Friday, 7 November 2014

More on Me Diary

Here's some more rambling about my diary project. I started it on New Year's day, and the idea has been simply to write about every day of 2014. If you want to read the past posts on it, here's the first, here's the second, here's the third and, if you can see this message, you're reading the fourth.

I breached the five-hundred page mark not so long back. I want to be prouder of this than I am. It seems like a big milestone, but of course the project isn't about size (yet I can't stop referring to it... What does that say? :p ). In a moment of procrastination I even calculated, however roughly, how many words I'm up to: 281,136. But that's just a meaningless bit of trivia...

I think the only really important development I've had since last time is with my routine. I got to the point some time in October where I felt myself yearning to write the diary every day. It wasn't a case of 'oh I'll have to do that later' or 'I'm bored, what can I get on with?' Instead I felt that 'physical flutter' where you know you're enjoying a project, the process makes sense and it feels natural and pleasurable (steady now) to do it.

It took me about two days after that realisation to slip back into letting the work pile up, and I went over a week without writing it. This is pretty disappointing, but I can hardly describe to you the blackness of the well I had fallen into, so I can't really be too hard on myself. I'm almost dried off from that, so fingers crossed it doesn't happen again any time soon.

When I was catching up last time, I wrote sixteen sides in one day, which was a fun, if tiring, exercise for an ol' graphomaniac like me. It gave me this great surge of writing momentum that, now I have caught up, has thrown me forward into the realm of Blogtastic posts and beyond. So, to sum up, since I last wrote about my 'journal journey', I've learned that you never stay on top long, but perseverance gets you to where you want/need to be eventually.

There's one thing I've so far failed to find in my work on this - my 'right time' to write. Lots of writers say there's a good time for people to write, some find it's in the morning, and apparently those who like writing in the early afternoon are in a minority. But having linked that, in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running I'm sure Haruki Murakami says something about stealing every few minutes in between shifts and after work to write his first novel, and that won awards. So maybe it's not so important when I write (especially for this journal work. I'm under no illusions as to how un-literary it is), I just feel in my bones that I'm 'too disparate'. I was hoping that this diary would foster in me a sort of Pavlovian response (see desk - WRITE!). I suppose that nearly happened, it's just that depression 'happened' again shortly after...

Now that the year is beginning to end, it poses new questions about what's next. I reckon my next diary assessment post will be my last. I can't see myself having that much to write about, with less than two month's worth of work to go, so that's probably going to be that. I'm already thinking about what I might do next year, but I'll talk about that during the summing up session, I suppose.

In the meantime, I'm going to try (yet again) to keep on top of this (I remember when I thought I'd be able to write every day no problem...). Also I still want to get back to previous production levels on Blogtastic (quite a few of my drafts are now 'past their best'), and make sure I don't go so long before posting again over at HashtagBeer (I let about three weeks go by without posting recently...). Also my reading's suffering a tad. I'm reading some online articles, the odd poem here and there, but I know I'm letting myself be seduced by crappy TV and other bad habits. It's just not a great period of time for me right now, and I'm not sure why. There's been one great development, though: reading out some of my work in Liverpool at the Storm and Golden Sky reading. The people involved couldn't have been nicer. So why the stagnation now? Where's the drive I had only a few weeks ago?

On a previous occasion, I asked whether this journal writing has been getting in the way of my other projects. Maybe I'm in a bad mood, or maybe I'm just looking for excuses, but I think now that the answer's 'yes'. It's not just the actual process of it. I mean, it can take a long time, but only really when I've got a huge backlog to clear (wahey!). Also, when I'm not doing the writing, I'm often thinking back over the day, sometimes more than once, trying to make sure I remember important events. Dedicating this kind of brainpower, especially when there's not that much to go around in the first place, has been debilitating in terms of mulling over different things I want/need to do creatively. I believe I've been inhibited in the sense of 'attitude' or 'mindset', too. I'm thinking in particular of the question I just asked about where my drive's gone. I feel as if there's been a kind of wall around my thoughts. Often, when I'm having one, it sort of bounces back inside, in on itself. Could being retrospective even on a day-by-day level stifle so strongly a person's struggle to externalise? Well, right now I reckon there's at least a good case for suggesting so. Either way, there's not long left until the new year now, when I'll let myself move on.

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