It’s 238am, Saturday, May 25th. My last published word vomit was on May 8th. It’s been 17 days. This is definitely too long a period of time for me to go without writing a vomit. I’ve noticed myself getting tired, lethargic and so on – going through the motions. I’ve noticed myself cycling through apps on my phone, trying to find some sort of distraction. This is obviously a sign that things aren’t going quite right for me.
This is a relatively minor stumbling block for me compared to past ones. I’m definitely not depressed. As I write this I find myself thinking that I’m quite excited, that I have a lot of opportunities ahead of me, and there’s a lot of things that I know I could be doing to make my life better in a myriad of ways. I just don’t quite feel like I have the energy, or the right mindset, or something. I don’t think I’m lacking any particular philosophical tool. I’ve been here before. The way out is to stop, breathe, reflect, prioritise, and do one thing right. And then another. Right now, the right thing for me to do is to work on this vomit, publish it, and then go to bed. Tomorrow morning I will wake up, and then I will spend some time to clean my house. Then I will hit the gym for a bit. Then I will shower, have lunch, and then I will start my day – catching up on work that I need to do.
Beyond my day-to-day work commitments, I’ve accumulated a backlog of self-work that needs doing. I think I do bits and pieces of these through word vomits, and so simply making it a point to do vomits regularly will help with that. I need to begin to reorient myself for the future. What do I want to accomplish next? Who do I want to become?
I’m going to be giving a couple of paid lectures in the coming months, which is pretty exciting. It’s a sign of advancement. I need to be more deliberate about this. I want to meet more people who work in my field. To do that, I need to have something of value to give. I think I want to do this by fleshing out my marketing blog, at visakanv.com/marketing/. This is where things get a little vague – I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do with my marketing blog. I started out thinking that it ought to be a scrapbook or swipe file of sorts – but now I think it should really be a series of letters that I want to write to other people in my industry. I want to write for younger versions of myself – and I’ve found a great way to do this is simply to talk to my real younger peers who are interested in doing what I do. So there’s that. I also think it will be useful to do a research review of sorts, analysing everything I’ve read. I do sincerely believe that a person’s honest opinion, honest appraisal, is still valuable in a world where we know most people in most contexts are simply doing and saying whatever they need to in order to in order to fulfil their obligations. I want to do that but I also want to do more.
Several times before, when I’ve been in this position – I’m on my computer at night, and I have a bit of time to kill before my wife comes to bed – I’ve found it tempting to hang out on social media, or play video games. But I’m really bored and tired of those things, and I want to focus on working for myself. I need to value myself more, value my time more. I want more out of my life, and that means I’m going to have to put in more work into my life. So this is me doing that. This is for you, Future Visa. I hope you appreciate it. But I’m going to do it even if you don’t, because it’s something I want to do for myself, too.
I’m also starting to think about what it means to be a career writer. Of course I have the same ultimate lofty goal as every other writer – to write the next great novel, to reach hundreds of millions of people with my most sincere, honest thoughts. While that’s kind of a nice goal to have, it’s also very escapist – it’s a very big leap to make, and lots of people who try to do it from scratch just fail miserably. It’s not a smart strategy. A smarter strategy would be to write much smaller things for smaller audiences, and to get those things right, and then to build upon that. I can think of a bunch of writers that I love and would like to emulate in this regard. I need to be much more explicit about the group of writers that I want to emulate, and then create my own versions of their work. If I am serious about this goal, I need to take intermediate steps right now so that I can reap the rewards later on. And again, it’s really not about the promise of some reward. I already know that people who write wildly popular things don’t exactly have the idyllic fantasy life that some folks fantasise about. It’s quite obvious that fame is a pain in the ass, and that you’re going to have to deal with lots of people misunderstanding your work, calling you names… there are all sorts of traps associated with “success”. So pain is inevitable. Suffering is somewhat optional. But you have to choose what you want to hurt for, and how you want to hurt. I want to earn my own self-respect, and I will respect myself for developing and growing as a writer. For achieving more. For writing things that matter, to myself and to other people.
This vomit is just scratching the surface of what I need to be doing. That’s what happens when you’re out of the game for too long. That’s okay. Just get back in the game.