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Methods of Procrastination, Chapter 3: Procrastinception and Restarting

In Creative Inspiration, Methods of Procrastination on May 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm

In previous blog posts I have written about procrastination, not from a self-help, “how to become more effective” point-of-view, but from a contrarian perspective which celebrates the stalled, the stuck, the inert.

Since it has been four years since I updated this blog with new posts, it only seems fitting that I revisit this series on the Methods of Procrastination.

At the end of my penultimate post, I wrote, “I should be back to writing a regular weekly blog in May.” That was in 2013.

Okay. So what kept me from writing this blog? In no specific order:

  • Oddly enough, writing. I initially stopped because I was writing a poem a day for National Poetry month in April and I didn’t feel like I had the energy to work a full-time job and do both writing projects at the same time, not if I wanted to do them well.
  • Moving, which is actually a several month long process of packing, moving, unpacking. I’m still unpacking.
  • Developing a new audio drama podcast. My writing partner Sam and I have come up with a great idea that we are certain people are going to love. We believe the fans of our previous series, the Lovecraftian horror- soap opera The Unspeakable and the Inhuman, will enjoy this as will a bunch of new listeners. Can’t talk much about it now because we are still in the development stage. And honestly, the momentum we had going got derailed by the next item on my list.
  • Writing a novel. My writing partner Sam suggested I participate in National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo), since he and several friends of his were doing it. I started last year. Still working on it.

(Side Note: I am a king of procrastination. Do you see that I have a knack for stacking procrastinations on top of each other? Not one, not two, not three, but FOUR writing projects have been delayed by OTHER writing projects. It’s a Russian nesting doll of procrastination, a veritable procrastination-Inception (a Procrastinception, if you will).)

  • Taking care of my mother while undergoing cancer treatment. That took a few months. No worries. She’s in remission now.
  • Being unemployed and looking for a new job. Still looking for work right now.
  • Spending an incalculable amount of time watching YouTube videos whenever I found myself bored or stressed and then didn’t realize that I had spent hours looking at videos until I noticed that the amount of sunlight had changed.

I don’t remember what else. It seems like there should be more. That seems to be enough for a single year of procrastination, but four years?

The truth is none of these things became obstacles to me writing my blog. They were actually priorities. They were things I prioritized over writing the blog and the number one thing I prioritized was depression, an intricate series of thought processes, emotional habits, and self-doubts that led me to prioritize believing my contribution to the world, of my writing, was not a worthwhile thing.  I saw writing as self-indulgent, unimportant, frivolous, and not as significant as other contributions I could make, such as activism, financial investment, political participation, doing “real” work. I sought and received treatment for the depression and am now much better. I still have to combat the internalized voices that want to warp my sense of self-worth, but  I have come to realize that there is actually nothing harmful about bringing my writing to the world. My writing has never damaged the world.  In fact, it has created joy in more than a few. A few have told me such and I am choosing to believe them. Writing is also the main thing I want to do in my life. It is the main contribution to the world I wish to bring. If this contribution creates joy and causes no harm, then I am doing a greater wrong by not writing, because I am actively not adding to the potential joy in the world. So I’m deciding, it is my duty to write, advance my craft and put my writing in the world. I have to do more of it and make more of it happen.

I’m reminded that when I started this blog, I was stymied by my own impossible standards of how this blog should go. At the end of my first blog entry, I wrote:

I’m going to write every day, freewrite, long hand, for at least 10 minutes, and at the end of the week I’ll edit one (or more) of my freewrites as I type it and then post it. No excuses. Every Monday, there should be something new posted here, whether or not it’s perfect. This is how I’ll engage the practice of vulnerability and imperfection.

I don’t know that I will post every week, but this is a good model to continually engage the continuous craft of vulnerability and imperfection. You will see more blogs soon.

Writing through Depression

In Creative Inspiration on March 12, 2013 at 5:10 am

So the last couple of days I’ve felt stuck. Stuck, stuck, and stuck. I don’t know what to do. I’m just pushing buttons on the keyboard in order for something to happen. It’s like a black cloud crawled across my imagination, as if my ability to visualize has become overcast and I can’t see anything other than the gray I feel.

Man, that seems like a mopey, self-indulgent description of teenage angst. And that last sentence of self-criticism was a symptom of the depression I’m actually feeling. I’m reminded of the book The Midnight Disease by Alice Faherty. In it she discusses writer’s block and depression and how depression is a force that suppresses and inspires writing. Right now I am trying to just shamble forward with this creative act in hopes that I will somehow write myself out of the well, scrambling word by word to pull myself out.

