I did a fair bit of obsessing last night, over a lot of things. One outcome was that I finally got what I hoped to get out of this thing-a-day project; a game plan for going forward. This didn’t work out the way I expected. I expected that I’d end up writing a few simple, fun posts that I liked, and discover subjects that I didn’t realize I had wanted to talk about. Instead, I discovered that the things I want to write about go deep, and need even more ongoing work and in-depth research to do properly.
I also need to take a break for now, because I’ve got two other big obsessions going on. One is a fiction project that I am very proud of and want to release when it is completed. I don’t think I am that far from completion, relatively speaking, and I want to hammer on through that. The other is a student who I have been assigned to work on. The Philadelphia special ed system is not what I’m used to. I have a toolkit, built from seven years working with special needs students, but some of the tools that I’ve used most aren’t useful, and others that have gone rusty with age are going to be called on a lot. Also, instead of focusing on the entire classroom to the degree that I’m used to, I have an assigned student who I need to support during their particular moments of need.
I… am not clicking with that student as much as I’d like to. In the long term, this isn’t the first time I’ve struggled to connect with a kid, and I’ve always been able to work through that eventually. Some you click with instantaneously, some take months to bond. The only thing that makes this different is that, on paper, I’m supposed to have a particular connection with this kid. I’m supposed to be able to handle him in his rough moments, and I can’t just hand him off to somebody else to work through things. So that’s frustrating. It also means that I need to use my obsessive personality to keep trying to figure him out.
Between the two of these things, I don’t think I have the mental space to give those posts the obsessive attention that they need. So I’m giving myself permission to take a break from this. I hate doing that, but I think it’s the only way that bigger, more important things will get done.
Thanks, as always, for reading, and I look forward to some future point when I’ll be obsessively posting here again.
Today’s theme is, apparently, “keep trying.”
Keep trying to finish your story.
Keep trying to bond with the kid in your class who just flat out doesn’t want to work with you.
Keep trying to balance getting your shit done with taking it easy so this lingering cold doesn’t turn into full blown misery.
Keep trying to find something to say on your blog until the deadline of the 20th comes up.
A possible solution to the problem I talked about last Friday; focus on private experiences, without trying to convince anybody that my opinions, resulting from those experiences, are definitive.
A problem; it would be disingenuous.
Of course my real intent would be to convince. I love to debate. I love to prove wrong, and be proven wrong, to clash differing opinions together until the result is shaped and honed into something as close to truth as we can find it. At one point I thought of the internet as a great avenue for that impulse. I don’t feel that way anymore.
The last day of me writing a thing, on this week where I don’t want to write about a thing. As I examine why I’m so reluctant, I keep coming back to this; what if I’m wrong?
Well, assuming anybody is even paying attention, one of two things can happen. First, I can be called out on it. I am all right with that. Life is all about evolution. We evolve through failure and criticism. It is fine to be told I am wrong.
Second, I can go uncriticized. This is the option that scares me. In these days of the internet, so much information is put out there without proper fact checking. We are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of research that must be done, and so instead we follow the people who say what we would like to believe. What if, in trying to correct the failings of someone else, I spread my own misinformation?
This is another reason I crave privacy. I am currently learning things and I do not think I am certain enough in what I know to speak about them. When I speak, I want to either be sure I’m right, or be sure that I’m speaking with the kind of authority that will bring a qualified critic to me. I don’t want to be another uncorrected, ignorant voice cluttering the debate.
Welp, I fucked up. I was supposed to push through and put something out there yesterday. I didn’t.
Instead, I hammered away at a scene I’ve been struggling with, because it has a lot of characters and moving parts. It turned out pretty well, after hours of fiddly work. I’m finding the secret to my writing productivity is hitting a balance between idealism and acceptance. Like any writer, I need to accept that some things will need to be fixed later, and some things will never be fixed at all. At the same time, if I feel like yesterday’s writing was at least marginally good, I am more likely to return to it today.
I think, in order to continue this blog, I need to find that balance. The bit I wrote from the day before yesterday made me realize I need to re-find that slice of my life that is public enough for me to share yet private enough to be meaningful. I also need to find the place where I can let my blogging be flawed, but good enough to come back to.
Hopefully more tomorrow, as I continue to think about what this blog can and should be.
I decided yesterday that “no writing on weekends” includes three day weekends. Then today, I continued not feeling like writing.
Or rather, I felt like not writing anything but my story. I am excited about the story I’m working on. It’s the second thing I’ve written recently that I actually want to share with the world. I love the feeling of having two works in progress that may actually be published, in some form or another. What I don’t feel like doing is writing the blog.
Mostly that’s part of suddenly feeling very private. Which is a problem, because we live in a social media driven age. I want my stories to be successful; a social media presence of some sort will be integral to that (especially as I want to pursue non-traditional publishing avenues). Yet I don’t want to share myself on social media. I have no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, nothing but this and an email address and a Tumblr. So I damn well better not neglect what I’ve got.
But I want to. I want to because I’m processing. I fear the intrusiveness of social media, because I worry that it doesn’t give us enough time to process our feelings before we make them a matter of public record. There are ideas I have, but I don’t want to commit to them, not because I don’t want to share my thoughts, but because I don’t trust the internet to let my ideas evolve. Or to not dredge up what I have now in order to tear me down later, regardless of whether or not it is relevant.
Also, sometimes I just want to talk things out with myself and a few close friends before I share them with the world.
Anyway, now I’ve stalled for one day. Let’s see what I am thinking about tomorrow.