Tag Archives: #Row80

Trying Out Some Things

I’m a social writer. I don’t so much need to be chatting with fellow writers (though that can be nice too) but I like writing in public places. Panera used to work very well for me, but the energy in my local shops hasn’t been quite right. Oddly, I’ve had some very profitable days in Applebee’s restaurants. And lately… the Bourse Food Hall in Philadelphia.

It’s all part of an attempt to reconnect with what I loved about writing (while getting my …stuff together). I’ve joined and participated now in a few local writing group events, and I think it’s working. I certainly feel more productive than I have in a while. Perhaps this is just a flow period in the cycle of tides, but for the moment, I intend to ride the wave some.

Given my lack of physical balance, this is the closest I’ll ever get to surfing. Or even paddle boarding….

Beauty in shards cred: Eden Mabee

It occurred to me yesterday during my time at the Bourse that a big issue I’m having, beyond the multitude of open projects I have going, is disconnection. Not just in an interpersonal sense, but in my general affairs. I have several notebooks, several computers, several cameras… stuff scattered pretty much everywhere. It used to be manageable, a way of sorting things in its own way However tidbits kept escaping the borders of their space and invading the space of others… I might use a cell phone camera instead of dragging along the Canon for a day’s outing, or I might write some story ideas down in my freewriting journal instead of adding them into a story file (especially when I’m out)…. I got careless. I didn’t sort all my files when I needed to upgrade a computer and made copies on our server as backups.

So, following my recognition on Sunday that this is not and should not be a growth year (or at least a growth round) for me, I’m continuing the deeper dive into things. It also means a review of my goals that I began this ROWnd with. Had December gone more according to plan… well, who knows? It didn’t. The change is still useful.

So… updated goals:

  • Continue to freewrite daily; aim for at least three pages or 20 minutes BICHOP
  • Maintain the ROW80 blog and update pages and info as I can
  • Spend an hour daily, five days a week, sorting computer files (photos, notes, etc.)
  • Spend an hour daily typing in notebooks, five days a week
  • Reading… focus on reducing the “presently reading” list by finishing the library books (the hold up here is that several are non-fiction for research purposes, and those can be slow going when I’m taking copious notes or cross referencing details)
  • Update name blog and test it for “digestibility
  • Learn the ins and outs of the Fediverse (Mastodon, Diaspora, etc.)
  • Maintain a weekly sabbath, a day where I do not NEED to do anything at least

I’d like to have the blogs finished by the end of this ROWnd. The others will be ongoing. I’m not super keen on adding yet another set of social media worlds to maintain, yet I understand the drive to back away from the main players such as Twitter, FB, Google, etc., more for others than myself. And I know that by at least visiting these places on occasion it’s possible to reach fellow creatives (and old friends like former fellow ROWer Mike Young).


Why Am I Doing This?

After these past months, I have been (as I noted on Thursday) at odds with…. well, with myself it has seemed. Shan and Alberta were very helpful in offering both support and useful suggestions on how to get a handle on things. Shan’s suggestion of Raina Willick’s blog for some basic reassessment tools was spot on. I’m especially connecting at the moment with the piece named “Is it a Growth or Stabilize Year For You?”

I have a lot of projects “in the works”, a.k.a. unfinished. Some of this is a search for novelty, but a larger portion is a result of my initial concept (or goal, you might say) being bigger than I understood at the time. Some of the ideas grew as I felt I had to add on skills and frill and… well, do I really need to make videos for my books? Probably not. Do I need to learn how to take professional quality photos with a DSLR camera to enjoy the memories captured in a picture or to share the joy of those memories with friends and family? Not really.

The list goes on. Even with writing (which I do love) and research (which I confess I am more than mildly addicted to)… I don’t really need to understand all the recent scientific research on how the brain stores memories to say that one of my characters has a unique way of learning things about the world. Nor does giving a perfect representation of a post-Roman culture fit the world I’m trying to write. Indeed, there is no direct parallel that I know of to this world, and I’m not quite sure there should be.

