I should be working on my novel. But here I am, writing in my blog.
Journaling / blogging is one of my many stalling techniques that prevent me from experiencing a zen-like level of productivity. Sometimes, I get lost in my own fiction, and writing isn't a chore at all. There's no stalling. No procrastination. I have to find out what happens to my characters!
But most of the time, my writing isn't that fervent. It is way more sporadic than I care to admit. I've got a rather busy life (though not as busy as others), and so I have a long list of excuses. Kids, marriage, family stuff. Housework, work-work, piles of essays to grade. Dogs who stare at me until I take them for a walk. A bunny cage that always needs cleaning.
Yet no matter how busy I am, there is still down time. For example, last night I watched the excellent film DARKEST HOUR. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I watched it... But part of my brain (the judgmental corner) wonders if I deserved to watch it. After all, I didn't meet my goal of one hour of writing.
I get why I stall on my novel when I am feeling lazy. (And I feel like binge watching "The Good Place" whilst eating ice cream). But what's the deal with putting off my writing to do something that takes way more energy?
Hmm... I could write for an hour or organize my messy office for three hours. Or." Let's see, should I write for an hour or walk the digs for an hour? And how many times have I suddenly had the urge to do the dishes instead of sitting with my iPad, giving another hour to my novel.
I think for me, there is the fear of mediocrity. I want my book to be excellent. And sometimes, as I am working on a chapter, I know that the writing, the humor, the characters could be a lot better. So, that part of my brain, the one that gives into the fear of mediocrity -- the one that would rather I create nothing rather than risk failure and disappointment -- that measly little part of my mind says, "Go do something else, Wade. Don't work on this book until you feel completely inspired. Until you have more free time to devote all of your attention to this masterpiece. Until you have cleared your schedule of all other concerns and responsibilities."
Sometimes I listen to that voice. I am more prone to obey this insecure voice when I am in the middle of a busy semester -- which is probably why I'm thinking about this right now. Spring semester begins on Monday, and I have a heavy workload for the next four months.
Fortunately, I don't let that voice win most of the battles. I know of too many potential artists who have given into that fear of mediocrity. Or worse, the fear of failure. (There's also a group of people who are afraid of success -- which I find even more mysterious than my little phobias.)
I don't know that there's a one size fits all solution that will forever rid me of these stalling jags... each day presents it's own variation on the same battle, and each day seems to require a new strategy. I am, however, thankful that most days I win.
Will I win today? Will I stop stalling and write another hour's worth of my book?
Tell ya what... if I win, I'll post a victory cartoon on my next blog entry. If the stalling jag delays me from getting down to business, I'll post a cartoon that represents the agony of defeat.
All righty, it's time to process the last 365 days. All things considered, they have been very good on a personal and professional level. 2016 was a bummer. 2017 was much brighter. This is mainly because our family was healthier this year, and hopefully 2018 will continue that trend.
So, let's look back at my score card and see how I did.
1) Take More Photos (at least two each week)
Here are a few of my favorites:
Adventures at Vid Con!
The Forests of the Pacific Northwest!
2) Write / Sell a Picture Book
I got lucky with this one! Papa Bear's Page Fright will be in bookstores this May!!!
3) Generate New Idea for Next Big Project (Complete at least 25%)
It turned out my "Big Project" was 31 little ones. I was able to complete 31 picture books during the summer. Woo-hoo!
4) Work on a Creative Project with My Daughters
This one turned out to be the most difficult to complete, simply because we couldn't decided what project to work on... and it was a challenge to find a project that we were all interested in.
But during the final month, we were able to put on a show, an improv benefit for a family in need. Mackenzie helped us during the rehearsals -- and was able to attend, right after she finished with her last final at college. Emily, Cheri, and many others from the CTG did an excellent job, and we raise almost 1000 bucks for Perry Roberts.
We called ourselves the...
5) Show My Appreciation More Often / Strengthen Relationships and Communication
This one isn't as easy to quantify. I made a list at the beginning of the year with over 200 folks on Facebook (and in real life). I did contact more people, more often... did I become better at communication? Did I strengthen relationships? I'm not sure. But I certainly made an effort... so for that I'm going to call that:
6) Lose Ten Pounds
Despite eating way too much over the holidays, I have managed this one as well. And, in the new year I am planning to (*cringe*) exercise more!
Well, that wraps up the year. I'm so grateful for all the good, and I think I've already forgotten all the bad! Onward to 2018!
Happy New Year! I haven't blogged much in December so let me do a little catching up... And what better way to catch up than by posting some grainy photos taken with my iPhone 4?
My eldest child passed all of her college classes during her first quarter away from home!
So, we took a moment to honor the somber occasion of packing up and heading home for Winter Break.
Actually, the occasion wasn't that somber!
Throughout the month of December, Cheri and I enjoyed walking the dogs around various parts of our neighborhood, soaking in dazzling holiday lights. Here's one of my favorite decorations, a couple blocks down the street from us. You know me, I'm partial to ducks.
We did some of our own decorating. You'll notice on our Christmas tree, I adorned a pair of googly eyes I won at a White Elephant gift exchange. I was quite happy with this Yankee Swap.
Oh, and inspired by the movie Downsizing, here's a tiny Christmas village.
The girls celebrated California Christmas early...
... and then we went to visit family in Washington...
We spent ten days in Washington state, visiting our families for Christmas. It was a lovely time. All of the nieces and nephews are grown up... so it's a little strange that we don't stay up until 3am helping Santa fill all of the stockings. But I do have to admit, it's much more relaxing now that we're older! Oh, and the most beautiful moment is when it started to snow on Christmas Eve...
We had a White Christmas! Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby would be so happy!
Holy martini shots, 2017 is already wrapped and in the can. That means it's time for lights-camera-action on this bright new year we're calling Two-Thousand-Eighteen.
Last year, I developed a list of six resolutions, and if I may humble-brag a little, I believe it's the only year in my existence in which I attained them. So, this January I'm getting a little bit more ambitious and adding some more, making it a total of ten-- count them! -- ten resolutions, ha ha ha!
Here they are...
1) Finish Writing a New Novel
2) Sell a New Picture Book
3) Write / Sell a New Play
4) Complete 200 Days of Writing (at least 30 Minutes each session)
5) Participate in 10 Book Events / Signings
6) Complete 100 five minute work-out sessions
7) Practice Drawing / Coloring for 100 hours
8) Develop a Stronger Marketing Platform
9) Create a portfolio with at least 12 awesome photos (make a calendar) Bonus Achievement: Organize family Videos / Scrapbooking Stuff
10) Learn "Ashokan Farewell" on the piano.
There it is, in all its glory. Do you have new resolutions this year? As always, feel free to share your list, either in the Blog Comments, or come hang out with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.