At that point I realized it was almost 1 p.m. and I hadn’t yet eaten anything that day, so I took a break to eat, and then got back on the computer to wrap up what I’d been writing.
I am not planning to hold myself to any sort of word count, because my goal is mainly to get the stream of creativity flowing again, but I checked out of curiosity, and had taken the novel idea from 8000-ish to 11,000-ish words. That’s productive, right?
“Every artist was first an amateur.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Another thing I have discovered about working on the novel is that if I write it broken up into pieces, into chapters, it seems much less insurmountable.
I’m trying to view them as little linear blogs on intersecting subjects, rather than as A BOOK.
I have written eleventy-gazillion blogs. Blogs don’t scare me. Blog is a ridiculous little word… who could be scared to write something called a blog? “Blog” sounds like something you might cough out of your lungs in the throes of a respiratory infection.
But writing A BOOK sounds scary, like something I could never do. “I could never write A BOOK,” shivers my insecure inner naysayer.
Yet I have discovered that I can write chapters, and it’s much less intimidating. So I’m approaching it that way. I’m tricking my insecure inner naysayer. And it’s working. This just goes to show how stupid that insecure inner naysayer was in the first place.
Honestly, that insecure inner naysayer just needs to go away, because she’s pointless, and I’m really getting too old for her shit.
“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
So Tuesday, I was good. I did what I said I would, and worked toward my goal of more writing time and creativity.
But Tuesday night, I woke up at 2 a.m. Just wide awake, like, “Oh! It must be morning because I feel so refreshed and awake!” awake. No! And I could not get back to sleep until 5, which would be fine, except that the husband and son wake up before 6, so that was the end of my too-short game of sleep catch-up.
I dragged ass all Wednesday and ended up going to bed really early that night because I was so tired. And hey, guess what happens when I do that? I wake up at 2 a.m. again. Wide awake. Duh. Only this time I was lying in bed, thinking, “No, Tawni! Go to sleep! You have to write today! You’re going to be too exhausted to write, damn it,” because you know that stress and pressure always help us go back to sleep. In fact, I think most sleep experts recommend staring at the ceiling in the dark for hours, broken out in a cold, terrified sweat as we ponder our unmet accomplishments, failed goals and impending mortality, don’t they?
Before my tales from an insomniac ironically bore you to sleep, let me long-story-short this ramble by saying that nope, I didn’t write on Thursday. I took a nap. Because I was blearily, eye-burningly exhausted, and the very last thing I felt like doing was writing.
But I guilt-tripped myself into writing on Friday for two hours to make up for it.
I also wrote a blog for my personal website this week.
I even grabbed my guitar a few times, to play and sing songs for an hour or so each time. I think the decision to be more creative and write more inspired me in other ways.
I decided that playing guitar and singing counts as much as writing, because my main goal is to make more time for creativity. I even started writing a new song, which I haven’t done in a long, long time. That was very exciting for me.
Simply writing down that I want to make more time for creative endeavors has helped me remember to focus my energy in that direction. It was really beneficial just to put it out there.
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
So I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m moving in a forward direction again. I can see my path. There it is! Yeah! I’m taking steps back onto the creative road I used to travel. This makes my heart so happy.
Yes, I could be moving faster, but I’m still moving, and that’s the important part. I’m going to give my drill sergeant ego some time off, and just be okay with forward movement right now. I don’t need to be the first car at the finish line; I just need to be a part of the race. (Annnnnd… there it is. Today’s weird mechanical/machine theme. I knew I wouldn’t disappoint.)
I am leaving town to spend Thanksgiving with my family, and will be away from my computer and life for a week, so I don’t anticipate much progress before the next post. But when I return, I am going to get right back to my Tuesday/Thursday writing schedule, and work toward adding another weekday to it in December. I promise you. I promise me.
I’m also researching digital 16-track recording devices, so I can hopefully get back into writing and recording songs again.
The most important next goal is to work up to four days of writing a week by the end of December. And I think in January I will start my perfectionist-horrifying no-edit blog, Literary Lampshade. (Thank you for naming it, Patresa.)
That seems like a good way to start off the New Year: scaring the feathers off of my inner chicken. This cage could definitely use some rattling. Oh wait. I decided on a mechanical theme for this post’s cheesy metaphors, didn’t I? I meant to say: This engine could really use some tuning. Vroom! Vroom! (No? Too much? Sorry. I’ll workshop it and get back to you.)
“Always do what you are afraid to do.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Bock-bock!” ~Last Words of Tawni’s Inner Chicken