Monday, August 27, 2012

Pushing

I became extraordinarily frustrated with myself this weekend.

It was around writing.  Specifically, it was around the fact that I simply could not get myself motivated to write. 

The idea is there.  The first few chapters are there.  But I just seem to have hit a wall.  And not just creatively.  Output as well.  Sure, I put together a list of how much I need to write each day, yet most days fly by and there is no output because I can conveniently find something else to work on, and the fact that the text is not flowing is no incentive either.

My frustration hit a peak on Saturday, when I had accomplished all I need to by noon and was feeling as if I had nothing else to do.

So I started writing.

It was not the work I have been toiling on - in fact, it is something completely different, something inspired by this blog.  I had written one chapter and part of another.  I finished the chapter, sat back and looked at it.

And wrote another.

Before long the afternoon had descended into a marathon of writing, of an intent - which became a commitment - to finish this thing I was working on.  To finish something.  To not, as so often had been the case, to have yet another idea hanging in the closet of my life, not quite finished with no real deadline for it to be.

It struck me as odd (the farther that I got into the writing)  how easily a fixation can become a mania.  In one afternoon, I seemed to pass the the line from not being able to write a thing to having to get a completed draft out on paper.  It's almost as if the underlying pent up frustration of not being able to move forward on this - or seemingly any - front of life manifested itself into a driven passion - almost frustrated anger - of filling up the empty page with its blinking cursor.

The remarkable thing:  after 5 hours of relatively focused concentration (and mania-like manifestations)  I had a draft.  A draft, of course, is hardly a working final copy and this one promises to be a bit rougher than most, but a draft all the same.

Looking at the file window with the chapter name neatly arranged, I wondered what had gotten me to to that point in the afternoon.  What had started me from feeling nothing was happening to a complete rough draft in an afternoon?

Pushing.  I pushed myself. 

I am not a man that typically likes to push himself to his limits.  I know this about myself, even as I despise it as a characteristic.  I don't enjoy the pushed, the driven, the times that I have known them.  They are too often socially inept, unpleasant to be around, so focused on their own project that they have no time for anyone else.  In so many ways, they make social interactions harder, not easier.

But they do get things done.  And this is the issue I need to resolve:  is there a method of pushing which does not involve collapsing into relational limbo, into a world so self and project centered that the great task of daily life that one becomes useful for anything else?

I hope there is. Because finishing a draft is the best feeling in the world.

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