The Something of Doing Nothing

I’ve come to a point in my life where I am not as creative nor am I as in tune with my own thoughts and feelings as I used to be. This has greatly increased my anxiety and depression as well as made it painfully difficult at times to deal with everyday situations. Writing has been, for most of my life, the main outlet for my thoughts and emotions. I have often said that I don’t know what I really think or feel about something until I’ve written about it. Since I’ve had more and more to occupy my time and have opened my journal less and less, I feel like I have lost something, I feel like I am barely holding together even though many things in my life are going well. Even when I sit down and try to write, try to unblock those rivers, my mind is cloudy and I can’t really focus; I can’t really get much more than a few drops out. I’ve realized (I’ve known all along, really) that one of the main things holding me back is the fact that I am always doing, even when I’m just relaxing. I’m always doing school work or running errands or reading something or watching videos or listening to podcasts or making plans or organizing or researching or spending time with people, etcetera. None of these things are bad, it’s just that there is something very important that I’ve stopped doing: nothing. I’ve stopped staring out of the window and letting my mind wander. I’ve stopped moving my pen aimlessly, drawing unidentifiable shapes as I explore my own thoughts and memories. I’ve stopped sitting down to write about nothing in particular, just to get it out. I’ve stopped laying on the floor and praying about anything and everything that comes to mind. These are the things that used to keep me sane. These are the things that helped me to reflect and to understand what was really going on in my head. These are the things that kept my creative juices flowing and my fictional characters breathing and my head on relatively straight. I somehow adopted the idea that it would be a waste of time to do such things, that if I was going to just sit and relax, I might as well be watching, reading, or listening to something, or I should be going somewhere. I forgot that I have to stop to really think – even if I’m afraid of what I might discover. Many, if not all, great writers and thinkers take time to do nothing, to just stare, to just think. Great minds understand the importance of spending quality time alone with themselves. I think many of us focus so much on the importance of community and of spending time with others and the importance of productivity that we forget that it is equally important to spend time in our own minds, even if only for a few minutes in our busy schedules.

PS – I have been trying to write about this for a while now, but have had trouble writing it just the way I want it. Then I saw this video talking about pretty much the same thing and figured I should just get it out, no matter how much I disapprove of the way I wrote it. Anyway, I thought I’d also share said video. Though the writer of it is not of my worldview, I agree with most of what is expressed there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lz-qrVUecE

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It’s Coming…

So, we are coming to the end of October. You know what that means…
Halloween?
Yes, but…no.
Midterms?
No!
Daylight savings…?
No no no. NaNoWriMo of course!
What’s that?
National Novel Writing Month! NaNoWriMo! That’s right, it’s time to prepare to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Yep, just 30 days.
Why on earth would you do that to yourself?
I don’t really know how to answer that.

[End of annoyingly stupid segment in which I talk to myself with the purpose of distracting the reader from realizing that I’m really no good at starting these things. Also-to quickly tell the reader what NaNoWriMo is.]

I have attempted NaNoWriMo twice so far and have failed both times. However, last year was a definite improvement from the previous year. I am hopeful that I will get even further this time…maybe I’ll even win this year. The odds are definitely against me, though. The last two years, I came to November prepared. I had story ideas that I was excited about and characters ready to be developed. This year…I’ve got nothing. I have no idea what I’m going to write about. Sure, I’ve started brainstorming, but nothing has really jumped out to me. I don’t like the ideas that I’ve come up with, so I’ve trashed them. Another thing that could hinder me is schoolwork. My classes this semester are a lot more demanding than the classes I’ve taken in the past. So…this will be interesting. I came very close to talking myself out of even attempting NaNoWriMo this year, but I just couldn’t back down. I just have to try. There is always time to write, and the fact that a NaNoWriMo novel doesn’t need to be good–in fact, it’s doubtful that anyone will read it besides me–takes away a lot of the pressure. It might even be refreshing after writing so many things for school assignments that actually need to be well-written. I can just come home and write as carelessly as I wish. And that’s really the point of NaNoWriMo. To just write. It doesn’t need to be good. You don’t have to impress anyone. Nobody cares. Just get the words down. Create something. It’s a terrible and wonderful thing.

So, I know I haven’t really sold it very well, but I do highly recommend it. It really is a good exercise. So, if NaNoWriMo sounds like something you’d like to do, head on over to www.nanowrimo.org and create a profile!
Also, if you are interested in tracking my progress, or if you want to add me as a writing buddy, you can check out my NaNoWriMo profile here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/459521

November 1st is coming!

I may be procrastinating…

I’m . . . back?

So . . . this is awkward. My last blog post was posted three months shy of a full year ago. A lot can happen in that amount of time. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to decide that none of that was worth blogging about. And now I am out of practice. Let me clarify: 1. There were many blog-worthy events that have happened during this silent era and 2. I have been writing, just not blogging . . . there is a difference.

