0665 – keep going, do reviews and improve yourself

In 2000 words, I would have completed 2/3rds of this project. Strangely, I don’t have a lot of feelings about this. I seem to feel the 10% intervals more strongly – 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 were the major events. 500 especially so, probably. At 100 I felt like I was barely beginning to know what I was doing. At 200 I felt like I was starting to get into the swing of things. I think the good stuff started happening at 300. The 400s felt like a strong run. I don’t really think much about the 500s and 600s, but if I examine them I’m sure I’ll find them to be dramatically superior to the first 200.

If I partitioned them into thirds… the first third was weak, the second third was strong, and hopefully the last third will be great. I find myself waffling and slowing down – I wrote almost nothing for the entire month of April 2017. Perhaps a part of me is subconsciously terrified of not improving past this plateau. Like I’ve somehow peaked as a writer and I’m not going to get any better.

Writing down the last sentence reveals it to be hogwash. It’s a faulty limiting belief that makes no sense. It’s well-established that lots of writers take decades to get good. And it’s highly improbable that I’m not going to make any improvement over the next 300,000 words, when it’s clear that I’ve improved twice already (within this framework). Maybe I’m frustrated because it’s not super clear or obvious what the improvement is going to be?

Writing down that last sentence reveals some obvious new options. I can write down my own goals and agendas. One thing I want to get better at is partitioning my writing in a way that is presentable. That means being more reader-centric. I unshackled myself from being reader-centric when I first started this project back in 2012, because I was trapped in a very performative sort of voice. I was writing with too many words, and my sentences were overwrought. As I write this, I can sense quite clearly that I have a superior sense of rhythm now. I don’t make palatability a priority in these vomits, because the original intent was just to get everything out of my head. But I think now it’s time to revise that.

I feel like most of what was in my head is now out. This statement is probably not factually accurate – but it feels accurate because there’s just so much material here. I have written down my thoughts, but I have not really taken the time to read them. As a result, I find myself repeating my thoughts over and over again, which is boring. To make progress, I’m going to have to re-read my thoughts. To edit and consolidate. This stuff is ‘boring’ compared to the heady feeling of just writing like a maniac. But I had also said in a much earlier vomit that I didn’t want to fill up my vomits with non-stop drivel. I want my vomits to reveal progress on my part. I am my own arbiter here. I am writing to satisfy myself, to please myself, to win myself over. So if I feel that something needs to be done before I can continue writing like a maniac, then I need to do it.

I have been in two minds over what exactly needs to be done. A part of me felt like I should pause the entire project and just switch into editing mode. And I think I definitely did that for a while. But it became clear that editing the material en masse was going to be an endless task. If I had stayed on that path, I would’ve gotten anxious and frustrated. That will not do for the context of a personal project. This project is supposed to be challenging, but it’s also supposed to be rewarding. I can be a little bit of a masochist, but I’m not going to be insane about it.

So what next then? I’m going to have to do two things at once. I’m going to keep writing at a steady tempo – 1 a day would be good. And then I’m going to have to make reviews a part of my everyday process. My god, I’ve definitely said this at least a dozen times. What stops me from doing it? I know – I probably have some sort of deep rooted issues, maybe from childhood, that keeps me from doing it. My brain keeps coming up with elaborate excuses for avoiding the truth about the necessity of reviews. So I need to sit with myself and do some therapy with myself and really just made daily reviews a serious, critical part of my every day life.

I need to dig pretty deep into my brain for this. My previous attempts have not been successful. But I am not discouraged. I know that I taught myself to cook when I used to have issues dealing with food. I know that I managed to get myself to squat 90kg when I used to be afraid to even squat 40kg. (I probably can’t squat 90kg right now, but I know I can work my way back to it). I had trouble keeping up with my remedial training for NS in the past few years, but I’m going to finish them on time this year – and I plan to not have to need them next year. So that’s progress. I went months without smoking, and I don’t smoke at work – I know I can make progress on all of those things. I am a person who is capable of improving things. Of improving myself. For my own pleasure and utility.

I’m going to go to bed in a bit. I think progress is going to require me to do more meditation, more reviews. I already know this. I just avoid it all the time, because it’s scary and uncomfortable and unfamiliar maybe. But I also know that it’s far scarier and far more uncomfortable to end up being stagnant.

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