Have you ever considered the number of things there are in the world? The sheer quantity of objects, people, ideas, everything that is and ever has been and ever will be? What about the number of things just in your life? Your experiences, the things you’ve owned, the people you’ve met, and everything that”s yet to come for you; the quantity would be astronomical.
One of the problems I have when thinking, or when asked a question about something I don’t have an immediate answer to, or when I sit down to write, is that I try to “brute force” my way through all of the possibilities in the world or the experiences that I’ve had. This effort is time-consuming and terribly inefficient, to say the least. The worst part is that these situations often come up in places where time and speed are of the essence: an interview, meeting a new person, a deep conversation, trying to write a blog post within a 24 hour period.
At its best, this thought process could be thought of as thorough. When it’s not at its best, though, I end up focusing on very small, often unimportant details that slow my process down and “miss the forest for the trees.” Much of my procrastination actually stems from this issue. It isn’t that I (always) put something off just for the sake of putting it off; the tendency instead is to try making one small thing perfect, running out of time, and rushing to finish the entire project.
In terms of writing these posts, the object of my hyper-intense focus is often the topic. What would be an interesting topic, what’s something I haven’t covered before, can I move out of a tendency; those sorts of questions run through my head all day until suddenly it’s time for bed and nothing’s been written. The result is often that I default to talking about the topic I know best: me.
Once again, this situation has come up tonight. I settled on a topic and began to write the post in my head, until realizing that it was related to other things or themes I feel I’ve discussed multiple times in recent posts. So, instead of writing that post, here we are: me talking about me anyway.
I’ve been getting a bit more frustrated recently about “not writing about what I want to write about,” but at the same time, I’ve liked what I’ve written. The thought came to me regarding this debate in my head that it seems to parallel something Dave Grohl (lead singer of the Foo Fighters, former drummer of Nirvana, among other things) once said in an interview. In discussing his songwriting, he said that he felt in the past that certain things he wrote “weren’t Foo Fighters songs” because they didn’t fit a mold that he expected of a Foo Fighters song. This lasted until he said to himself “why can’t these be Foo Fighters songs if I’m writing them and we’re playing them together?” Why can’t topics I write about go up here, even if they’re not the ones I “want to write about?” (Anyone know if that question mark should be outside the quotation mark?) Writing a thousand words about something would suggest that I did want to write about it, and since the goal was to write more in general, it would seem to fit my stated “theme.”
This is just one example of one way that I make things more difficult than they need to be. In fact, this is probably the primary way that I make things more difficult than they need to be. It encapsulates much of what I’ve already written about: my perfectionism, self-doubt, fear, value, and a bunch of other things. It seems to me that things often feel harder when I delay making a decision.
Another similar feeling I have in regards to writing comes with the amount of research put into a topic; this is closely related to another issue, editing and rewriting. IN all of these instances, the fear (and really, the reality) is that something could be said better or more clearly, or some piece of information could be backed up more thoroughly, or that in some way one statement could blow apart an entire post. Knowing when to stop writing and share something with the world is a point often only set because of a deadline. If not for deadlines, like my daily posting, things would never get published.
Regarding the daily deadline, I’ve been thinking more about the purpose of this project and the goal I set in starting the project. I wanted to write a thousand words a day, and to publish posts daily, but I didn’t set any sort of end date. I’ve been questioning more and more about when I would decide to stop doing daily. This is an issue I’ve seen most often on YouTube with daily vloggers; some stop months after they want to, and some still haven’t stopped, even though it maybe would have been best to do so. I wasn’t posting daily on YouTube, but I ended my twice weekly schedule because it was time to move on, and I needed more time to make what I wanted. I’ve been feeling similar thoughts regarding daily writing here. Focusing on trying to write or research multiple subjects at a time isn’t easy for me (something I learned in school), and a 24 hour turnaround is incredibly difficult with some of the things I’d like to cover. Since I know this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this on this blog, I think I need to reassess what the goal is here.
So I’m setting an end date. 100 days total. This completely arbitrarily chosen number leaves me with 60 more days of daily writing, and will leave me with over 100,000 words written in that 100 day period (I’m at 43,001 so far, according to Google docs). The reason to keep writing daily for that long is to keep up the desire to post the work and continue creating the work. The reason for setting the end date is to be able to move into a new phase of creation, hopefully with a greater ability to edit and to focus on a bigger topic in more detail.
So here’s to getting off topic and to what is coming next.
Quotations from Dave Grohl were paraphrased