Writing is actually my number one tool for crawling out of depression. Many other useful tools I’ve found in David Burns’ book Feeling Good. The tools in his book have worked for me off and on, but if you suffer from chronic depression, your mileage may vary. One of the tools is his distinction of the difference between sadness and depression. It’s not simply one of degree. “Either sadness or depression can develop after a loss or a failure in your efforts to reach a goal of great personal importance.” The main difference between the two is that, “sadness never involves a lessening of your self-esteem.” This was an important distinction for me. Sadness I can tolerate as part of a healthy grieving process, but depression I’ve come to realize I have to do something about or it will start to erode my sense of self-worth.

Burns says, “Depression is an illness that always results from thoughts that are distorted in some way.” Depression is not caused by the external circumstances of your world, but by flaws in thinking that are distorted and unrealistic. Recognizing and confronting these cognitive distortions is helpful.

The ten basic cognitive distortions are:

  1. All –or –Nothing Thinking – this is the mental state of the self-defeating perfectionist, who believes if it isn’t perfect, it’s worthless.
  2. Overgeneralization – the belief that one problem, obstacle, or defeat is demonstrative of how you will never get things right.
  3. Mental Filter – focusing only on the negative to the extent that it colors every possible outcome.
  4. Disqualifying the Positive – deciding that anything good that comes along doesn’t really count
  5. Jumping to Conclusions – there are two main ways this occurs:  a. Mind Reading – jumping to conclusions about what someone else is thinking with little or no evidence.  b. The Fortune Telling Error – making guesses about the negative outcome of a future event with little to no evidence
  6. Magnification (Castarophizing) or Minimization – exaggerating the negative consequences of a mistake or failure, or shrinking the good and helpful qualities of something, such as your own strengths.
  7. Emotional Reasoning – believing that because you feel so badly about something, your negative thoughts about that thing must be true.
  8. Should Statements – obligations you give to yourself to motivate you, but if you fail in meeting them, your sense of self-worth decreases.
  9. Labeling and Mislabeling – this is basically name-calling, giving yourself with a negative label instead of dealing with the problem or behavior itself.
  10. Personalization – feeling personally responsible for something that has gone wrong when you weren’t the primary cause of the problem.

Burns suggests talking back to your internal critic by identifying which cognitive distortion you are exhibiting and write a rational response to yourself about what is really going on. It may seem odd, but recognizing the truth in this manner often puts me on the road to feeling better and more motivated. If you want more detail on this process and his other tools, an approach called cognitive therapy, I suggest checking out his book.

I wrote this as, like a lot my blog posts as of late, a reminder to myself, but also as something that I hope other might find useful since a lot of people I know seem to suffer from occasional feelings of low self-worth and depression.  I’m going to end this post here because I have a lot more writing I have to get to.

Creative Rapport

In Creative Inspiration on February 26, 2013 at 2:52 am

There are weeks when I feel I am accomplishing nothing. This is not simple procrastination (which I wrote about three weeks ago). This instead feels like a loss of vision, a lack of passion, and a straying from, not merely my creative goals, but from my creative self.

I feel like a sleeper agent that has forgotten his mission, as if I’ve grown up in enemy territory and forgotten whose side I’m on. I recognize that being on my own side is an important thing. What this means is that I have to re-establish rapport with myself, reconnect with my mission, my interests, my passion and drives, and break away from the millions of things that, while entertaining, distract me from myself and creative drive.

Here are some of the things I’ve discovered that are essential for re-establishing and maintaining rapport with creative self:

• Cross-pollination: I find this to be the key to my imagination and inspiration. It just means taking in as much stimuli from different sources as your brain and senses can comfortably handle. Read a novel. Go to poetry readings. Attend lectures on interesting subjects or download TED talks. Read interesting non-fiction about history, crime, global politics, or whatever you find interesting that you don’t already know a lot about. I’m not suggesting you choose between these things. I’m suggesting you do all of them at once or at least within the span of a week or two. Keep uploading interesting stuff into your brain and your unconscious will see interesting connections or interpretations that will make for a good story, poem, article, dance routine, or whatever.

• Music: Listen to music that makes you want to dance, or unleash your anger, or want to cry. Any music that helps you get in touch with your emotions is good. Listening to music helps us process our emotions. Why do you think teenagers, who we know are quite emotional, listen to so much music? Maybe listening to music you listened to as a teenager will release some emotions you haven’t let out in a while. Maybe finding some new music will help you cross-pollinate (see above).

• Get Your Blood Pumping: I find that when I’m exercising regularly, I’m also writing regularly. They have always gone hand in hand. Without exception, if I’m not exercising, I’m not writing. Maybe it’s because my brain is getting more oxygen and other nutrients due to increased blood flow. In any case, I’ve found exercise essential to creative output.