That could be mean frightful things for the future.

Anyway, the point is (and yes, there is a point) that I’ve been doing some major reconsiderations.

Just another vicious cycle

One thing I am becoming aware of is how much I’ve been making things harder on myself than I need to be. A bit of this is Perfectionism (TM). I should know better. Not only have I written about the issues of it, but I have glowed many times about Shan’s excellent post The Chimera of Perfection. I’ve spent years dealing with this, enough time it seems like I would be done with this nonsense by now.

But… maybe that’s the problem. I’m trying so hard to fix this (and everything else), trying so hard to make myself into a better writer, better parent, smarter, kinder, more creative… yadda yadda, that I’ve become unable to just “be”. Thus begins one vicious cycle (Must Fix Self –> Sets Unrealistic Goals –> Fails to Achieve Goals –> Must Fix Self….

How does one get off the wheel? Or make it stop? I’m not sure really. Maybe I should just try slowing things down a bit first? Maybe I should just pick my point and jump boldly?

I don’t know.

One thing I am sure of… I am going to try to avoid the other vicious cycle that I often find myself dancing with. It’s related to the Perfectionism Cycle, the Escapism cycle…. Overwhelmed –> Let Go of a Lot of Activities –> Feel Useless and Lazy –> Start Doing All The Things –> Fail at All The Things –> Overwhelmed

And I am keeping on, keeping on. I haven’t drawn, but I I have written (I’ve even attended two local writing group activities since Wednesday to stave off some of the sense of being separated so much from my former writing community in the Albany area). I have maintained both this and the ROW80 blog. I haven’t done Photoshop lessons, but I have taken new photos and have toyed with some other photo-editing tools. And I’ve been slowly reducing my “PR list” (presently reading), as it’s grown to over 20 books in various degrees of finished….

So maybe what I’m doing is focusing more on what Raina Willick calls a Year of Stabilization rather than a Year of Growth. And… that’s okay, I think.

Out of Focus

Cloisters, Bristol Cathedral (cred Marcus Mabee)

The above image came from my older post Dreams of the Dead where I was trying to explain, via images, what inspired me to become a writer and the type of person I am in general. Right now, however, its lack of focus is the primary reason I’m using it again. I know, at the time the photo was taken, I was staring about me in delight at the architecture of the Bristol Cathedral Cloister hall (the photo was taken near the Chapter House, in the darker passageway there).

Now I see the image differently, a sense of confusion and puzzlement, a need for direction…. At least the person I am now feels those things more than any sense of wonderment. I’d call it an existential crisis if I felt depressed. Truth is, though, I just feel lost and confused.

Though, supposedly that is another way some define the term….

I have to wonder if it isn’t because I am so lucky to have the time and space to spend thinking about such things. It seems like it sometimes is easier, at least emotionally, to be moving from one minor disaster to another without a chance to think about whether I’m on the right path or not. Without thinking about Long Range Plans…. or goals…. basically. Thinking sometimes is both a luxury and a curse.

And, or course, it’s a necessity to avoid those strings of minor disasters… well, to some degree.

I don’t know what comes next. I do know that I’m slowly reassessing what I really need to be doing. My goals I set for this ROW80/ROCs feel wrong wright now–too oriented toward an abstract “who I wanted to be” when I am no longer sure I can even be that person if I tried.

Have I made any progress on any of them? Yes. Though, really, I am finding myself pressing toward reading and and processing than any writing. This doesn’t seem to be the time for new things but more a time for reevaluating older things, fixing and finishing things… finding the unfollowed paths in long abandoned spaces.

It’s time to get my own house in order. I’m not sure what this means right now for the ROW80 as far as I’m concerned. I don’t feel like I’m getting much done no matter how I look at things. Yet I look at my days and I am busy most of the time… but none of what I’m doing really seems to be matter much nor does it have a direction or purpose.

Maybe this is just a bit of a funk that I need to deal with. Some post-holiday blahs…. Stay tuned for further developments, I guess.