In the previous entry I wrote about a series of suggestions about becoming a better blogger and what I thought about them (they are all worth following, if not THE guidance – such thing doesn't exist). This entry is about one suggestion I created for myself that worked. It is not universally applicable and requires a certain amount of discipline, but if I were to pick only one rule that I should follow, this is it: Force yourself to write.
Writing (=typing), so far, is the only bootstrapping activity that works when I am down. Recently, I came home with a beaten heart, and whatever I could think of to distract my mind, let alone lift it up, did not seem to work. I did not want to write either, because writing a blog entry or even a Facebook snippet is still a task that has a certain level to be achieved. I didn't have the power to challenge myself.
But this time I knew I had to push myself because part of the reason of the down-ness came from realizing that I have a long-time habit of looking for an external cure (friends, entertainment) when I am in a bad situation. They certainly make me feel better, but they never SOLVE the core problem for me. It is astonishing why I couldn't see this point clear after so many years. There is one person who can make changes, and zero other than myself.
Reluctantly I opened my Typepad dashboard; writing was still the only thing that seemed to lift myself up and at the same time push me. I started typing on my computer and before I knew an hour had passed. Everything bad that happened previously went out of my head, or more precisely, were left in the peripheral field of my head, half-ignored. Putting the words in order and making the story work as much as possible became my priority, at least for the time. Writing did not solve any of the problem I had. But at least it allowed me to sleep peacefully. There is always a better way out as long as we wake up in the morning having a good sleep.
I knew it was a special case – in most days, writing does not come easily. Commenting or replying based on an email or article is easy, but creating a structured writing on my own is a real work with sole responsibility on myself, which is what I do not want to face especially when I am feeling down.
The interesting thing is that even though writing a blog entry did not directly solve the issues I had, therefore putting writing into one of the "distracting" activities, I did not feel guilty at all. A distraction is called a distraction because of the guilt you feel when you face real life afterward, finding yourself sitting in the same old position, having changed nothing. Looking the other way is not the same as moving on… In addition, self-criticism, guilt, and shame are in fact, distractions in disguise. Therefore the vicious cycle continues…
Writing did not work that way. I got energized, and at the same time, I did not have the feeling that I wasn't doing what I was supposed to do (I won't go so far to say I did the right thing). I still woke up during my sleep, but instead of the naked 3AM terror of regret, I went to my laptop and wrote another entry: this one. And I still had a nice sleep after all.
- When in doubt, write.
- Getting started is the hardest writing activity. Work on it.
- Don't wait for a last-minute rescue team to arrive when you are down.
- Reusing a link is lame.