Let me start by saying I know I’ve done wrong.
Blogs should not go months without posts. Especially blogs about blogging and writing that start with a commitment to regularly produce.
But here I am, ready and willing to end my sordid ways.
The past few months have been a whirlwind, and unfortunately, all writing that didn’t have an impending deadline from an external source fell to the wayside. I’ve spent a solid chunk of time on my arts and culture magazine/master’s degree thesis-project, ArtSTALK – mostly in analyzing successes and failures and piecing together an educational initiative I hope to implement in the future.
Now, with ArtSTALK well on its way to world-domination (or at least domination of my own world), I am proud to say that this upcoming Saturday, the University of Iowa will officially bestow upon me the title of “Journalism Master” (or at least this is how I will henceforth refer to myself). And as soon as I finish grading this stack of student finals that’s currently overtaking my desk, I’ll be commitment-free. Which is great, but it’s also daunting.
So having mastering journalism and all that, my next step is…to…
Well, honestly, I’ve been having a tough time deciding exactly what to tackle next. You know when you’re bogged down with school/work/other obligatory nonsense and you just wish you could just have a little time to devote to your own would-be projects? I’ve always wanted to try my hand at writing a spec script, or a collection of short stories, or a horror novel, or a nonfiction book on death penalty administration (hey, I’m a writer, so I’m allowed to be eccentric). Now that I have the time, I have no idea where to start.
In How We Decide, author Jonah Lehrer argues that despite what our capitalist society may lead us to believe, abundance of choice is far from a universal good. Our brains can only process a finite amount of information at one time, and when we’re given too many options, we tend to freak out, often wasting more time analyzing the options than decision is worth.
A common tactic authors use to overcome creative and mental blocks is to simply pick a place and start writing. That way, however terrible your creative decisions flow (or don’t flow, as it were), at least you’ll have a tangible product to show for your day’s efforts. (Plus, if you’re at your literary bottom, the only place you can go is up.)
Recognizing I was entering a state of analysis paralysis, I made a compromise mini-decision – I’d start devoting more time to this blog, using it to brainstorm my way into a compelling writing project. In so doing, I plan to post writing and editing tips, social media marketing tricks and recommended reads from both the Interwebs as well as good ol’ print.
Through this, I hope to get my artistic juices flowing and go wherever my inspiration takes me. If you’re a young writer, aspiring blogger, semi-blocked creative, or any person interested in the creative process, I hope you’ll join me in my journey – I think we could learn a lot from each other.