I think this will hopefully explain how important and fun this blog is for me, but also how challenging it is for me to keep going. Maybe in a way you might not think. I don’t know, I can’t read minds (yet) but continue reading if you want.
I’m struggling now to even begin writing. But I need to do it. I want to it is just becoming difficult to become motivated to follow through with an idea on the spot. You would tell if you follow my blog. I go from absence as in tumble-weeds-and-wolf-howling-in-the-distance-in-a-desert sort of absence to very full-on activity as if my creativity has been sharply sparked and I can’t stop. In my head, I can’t stop. I keep ‘writing’ and drafting my blog posts in my head. But not one has been published yet. The thing is one week in April I had a lot of ideas that rolled one after the other and I immediately went to my computer to write the plan down, write the title, add tags and categories and find a feature image. This is so when I come back to it, my future-self doesn’t have an excuse not to work on it because I have already perfectly done the groundwork. I have a list of drafts that may or may not be up to 30 posts that I plan on finishing, starting and publishing. There are going to become a reality. But I am very aware of how much my inner monologue is stopping me.
What even made me write about this was a video I watched. I already used Filmmaker and Comedian, Jack Howard, as an example in a previous post about my creative process but there is one thing in particular that stuck out to me in a video he recently posted, Confident and Insecure. I will get to this later on.
I’ve said it before it isn’t necessarily writer’s block because I can clearly come up with ideas and it is one of my strengths that I can just think of something on the spot. I just go through peaks of being in the right headspace to not only follow through with those ideas but to then have it to my standard that of course, I will never reach because it is my own personal standard. I will get to this in a post (I am working on in the future but currently in the draft list I have previously mentioned, all planned and everything), but Jaques Lacan (talked about at the end of my Sigmund Freud post in a Wisecrack video I discussed) addresses the idea of want, how the minute we want something, the moment we get what we want, we no longer want it, because that want is fulfilled so you go searching for another thing to want, something that is very likely to be better than what you wanted previously. If you have read any of my posts you know that very often that they would be no shorter than 500 words and ones that I have spent the most time on perfecting and getting everything polished for is over 100 words such as Art Fart: Waves edition, Graphic Novels, Sigmund Freud or Robert Frost, or even my casual musing posts. They always take at least three full hours of writing excluding finding the right images, citing them and other thingy-ma-bobs I want to include to make this a professional post to my unattainable standard. I always want my posts to get better and better but in this process, I set the bar higher and higher for myself that I find difficult to reach because the want to do more will always be there. Always.
Yesterday*, I was in the wrong head-space. I let my inner monologue that was quite…ranty judge what my next post should be. It was about how it is sometimes difficult to actively decide not to drink but be surround by the British (Uni) culture of drinking. Because I was going full force and just wanted to post something because I wanted to write, I published it. I did some revisions of the post to edit some things to polish it, but then a few hours later I realised: this is not my blog.
From the get-go, I knew what I wanted my blog to be in April and take it from there. Yet somehow, a single thought slipped out and created something I thought was important to say. it still kinda is but it was 100% not what I wanted to write. Of course, I wrote it and had full intentions of keeping it. And I know that I don’t have to be rigid to what I write but at the same time, this post was in no way creative in the sense I wanted it to be and I didn’t care about it. I didn’t feel like I spent some time in a creative mindset and produced something that I was proud of. And of course that was based on my standards and what I want my posts to be, because I established goals and went off target in a voice I was not able to recognise as my own voice. It was a voice I knew for a long time, but it was the internal monologue voice that wasn’t creative and very often can take me down a spiral of thought I can’t get out of that doesn’t help my creative process as a writer.
Back to the video, the whole point of this video and the whole point of this blog post. Right… Left. Directions. One Direction. Off-tangent. Moving on. Jack Howard posted a video which I won’t summarise because then you are forced to watch it mua haha (seriously, it will be better hearing it from him than me).
Confident and Insecure
I was watching, understanding that sometimes the personas displayed online aren’t necessarily the person in reality and how his brain has conflicted with creative and negative thoughts that people can dismiss or even just umbrella-term as being a ‘struggling artist’, which I personally think is outdated considering how difficult making yourself present in a crowded world of money can be. I was happy to watch this and let my usual thoughts and inner monologue just discuss this internally and never see the day of light, or be immortalised (because if you didn’t know anything is temporary on the internet, now you do but I don’t know why you had to find this out in my post) in word or speech. BUT, here are a few things he said that spoke to be perfectly and I wanted to actually write down about.