I’m wondering if anyone is going to read this, since it has been so long, and everyone who read it before probably suspects that this page is cold and buried. I do miss doing this and really want to start doing it again more regularly, but I need to get back into the swing of things. So this is sort of a test run for me to see if I can still do this style of writing.

Goodness, this must be a boring read. I apologize. You have my permission to fix your attentions elsewhere. Perhaps you are waiting to hear back from a friend on Facebook, or you’re wondering if the Vlogbrothers have posted a new video on Youtube today. Go right ahead. Click away, this is merely a practice post. I’ll think of something more interesting to talk about next time. Perhaps tomorrow. No . . . I’ll be finishing the homework that I’m supposed to be doing right now.

Speaking of homework . . . That is probably the main contributing factor to my absence here. Especially this semester. I am taking a Creative Writing: Creative Non-Fiction class. I have been reading a lot and working on a piece for this class. I am writing a memoir-style short story. I am estimating that it will be 15 to 20 pages long. That seemed daunting at first, but the more I get into it, the more it seems that it might actually be longer.
I’m not really sure if I’m actually enjoying writing it. Not that I’m hating it, or anything. It’s just . . . difficult. I’m writing about the experience of losing my mom. I’ve told the story to various people before, so I thought it wouldn’t be that hard. But it is. It most certainly is. I’m hitting so many road blocks that I can’t really imagine reaching my destination anymore. I will, but it’s not going to be easy. It’s a hard place to revisit and my memory has been failing me in certain areas where my story is begging for details. I have to be vigilant in my constant struggle against explaining my emotions and coming off as whiney and pathetic. I definitely think that this class is growing me as a writer. There are so many things that I didn’t even take into account before. Like showing rather than telling and trusting my audience.
I have to keep reminding myself why I am writing this story. It is not necessarily for sympathy. I am writing it because I sort of need to write it. I’ve gotten it out verbally, now I need to get it out textually. I understand my thoughts and memories better when I have written them out. I am writing this story because I don’t want the pictures to fade as they are already. I am writing this story because revisiting the sight reminds me of the things that I have learned. I am writing this story because it could possibly have a positive affect on someone else . . . not that I’m necessarily going to let everyone read it 😛 .  But anyway, I’m not sure if this is a story that needs to be told or needs to be heard (or read) but I am compelled to write it nonetheless.

So, anyway, that was a little glimpse of what my mind has been going through over the past few months. I hope it was slightly interesting to read. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with it 😛 . As mentioned before, I’m just trying to get back into this because I miss it.     . . . also, I was having trouble with my homework and needed a break 🙂 .

Hopefully I’ll keep at this.

A Novel In a Month?

This month is going to be one of the most busy and hectic months of my life…and it is all my doing. So I’m a kind of behind in my school-work because last week, I spent almost no time on homework due to the car accident, John Green’s book signing (truly the highlight of my week…and possibly month…year? haha), halloween, and other busy fun things. Plus I’ve been making more of an effort to go to church, which means I have to learn to manage my time better. So yeah, those are my excuses for being behind(not to mention I ditched some of my classes…I know, I’m a terrible scholar haha). So this month I really need to buckle down because the semester is going to be over before I know it. Another reason I will be busy this month is because it contains two very important birthdays of friends that I see often, therefore I will, no doubt, be invited to whatever it is they are putting on…or whatever. Reason 3: thanksgiving + christmas-shopping-rush at work(most likely). #4-My best friend Jen and I are going to see my favorite band, The Decemberists! I can’t wait!!!

Thing 5: NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month that is. I’ve decided to participate in it this year, and I’m quite excited about it. If you don’t know, NaNoWriMo is this thing where every november whoever wants to participate, writes a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. No joke: start writing on November 1st and be finished by November 30th. It’s basically just a thing to get your creative juices flowing and help you not to worry so much about whether or not it is “good.” Just write it, get it out, do what you want…and if it’s crap, it’s crap and your just awesome for even trying. And naturally, since I am an aspiring author, this really appealed to me. I’m getting a late start though, because I didn’t decide to do it until the 5th, so I need to get crack’n! But even if I don’t finish all the way to 50,000 words, it will be nice to have tried, and perhaps I will continue to write even when it’s all over…maybe it will actually be good haha. 
If you want to know more about NaNoWriMo, and maybe even join, the website is: http://www.nanowrimo.org/
…and my personal profile on there is at: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/459521
…so if you want to do it too, make a profile and whatnot then add me as a writing buddy and we can encourage each other and whatnot. I’d love that 🙂

So yeah. Now you know why I will be busy this month. So that, of course means that my blogs will be few and far between…well most likely anyway. Maybe I will post excerpts of my novel every once in a while…if I deem it worthy.