I promise, I'm not dead. That I've been in a communication blackout, I do admit, but I'm not dead.
I hate when blog posts start off with "Sorry I haven't written in a while." It's a waste of time for the person writing the post and for the reader. We subscribe to your blog to read what you write…when you write it. We get it if you've been holed up by terrorists and held for ransom or that you work and go to school full time. If we didn't take the time to get to know you before you went dark, it's our loss. (Unless you really are a tosser and then you're sunk.)
So no, I'm not sorry that I haven't written in a while. To quote Tom Daschle, "I'm saddened by that fact." Except unlike the blowhard that used to have a job on Capitol Hill, I mean it.Happier Then
I knew that this semester would be harder because I wouldn't have a doutzbag for a professor and would have to actually apply myself, but I wasn't ready for the transition that has played out.
The weather delays haven't helped matters any and quite frankly the weather has been, for the most part, mopey. This isn't a good combination for a lonely, depressive, hypoglycemic procrastinator.
Regardless–for whatever reason, I was happier last semester or at least I remember being so. I liked journaling regularly and I think I struck the delicate balance between personal journaling and entertaining you, my faithful reader. True, it could be that I had more people and time to hang out with last semester, but writing about my troubles and commenting on the news as I saw fit was cleansing for me. I've already missed that and have been going crazy because I haven't written because I didn't feel like I had the energy. Now I'm going to rope off some time in my schedule and write on a regular basis.Writing is a Meditation
Discussing the possibility of quitting his "day job" and living off of the income from the podcast alone (see episode 200.5 of the No Agenda Show
for the audio), John C. Dvorak said the he would never quit writing "because it's a meditation." Ever since I heard that turn of phrase, I've gotten serious about my writing because I think I know exactly what John meant: writing is a way to get out of yourself the thoughts you've been churning over and over and over.
No, I don't mean that I'm working away in a dark basement hammering out my magnum opus
. I have no grand illusions of writing "The Great American Novel". Either I have it in me or I don't. But right now, at this juncture of my life, I don't have the bandwidth, time, or resources to tackle that particular problem.
Would I love to see my words and thoughts in print and get paid tons of money for writing the first thing that comes to my mind? I'm not an idiot. I love easy-earn money just as much as the next guy. But I'm not too found of "free" money. I don't like the price that comes with it and I believe in the Value Proposition. It's a pride thing.
I'm not stupid either. I tried writing a book when I was a kid and never got passed chapter three. I've tried writing screenplays before and have failed miserably. I just can't make crap up: my pride won't let me half-ass it.
Is it because of lack of persistence, drive, discipline, etc? Probably. But I think it's equal part of my not being a good liar, part being anal retentive for accuracy in both my fiction and entertainment but mostly because I have horrible organizational skills of things this frivolous.
I realize that I'm good at blogging for a reason: the blogging that I do (and that you've come to know and love) is simply an extension of the essay. (Or as an online friend of mine said in her blog's tagline, I wanted to be a writer but discovered that blogging was easier.
I have a short attention span, so it follows that while I do
think through a lot of things, an extended discussion on the topic isn't likely unless I sit down and get it all out in one setting. This is why it takes me so long to write a single blog post: I'm trying to get it all in.Scrivener
I think I've mentioned this before, but ehowton
mentioned to me that he could see more structure and focus in my writing over the past year or so. My secret weapon is Scrivener
. In a sentence, Scrivener is a rapid-prototyping tool for writing. Scrivener has allowed me to divide out my thoughts and get from random things I wanted to say about a topic to a pretty in-depth article. You can see an exaggerated example of the fruit Scrivener bore here
Someone has written the post I always wanted to write on Scrivener and it's on the homepage
right now. Go check it out!Dean Wesley Smith on Heinlein and Ellison
As the heading implies, I'm referring to the story told
concerning Harlan Ellison's stunt of sitting in the window of a bookstore, and, using a manual typewriter would bang out stories and send them to editors straight from his typewriter.
I am myself a first draft kind of guy in case you haven't been able to tell from my writing. Though I usually think in phrases or sentences, I start with some gripes I have, an idea of how I want to make the points (turns of phrase, how I want to make the reader feel, etc.), then I sit down and type it out. I'm not big on re-reading what I've just written and I don't think I've ever commenced a re-write in my life. I do polish as I go. Were I to attempt to get paid for my work (outside of a college newspaper) I would pay more attention to things like form, etc. but that doesn't change the fact that I'm a first drafter that goes with the flow.
I'm not all stream-of-consciousness or believe in free love that yesteryear's hippies were so fond of. It's simpler than that: I'm lazy. I have something I want to say. I say it and that's the end of it.
I know that trying to get it all in and being a first draft only person is a dangerous way to fly, but that's who I am. You, my faithful readers have stuck around and continue reading the "crap" I write, so I must be entertaining at a basic level. Else why do you keep coming back?
I don't think myself a grandmaster as an essayist. I do love answering essay questions on a test and explaining my (unsolicited) opinion in laborious detail. I also have the nasty habit of over-thinking something to death as my faithful readers well know.Contact Me
So instead of me trying to cheerlead you into reading my blog, I'm going to put the onus back on you. If you miss me, don't be shy. I long for interaction with my fellow beings regardless how chatty I may appear to be.
If you think I've been away from my blog too long, leave me a comment. Send me a text. Call me. DM me on Twitter. Email me. I'm not that hard to be gotten a hold of.
But for God's sake, whatever you do, DON'T
Facebook me. Yes, I have a Facebook. No, you cannot be my friend. I don't want to get drawn into that time suck. Plus I think it's a huge
security risk. (I need to do a column on this.)My Schedule is the Problem in Case You're Wondering
So yeah, I fucked up my schedule this semester which is why I disappeared. I have a super-early class two days of the week. Between those two days, I have a late class that comes with an extended night once a week in the form of a lab.
This camel schedule has nearly killed me. I don't feel like doing anything when I get home. I haven't read anything for pleasure in a while and I've quit writing. I've been feeling like a bottle ready to burst from the pressure of its contents.
I knew that once school was back in session, I'd be huffing it. Thus far, I've gotten behind in the one class that I know nothing about. I'm still behind a couple of homework assignments. I haven't worked any problems from the text. I don't get the material when I read it and there's lots of it to read. Fortunately, I've made it thus far. Now if I can turn the remaining hours of this day into productivity, I think I'll be able to get back in control.
This means writing and reading on a regular basis too.A Plea for Help, A Call to Action
Perhaps those of you who write or blog regularly have some helpful advice of how to get back on the horse of routine once you've fallen off. I'm also soliciting time management advise.
To my hitherto faithful readers: I'm not dead and I've been longing to write for the both of us. (You and I that is.) Please understand that I've not abandoned my blog; I'll let you know when and if I ever make that choice, but based on last semester's experience, I don't think I'll be doing that any time soon.