The "Lost in My Twenties" Update

I don't have the words to be honest. Maybe I'm confused, maybe I'm insecure, maybe I've put writing aside so long my skills have atrophied. But I don't know how to talk to you honestly about my life. Maybe a visual representation would help. See, whenever a new responsibility comes my way (usually with some bland kind of "I know you can handle it" attached), I'm like:

I'll just put this over here with the rest of the fire.

I don't feel as busy as I claim to be, or as I should be. I'm barely a writer, with even my personal journal just limping along. Despite all my fascination with subjects ranging from fantasy to philosphy, and despite my interest in exploring these subjects through fiction or a blog or a vlog, I can never progress from research to actual work - at least not with any kind of consistency.

I'm an anxious person. My anxious response is often to swerve the thing I'm anxious about. I call that Avoidance Mode.

Let's say I want to write a twine game. (You may remember I said I was doing this in my last blog entry. Here's what my brain, in Avoidance Mode, might think:

Hey look, there goes the point.

Research is, of course, a form of procrastination. It can be useful, but only if you actually get around to working on the thing you're researcing. In fact, it can also discourage you from starting, because having too much information can make something overwhelming. Having too much information makes you painfully aware of all the mistakes you can make and all the ways you can fail. Avoidance Mode really is about avoiding failure.

Well, the medallion says that's dumb.

And indeed, it is dumb. There are (approximately) 800 pieces of good advice in Neil Gaiman's commencement speech Make Good Art and among them is his advice to "make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes."

That piece of advice is almost as useful as this next bit of advice, which Neil got from Stephen King and ignored: "This is really great. You should enjoy it."

The part of me that wants to have everything figured out bounces back and forth between the past and future, without ever stopping in the present to look around and think things are really good right now. Unfortunately, the part of me that pays any attention to the present tends to be willfully ignorant of my responsibilities, avoiding them for productive things (exercise, mediation, cooking) and also less productive things (YouTube, Netflix, online video in general).

So...wait a minute, was there a point to all this?

Oh God, I'm sorry, am I still here?

No, there was no point. I told you I didn't have the words. I just wanted to say that I'm confused, and I'm scared. I want someone to tell me what to do, but that's not the way this works. And besides, I know what to do. I just have to buckle down and do it. That's the hard part.

Enough. Enough now.

Let's get to work.

July 4, 2016

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