“If I’m writing something, I have to believe in what it is enough for it to sustain possibly years before anyone wants to make it into a thing”
Spring-Summer 2015, a close friend of mine passed away and because I didn’t allow myself to grieve because I was preparing for a 15-hour art exam, I spent and an entire weekend dedicated to writing a play-script. A very short 19 paged one, in an Absurdist style, that was indirectly influenced by my grief. I had that viewed by my creative writing tutor and she gave me the feedback for it. It was all valid and important for the revision and editing process. But since that day I hadn’t touched it because at the time I thought because she didn’t understand how significant writing this piece was, it shut my creative brain down into protective mode, it shouldn’t have done, but it did. I felt pricked an plucked and pranged about the narrative and writing style that was done with purpose. But, rightly so, because I said I saw this as potentially becoming a short film in a very distant future and thought it had potential to be more than a written piece, she saw how difficult it would be for my characters to go through a 2005-2015 timeline with two young adults and how to depict the aging process they would have been through and how fashions, styles and ways of speaking would have been different. This was another reason I shelved it because I didn’t and still don’t know how to solve this problem. I really believe in this script and I really believe I have something worth saving and going back to, it was just at the time I wasn’t ready to make changes to it when I couldn’t find solutions to those problems. But the belief is still there that I will very likely hang onto for years before anyone notices or I even want to do something with it. That is one creative dilemma.
If you haven’t watched the video already, 1) why? 2) go to 2:45-3.10 minutes in the video. It is the very moment he stops talking, a lightbulb went off and I knew exactly what he was probably thinking. Because that has happened to me too many times where I am just writing, happy as Larry (whoever he is) and then I suddenly stop. The page I am writing on suddenly feels blank. I stop writing, my train of thought is lost, I can’t get it back and I can’t get back into the headspace of writing. I have deleted things before, all because of this very feeling of putting the breaks on what I have been writing. I am tempted to delete everything I have written and make the entire page blank, the same way my train of thought just pulled at the station abruptly. Because something, that something being myself, has told me to stop. All this because:
“my brain is going ‘you should stop this video because it’s rubbish and no one’s gonna care’“
That was exactly what happened to me when I was writing a post responding to a political image. I thought it was rubbish and no one was going to care. Even though I know from my stats (I see you from *insert country here* don’t think I don’t know) that very few people read or even go to my blog. That’s fine. I don’t write for readers. I do write so what I want to say is out there for people to potentially find in whatever way, and I want what I have to say to have a reason. I don’t want to just say something because I can, anyone can do that. I want to take the time to articulate my thoughts in a coherent manner as you would for an essay but in a way that was more accessible and mattered most to me for when I read back. Again, I set a bar I can never truly reach but I set it and I try. So more than…five times I have been writing, then I stopped because I thought it was rubbish and not something I would be proud of publishing. More importantly, I have had nagging feelings in my head all through my blog posts, especially the post I deleted yesterday* (one that I am definitely not happy with), these small creatures of thought that drag through my head where no one is going to care.
No one cares about my thoughts on why I don’t drink.
No one cares about my readings of certain art.
No one cares about my experience with certain literary and theory figures.
No one cares that I had spent time writing and structuring this post.
No one cares how many things I link or reference in a post.
No one cares about my creative writing.
No one cares I structured and edited my posts in a coherent and accessible way. Why bother with the effort?
No one cares I posted a new blog post. Why bother writing this post if no one if going to care to read it?
No one cares about what I wrote.
No one cares about what I have to say.
But you know what, I care. It is very clear that I do care even thought I set myself these challenges and goals. I care. Because I want to write. I am partially a part of a monstrous yet fun world of the creative industry, and I want to be here. Even if sometimes there is the lagging thought that makes me stop and think ‘what is the point of writing this if no one cares and no one is going to read it’, that is sometimes the driving force I need to finish a post, like this one, and keep going because I care about it and I will read. Not in a narcissistic way but as a way of tracking what were my thoughts at a certain time and how my creative process/writing ability has developed. If I think something is rubbish then I will try and summon the will to revise it, not bin it.
No one might care about what I do, but I care about what I do. That is enough for me to keep going.
Thank you for reading.
*Note: If you are reading this where ‘yesterday’ is no longer relevant, please refer to ’twas Saturday 28th May 2016 in the break of evening’
Update: As of 30/05/16, although this was written in response to Jack Howard’s video, I have also turned this post into a response to The Daily Post’s daily prompt, Blank