Overcoming Inertia - Part 2 · 28 January 2008
Thank you all for your comments on the last post. Your responses are just another reason I’m amazed and awed by those who have the touch of popping in here and there, visiting dozens of blogs each day and making insightful and interesting comments on them, sending the perfect email just to keep in touch, or calling up old friends to start new adventures. I never mastered the art of efficient social networking. Instead, I tend to immerse myself in a small number of things with a small group of friends, poking my head into the deep recesses and dark corners of my few chosen pursuits. But the blogosphere is big, quick, and breezy and my attempts to adapt my style of minute inspection into a culture of skimming led to a bit of frustration.
I realized that some of the reason that I haven’t been writing is because I don’t think I can commit to the community. I hate doing things in half-measures. Looking back on my New Year’s Post from last year, I see myself trying to convince the me going into 2007 that I didn’t have to accept half-measures, that even if I couldn’t do everything I could still dream I could.
Dreams are wondrous things. They give us the power to believe we can do things that we can’t see a clear path towards. They inspire us as children to say we’ll become exotic professionals like paleontologists because we love dinosaurs or lawyers because we like to argue, even before we have half an idea what a paleontologist or lawyer needs to know. As adults, they provide the impetus to keeping working through hard times, knowing that we have worthy goals at the end of our labors.
But broken dreams are dangerous. They teach us that sometimes just trying out best and believing in ourselves isn’t enough to make us successful in our dreaming. And if we don’t learn to accept our failures, our dreams can sour, and haunt us instead of helping.
The me coming out of 2007 has spent January reminding myself of the many successes of last year, and taking myself to task for dwelling on the few failures. I gave myself some good advice at the beginning of 2007, dream big, but accept realistic progress so I should have no regrets in saying that last year was a year of progress. With that worked out in my head, my one resolution for the year is to shake the New Year’s slump that has had me feeling a bit “blah” lately.
So, here’s looking forward to a great 2008, to catching up on some housekeeping tasks on Honeyed Words, to continuing to progress in my studies, to honing my writing, and to accepting that I’ll never be a social butterfly but that there is room in the blogosphere for a couple of ponderous bookworms too.
Overcoming Inertia Part 1 · 16 January 2008
Thank you, thank you, thank you to those who popped me a line to make sure that I was okay after I stopped posting here.
When last seen, I was re-entering the smoldering county of San Diego after the aptly named Firestorm 2007 As you might imagine, taking an unexpected week out of the office so soon after a long vacation didn’t help out my projected schedule for catching up at work. Compounding my lack of free time were winter finals and a website development deadline fast approaching. I found myself leaving the house at 8:00 a.m. each morning and crashing into bed near midnight, stopping work of one kind or another only for the bare necessities of food and maintaining my closest circle of friends. Exhaustion quickly set in and despite good intentions, I found it impossible to keep up Honeyed Words.
I missed it.
And yet, when finals ended in late-December and I was released from the madness of 14 hour work-days, I didn’t immediately start posting again. Never one to balk at an opportunity for self-examination, I decided this week was the time to figure out and face up to the reasons I’ve had a month in which I could have posted, and haven’t.
After finals I hadn’t read for pleasure in over a month, much less cooked anything more exciting than rice and beans. I had been traveling a thousand thoughts per minute on the serious path of work and study, and when I screeched to a halt after finals, I crashed. Even the thought of gathering the spark of creative energy needed to start an inspired Honeyed Words book/food pairing was exhausting. And so, even though I’d occasionally stumble onto an idea I could have turned into a post, I didn’t develop it, knowing that I didn’t have the energy to turn it into a coherent themed series. Instead, I wrote nothing.
The first thing I made myself realize this week was that I had to stop seeing Honeyed Words as an obligation, an all or nothing proposition in which anything less than meeting all my goals was unacceptable. Until this week, I felt hemmed in by my vision for the site, bound to post on-topic or not at all.
Therein is my regret, that because I wasn’t willing to make allowances for myself, I posted nothing. So dear readers, I hope that you come here because you enjoy it, and I hope that I’ll continue to deliver posts that make you want to come back, but for now bear with me, because instead of talking myself out of posting by making myself get back on the regularly scheduled topics of books and the food that is inspired by them, I’m going to be rambling a bit.
5 Reasons I Blog Meme · 7 August 2007
Nymeth tagged me for the 5 Reasons Why I Blog Meme and I'm finally getting around to posting my answer.
