If you read this blog, and I hope that you have better things to do (because then you’re choosing my website over countless other more entertaining ones) then you probably know I’ve been struggling to get back on the writing wagon lately. Taking a break was a necessity, I see that now, but starting again feels a lot like, well, starting again. Funny how that works.
In the past month, I made a few swipes at picking back up where I left off. All of these fizzled and died, with not a bang, but a whimper. And, hey, that’s just the price of doing business, right?
Not exactly. What is exactly true is that I was (am?) using the struggle as an excuse to not succeed. It’s okay, y’know, because at least I’m fighting. But energy expended in futile gestures takes away from the important work I should be doing.
The efforts were futile because I didn’t use them to set myself up for success.
I’ll cover this with such brevity as to embarrass previous posts on this site. I’m not inclined toward cleanliness and order in my habitat. However, I require cleanliness and order in my habitat in order to function. (Some people I know can expend nervous energy toward cleaning up messes, while messes just make me weary and complacent.) This is obviously not a terribly useful pairing of personality traits.
In order to do well at my work with any consistency, I need to maintain my living environment, because it is also my working environment. I mean, I knew that before, but I had something of a realignment in my thought processes toward it.
As a backer of Mur Lafferty on Patreon (she makes the wonderful “I Should Be Writing” podcast), I receive occasional email updates from her. She mentioned that she was having trouble summoning up the energy to work, due to the Resistance. Mur suggested that anyone who doesn’t know what that is should read “The War of Art” by Stephen Pressfield. So I did.
I will post more extensively on the book at a later time.
For now, suffice it to say that I came to the conclusion that keeping a clean habitat is a part of my job. Not as a good husband or civilized sentient being or person who’d rather not be evicted (though those factor into it) but as a writer. For whatever bevy of psychological reasons, I require that my area be relatively clutter-free. And that means it is my professional responsibility to clean up.
Perhaps this doesn’t sound much like a dramatic shift of perspective, but I can feel the difference in my thinking. I’m bad at altering the overly negative stream of consciousness, so any mental structure that survives the first swell is worth considering.
I am adopting a professional mindset, taking a “fake it until whatever” approach. In order to take myself seriously, I need to have a serious place to do my work. Is that silly? Probably.
But I’ll take any advantage I can get in this maddening war of art.