Beating my own personal best has always been tricky. I proved it last month when I tried to beat what I set up in July.
In July it was recorded that I could write forty thousand something words in a month. Of course the number came from the writing I submitted (almost) every day during that month. The number of words I actually produced by saying and writing might be much more than that; thank heaven nobody counted. I was awed because I didn’t determine any goal beforehand. It just happened; I was being productive.
For the month after I challenged myself to beat that record. However, I told myself that I shouldn’t lose one thing that made a competition more enjoyable: passion. The passion for writing, the passion for recording every day mundane stories, the passion for creating fictions, the passion for all things that made me voluntarily absorbed in the screen for a few hours a day.
I managed to achieve fifty thousand something words last August and I can tell you right away that it was not fun. Yep, somewhere along the way, I had lost the enjoyment of writing and of beating my own record. It’s not merely about the writing; it’s also about being overconnected to the virtual reality.
Like it or not, internet and its people and places have been something crucial since the pandemic hit the world earlier this year. The amount of time I’ve been spending my time on my phone these past eight months will be the same as the sum of five years.
Imagine that, imagine how much time I have been spending (or wasting) with the screen.
I miss real people, real connections, real natures, real conversations, real meet-ups, real everything. I miss breathing the fresh air, the polluted one, and the somewhere in between. I miss going for a long walk without worrying bumping into people who don’t wear any masks. I miss enjoying outdoor and traveling as much as I did.
None of that can be done by the internet.
Virtual tours don’t even count as subsitute for real ones. Imagine looking at the paintings with your own eyes, touching the sculptures with your own hands, breathing the fragrance of a museum or an art gallery. All of those were real last year. Ah, the National Museum was the last museum we visited some time in October 2019. It was a magnificent experience compared to the confinement we’re having right now.
And so it happens, writing much, structuring my thoughts, building my arguments have stopped being enjoyable altogether. Is it because I’m now occupied with other things? I’m afraid so.
For me, writing is not the only important thing in my life. It’s just a tiny weeny fragment of how complex, complicated, and occupied my daily life is. I’ve got my family, the house, the business to start with. Writing and learning music come as the non-prioritized things. Surely I can move writing to top priority, but nah, it’s not even worth it.
First and foremost, I’m a homemaker. A homemaker’s priority is the home and its occupants. Second of all, people need furnitures more than they need good fictions. That being said, when time is limited I’d prefer manage the business than sit for a couple of hours constructing an otherwordly story.
Writing came as a hobby, then it became an occupation. I have to thread the water carefully, not to lose myself in the sense of obligation a job demands and not to forget what a hobby should be about. For spare time. For stress relief. For healing. For social connection. For enjoyment.
Why I keep repeating the word “enjoyment”, I know the reason for sure. I’ve lost it, I’ve lost the sense of enjoyment somewhere along the way. So I need to break free, step back for a while, and examine what I am after.
I can write much, that I know. I can dissect an issue from various point of views and later draw a solid conclusion from them, that I am used to. Nothing can stop me from structuring an exposition, if nothing is the limit.
The state I am right now is I’m on a tight schedule. Time is indeed my limit. I am being occupied almost every second of the day, that I realize how close I’ve become to the brink of being burned out. It started last week when I was trying to be multitasking like I always do. It wreaked havoc. I just couldn’t do it any longer.
I heard that mindfulness is the trend. I heard that people should stop being multitasking and start minding one issue in one time, one step at a time. Being mindful is not easy at all. It takes strong will, determination, focus, and concentration.
I’m feeling my way going into that direction. Being overwhelmed with tasks has left me strained and anxious. Even the simple gesture of looking at my phone makes my head want to explode. I know that the stressors are right there. The information, the conversation, the follow-ups are all there. I need to avoid them for a while to get back to myself.
Will I abandon writing completely?
Not at all. I learned from a bitter experience that writing should be as natural as an exercise. I can make writing habitual like when I plan to make running my every day sport (fingers crossed). I need to train my writing muscles. Abandoning it won’t get me to another skill level.
So how about this, instead of measuring how much I can write in a month, how about setting a narrower and daily constraint?
How much can I write in thirty minutes?
What will I write in thirty minutes?
Will it be a complete or a halfway through narration?
Will I be able to jot down my thoughts in a concise manner during that very short time?
Will I still enjoy the writing process itself?
I have managed to write this in exactly thirty minutes. I’m off to a good start for the next twenty-eight days of this month challenge.