I have an aversion to passing along memes, probably born out of chain-letters that threatened death to people who broke them and MySpace bulletins that threatened un-friending if you didn't return "the comment love." So, if anyone would like to pick this meme up, please help yourself, I've got it all wrapped-up cozy and sitting on the porch step for you.
5 (Out of Many) Reasons that I Blog
1. Practice Writing/ Scheduled Writing
The foremost motivation in starting this blog was to provide me with a structured venue for writing on a regular basis. Those who know me know that I have a large cache of ideas for stories, but that I have trouble finishing them.
The most common advice I see for writers is variations on the theme of “Read everyday; write everyday.” Blogging encourages me to publish completed articles regularly. It also encourages me to look at the world with the idea of writing about it.
I originally started a blog on MySpace, and it had an entirely different theme, that of writing about writing. Site lag, outages, and spam drove me off MySpace, and at that time I decided that writing about writing would take a backseat to writing about things that would be captivate a wider audience.
Now that I’ve been blogging for over half a year, I notice that I still have more ideas than I can effectuate. I also notice that my focus has turned from writing fiction to writing blog posts, and I’ll probably be shifting things around here a bit in order to re-focus myself.
2. Desire to share love of the good things in life
I feel that many people wander around life, waking up, going to work, going home, going to sleep, and never stopping to look around and examine what they are doing. I know I did the same for a while, then I realized that years had passed and, aside from the experiences I had at work, I was the same person that I was when I had started that period of my life. I hadn’t reached out or grown in any way. I looked down the path that I was on and was terrified. Was I going to wake up at fifty and regret that all I had done was try to advance my economic position in life?
After that, I made a conscious decision to spend more time pursuing things that interested me and kept me growing. Eventually, I wanted to be able to share this by showing people that it doesn’t take a lot of time to incorporate things above and beyond the daily grind into their lives. Part of the original vision of this blog was a focus on “The good things in life and how to experience them in your limited time.” As the blog has evolved, that focus hasn’t been brought to the forefront, but it’s still in the back of my mind whenever I write about things that I do and hopefully it shines through.
3. Desire to document cooking experiments.
When I thought about what kind of blog I wanted to write, I knew that I wanted it to be about things that I enjoyed and could talk about. The cooking posts here were originally designed to create a method to my madness. I can’t say that I’ve always been interested in cooking. It’s a somewhat recent (post High School) hobby, one that I pursued haphazardly for years, mostly cooking out of necessity and then cooking what was convenient. I don’t pretend to be a food expert, I just have a love of food research and so my posts are more about exploring food than presenting expert food. They’re designed to inspire further exploration rather than to dole out expert advice.
There’s a theme of interconnectivity in my blog. You are what you consume, whether it be food or knowledge. To incorporate this idea into a blog, I decided to write food posts about books. It’s also one of the ways that I envision people saving time. You have to eat, why not learn something as you do so?
4. Expand on knowledge and method of reading (learn more about SF community)
I really enjoy working in a community. This is probably the primary reason that I continue to take classes “just for fun.” There’s something about conversing with a group of people that tickles my sense of learning. I’ve always loved books, but for most of my life it’s been a solitary love. I have a lot of pages under my belt, but unless I read the book for school, I never really dug deeper into the context or community behind the book.
Writing about books make you think more about what you’ve read, and it encourages me to explore more about the people who wrote the books and how the books fit into the wider body of genre or period work.
5. Step 1 – Write Blog, Step 2 - ???, Step 3 – PROFIT!
While this isn’t a commercial blog, I hope one day to be able to leverage my experiences here into something that is eventually profitable, either by simply honing my writing skills, or by making new contacts that will lead to eventual freelance work, industry knowledge, or other employment.
I firmly believe in trying to make money at what you enjoy. After all, money is necessary for survival (rent, food, etc.) and so for most people working is necessary for survival. My goal here is to lay the foundation for an eventual career in doing something I love.
I tend to be conservative about money decisions. I’d rather have the steady paycheck then take a huge risk, so my plan is a slow and steady one, hold down a job while I’m doing a number of side projects with the idea that one will eventually pan out. I think most aspiring writers are in a similar situation. Making a living writing is a hard path, one that I’ve heard can take 10 years or more. Blogging is just one of the avenues I’m taking towards pursuing my eventual goal of being a person who is paid to do what I love.