Must. Write. Again.

‘Djever have one of those days where you find yourself expending energy trying to make everybody happy and only succeed in pissing everybody off?

Yeah, me neither.

A colleague of mine who’s been reading around in here noted the other day that Planned Obsolescence has of late become much more about my personal life (not personal personal, but, you know, personal) than about work; I’m not blogging my thoughts about books, about academia, about writing, even about television anymore. And I’ve been wondering since what that’s all about. Part of it is that the personal has been where the action is, of late–the condo obsession and the marathon training have taken over what little available brainspace I have. The rest, alas, is not taken up by deep thoughts of a bloggable nature; instead, it’s committee meetings and student crises, program reviews and visiting writers, this memo and that memo and the million and one stupid details of my administrative life that are constantly threatening to fly completely out of control.

The result of this overflow of nonsense is that I’m not watching any television, I’m not reading (except in the sense of desperate cramming-in of text in order to remember what it is I’m teaching), and I’m certainly not writing. And the result of that is an increasingly boring blog and an article that is becoming more and more overdue by the day. So overdue, in fact, that (as another colleague pointed out is her own tendency with the missed deadline) it now must be a work of genius in order to justify its lateness, and so it grows later and later and later.

I have to get back to work. To writing. I have to find ways to prioritize that time, in the same way that I’ve managed to prioritize my running–by doing it first, by keeping it relatively contained, by refusing to schedule anything else during that time. I need one inviolable hour every morning, one hour at home, before I go to the office, with no email, and no blogs, and nothing else but me and this damned article. One hour a day, and it’ll eventually get done.

The trying-to-make-everybody-happy problem, I’m not sure I can solve so easily. At least not without a licensed therapist. But the writing, I ought to be able to control. At least better than I am now.

3 thoughts on “Must. Write. Again.

  1. I’m sort of surprised no one else has commented on this post, because it’s EXACTLY how I feel. What drives me nuts is my internal conflict about “doing it first” – on the one hand, that’s when you’re supposed to write; on the other hand, that’s when you’re supposed to exercise. It’s worked for me, when I’ve done that, but I can’t do BOTH first. And both need to get done. And right now, given my 8 am teaching schedule, there’s NO way I’m getting up an hour earlier (when I have to be up by 5:30 at the latest anyway!). (I would actually consider getting up at 4:30 to write, but to get a full night’s sleep, I’d have to be in bed by **8:30 pm**, and that’s just impossible.)

    Sorry, this turned into a rant about me; all I meant to say was, I know the feeling!

  2. ergh, I’ve got a really overdue article too. more overdue than anything i’ve ever done (or not done) in my life.

    are you running LA? We are going there to support a friend who’s running it.

  3. The problem of “first” is huge, and I’ve actually debated with myself which first should be first. If I get up and go run first thing, will I still be able to sit down at the computer, do some work, and go shower before I need to be at school? (Perhaps, but unlikely.) If I get up and write first thing, will I manage to fit my run in? (Even more unlikely.) Is one worth sacrificing for the other?

    **crickets**

    I’m unwilling to make that choice. Which is to say that I’m not willing to de-prioritize running, because it’s the only thing I genuinely do for me, and not for my students, or my department, or my institution, or my career. So, in effect, I am sacrificing my writing time to my other needs, and persisting in feeling bad about it.

    On the other hand, what I want to do is find a way to say no to (or to reign in, at least) some of the other stuff in my life so that I don’t have to have two “firsts.” That’s my current challenge.

    As to running, though: yes, I am planning on running LA, Mel, though I’m a little concerned about my ability to finish, as of this writing. (See running log for last week.) But I’ll be there nonetheless, as will a cluster of my colleagues who have promised to dangle a bottle of champagne over the finish line to lure me on!

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