I have come to some conclusions about my priorities in the last few days that will change everything. (Rethinking things does seem to be in the air right now, doesn’t it? A Bird song lyric keeps coming to mind, “Everything she knows could be false.” Always a good thing to keep in mind. But this isn’t quite that kind of rethinking.)
The main conclusion is obvious, but goes something like this: “I really, really, REALLY want to get the trash book finished and published as soon as possible.” Well, duh. I already knew that. But I wasn’t living it yet. I was letting other projects distract me.
See, I like to work on five or six projects at once. The perspective this tactic allows is nice, but that means each of those five or six projects take longer to finish. With a big project like a book that is half narrative/personal essay and half research, it taking longer could end up meaning years longer. By then someone else will have written it, or something so close that I won’t be able to find a publisher for it, and I am fairly certain that if I really concentrate, I could finish it before 2011.
I have reset my priorities. I have decided that I will not work on any zine projects until the trash book is finished. (None!) I have decided that I will not organize any concerts, except for the ones that I have already committed to, until the trash book is finished. (Zero!) My trash book and finishing my wagon are IT.
I will do a little something for the book and a little something on my wagon every single day until they both are finished. The wagon will be the first to go, and I will write the final pages in my symphony of trash from the little red folding table that will live there.
For the last few years my top priorities have been too broad. I was too excited about too many things.
1. Sleep, getting good sleep, and lots of it.
3. Everything else, a category in which I worked on a dozen projects and none at all and floundered around a bit (I might call it now) in a “everything is awesome and I’m so inspired and I have so many ideas” sort of way. It’s a great way to feel. It’s just you finish things very slowly, or you don’t finish them at all.
My new list of priorities doesn’t look that different, but it’s gotten more specific.
3. The daily life shit that keeps me sane, for example, doing dishes and chopping wood.
4. Making music.
5. Trash book and the wagon.
The first three are part of being alive. They are like breathing, and I can’t understand why some people chose to forgo them (I’m thinking specifically food and sleep here) in order to “be more productive.” The only thing that I am more of when I haven’t gotten enough sleep or a good meal is bitchy. Number four has also become a bit like breathing, but also covers hanging out with friends and drinking whiskey and being ruckus and ridiculous. (Not to be underestimated.) And into number five all the rest of my energy will flow.
You have probably noticed that blogging isn’t on the list. But never fear, this is not one of those letters, the letter where I come to sit you down and explain that it’s over. Blogging will be the thing I do in between other things, when I need a little break or a little feedback. It will not be a goal in and of itself. I’m not sure it ever really was. I’m not really that kind of blogger. And if you’re still here, you’re probably not really that kind of reader.
What it might mean is that I will be here a little bit less, and it certainly means that when I am here I’ll probably be talking about trash and/or my wagon. Maybe I’ll even get a little silly and give you updates on how this whole exercise is focus and motivation is going.
I know some of you are writers too. What do you do to stay motivated? To stay focused? Let’s whisper our secrets too each other across these screens and pretend we’re sitting in a cafe together, spinning out the plots to unborn novels, reading sentences, and trading characters and advice and pats on the back over cups of coffee and fresh mint tea, like we would if we lived in the same city.
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