Off the Wagon Again

This Post was originally published on April 4th, 2014

Bless me father for I have sinned, it has been 19 years since my last confession, 2 days since my last Heady Topper, and 26 days since the last time I metaphorically put pen to paper to enlighten and entertain the masses.

We have all been there. You get the good start and begin believing in your self. You start generating a portfolio of work and a measurable sample to measure your achievements by. For the first time in a long time you start feeling like you are moving in the right direction and working toward a goal that has been in your head for a while. Then it all goes to shit.

I was doing well with writing, cranking out one or two pieces per week, having some hit or miss success, but then I went on vacation and who the hell wants to bang on a keyboard when on vacation. While there I talked to some of my friends about how much I enjoy writing and what a release it has become to me. They gave me good feedback and seemed pleased with my progress. I was even told my someone who is not on Facebook that he had seen my writings and how he enjoyed them. I swore that I would start up as soon as I got home and was brimming with ideas about things to write about and projects to tackle. But as you might have seen I dropped the ball on that.

I hate excuses, because excuses are lame bullshit no matter how you slice it. The past few weeks have been crazy because of work. Not just the number of jobs, but the time required in order to pull off a huge project at my primary job have left me sapped of energy. After a tough shift or in the midst of a long stretch of days it is hard to muster the mental energy to sit here and bang out a 1200 word essay. People often point out that since I started at the hospital I work shorter shifts so therefore I should be more rested than when I worked 12 or 14 hour shifts in retail. I actually feel worse because even when I was working 60 or 70 hours a week in retail I still managed to have at least a few days off to relax and get things done. Now I feel like I work every day, in part because I work 6 or 7 days out of every week. This day in day out grueling schedule combined with being on call most nights leave me exhausted. These excuses are still bullshit, I said I was going to write often and I failed myself and other, it may happen again, but I will keep trying.

I have always loved words. I grew up reading everything that I could get my hands on which gave me a great vocabulary and an appreciation of sentence structure. I was always playing with words listening to songs and started changing them around like Weird Al did when I was 8 or 9. As I got older I started writing my own poetry and songs in an attempt to express myself in an original manner. Double entendres were (and still are) my favorite, the idea of a simple word or phrase having two meanings that can only be expressed with a wink and a smile was delightful. My brief teenage foray into music was less about the musical aspects of the songs than having an outlet to express words that I mashed together. I am an avid reader, but lately I have found myself focusing on the flow and the structure rather than just following the subject matter. This was one of the triggers that got me pointed toward trying to create something.

Writing itself has always been hard for me. The only thing more atrocious than my penmanship is my spelling, and that was often enforced by my teachers during the pre personal computer world that I grew up in. Not that I would have done it even if I was encouraged by my teachers. Writing is hard, that is why there are so few successful authors. It takes a lot of work and dedication to keep it up. The several weeks of radio silence from me testify how diligent I can and can’t be. Writing is emotional, you need to have a connection to what you are writing about in order for it to flow, or to have people think what you are writing about is interesting. As exciting as my life seem in 160 character posts in reality it is just a cycle of working and sleeping that everybody else goes through. I live alone, I don’t have many local friends, I don’t have time to accomplish much, so I don’t have much in the way of subject matter. I am also kind of scared about how things will be received. In this overblown world where the minute you say something wrong you wind up getting smeared all over the internet it is tough to put your true feelings out there.

A good friend of mine reminded me last month that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This is a great way to make lifestyle changes. 21 days to work out, or to clean the house, or maybe 21 days to write. Lord knows that I need better habits, maybe breaking them down into 21 day segments will be a way that I can put a few new ones in place. I have tried monthly challenges like Sobruary and the 40 day challenge that is lent, but those are short term goals instead of long term lifestyle changes maybe taking it in smaller intervals will help cement everything easier. Who knows maybe I can use this 21 day rule to change a few of the other things that are screwed up in my life.

I heard that the key to being a writer is writing. As simple as that may sound it is the truth. I have no aspirations to become a novelist or to do anything special, but I just want to put my thoughts down on paper. This release helps to ground me and keep me sane while giving other insights on my life to the people around me. From the feedback that I have gotten from a lot of different sources it also seems to entertain people and maybe even inspire them to look at things just a little bit differently. So here is my challenge. I am going to work my way into it by writing 1-3 things each week for the next 2 weeks. Starting on Monday April 21st I am going to write something each day for 21 days. I may not hit the 1200 word cap that I was looking for. It may not be any good. Hell I might not even post it, but I am going to do it. Hopefully having this commitment will move me forward toward some unknown path, or maybe it will convince me that writing isn’t my forte and cause me to move on. I relish your feedback so if you see me slacking please call me out on it, there is no motivation quite like shame.

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