• Change of Scenery: When I’m at home, I often spend all day in front of the computer, surfing the web, trying to find amusement and distraction. On those days, it’s best to just find a cafe somewhere and drown my distraction in pastries and chocolate-flavored, caffeinated brain juice. The library is useful too. I often just need a place away from YouTube, my Xbox, my DVD player, cable TV, or any other shiny thing to capture my attention.

• Read a Poem or Short Piece or Excerpt That Inspires You: This serves a purpose that’s similar to music. It helps you process your emotions and reminds you of what has moved you in the past. I suggest reading short pieces so that you can take a little amount of time to grab some inspiration and get back to your creative goal.

• Read Your Own Work: Read something you’ve written that you enjoy. Remind yourself that you’re good and that in the past you have reached your creative goals. If you look at a piece and think it’s not as good as it could be, first, just enjoy that you made the effort and finished something, and, second, possibly use that piece as a jumping off place for a new project (or just give the piece some minor tweaks if that’s all it needs).

• Pay Attention to Your Ideas: This is the oldest bit of creative advice in the world. Keep a notebook and whenever you get an idea for a creative project (poem, story, drawing, etc.) write down, sketch it, capture it quickly, not out of the fear of losing it, as if you must capture this one idea out of fear that other good ones won’t show up. I don’t find fear a good motivator for creativity. This process, instead, is one of welcoming. If you keep paying attention to the ideas as they show up, others will continue to show up. This is why I think I’m going to soon keep a log of story ideas and segments on this blog. More on that later.

• Show Up: Woody Allen is attributed with saying that 80% of success is showing up. Now, I don’t believe this number was produced by any scientific method and I don’t even have a source for the quote, but there’s something to this. If you’ve decided for yourself to meet a goal, don’t stress about whether you can meet the goal. Don’t listen to anxiety before you put pen to paper. The first thing you need to do is show up. In fact, it might help if you act as if that showing up is all that’s required of you. When I decide this and show up at the writing desk (or café – see above), or the poetry slam, or what-have-you, my anxiety disappears into the background.

The trick is to find things that energize you, not simply distract you. Find things that engage the best parts of you and get those pieces strong enough to counter the arguments from the voices that are trying to prevent you from any action that causes your ego to flinch. Those voices are scared and are trying to drag you away from the risky behavior of creating. Instead, take a moment get back in touch with your creative self. Exercise it and make it strong enough to shrug off the fear.

Creation and Fear

In Creative Inspiration on February 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm

There are some weeks I feel I engage in procrastination more than any other activity, which is ironic since procrastination is the postponing of activity. However, I hear this paradoxical activity/non-activity is fairly common for writers. For example, TV-writer Dan Harmon was supposed to deliver two pilot scripts to Fox and CBS by the end of last year but instead took his podcast Harmontown on a nationwide tour for a month, at his own financial expense. Me, I just clean my desk or watch YouTube videos of the Harlem Shake when I’m procrastinating. But Harmon has a reputation for being a zealous perfectionist in his writing, so why should putting off writing be any different?

But why do we do it? As writers, writing is supposedly what we long to do the most, right? Why would we go to such lengths to avoid it? Instead of chastising myself for being lazy, which is my usual stance, I’ve been giving this behavior some serious thought.

The question comes down to this: Is avoiding making art ever worth it? If so, what would be the point of it? It is essentially the avoidance of making meaning. Why would it ever be beneficial to avoid the process of taking in the random events of the world around you, weaving together the strands of those events, and spinning them into a golden fiber of wonder and significance? What would be the point of avoiding that?

Well, according to Neil Fiore, we avoid this process because it’s stressful. We procrastinate basically to avoid the pain that accompanies the process. Ironically, procrastination is a strategy that helps us accomplish tasks. Eventually it forces us to work when the fear of not completing a task becomes stronger than the pain of engaging the task, a fear that increases as the deadline looms. It’s akin to refusing to leave a building until it is on fire.

But while this may work, most of us don’t enjoy this strategy. In fact, it seems to create more stress than just strapping in and getting the job done. So what are our reasons for doing this, and are any of them valid?

I believe that the major stress of artistic creation comes from facing our vulnerability, whether it is from facing the limits of our skill, the limits of our vision, or the aspects of our character that we feel shame about that block our connection with the rest of the world. The expert on vulnerability and shame is Brené Brown. It’s through her lectures and books that I began to understand this aspect of my procrastination. It became apparent that through revealing my vulnerability, I felt I was placing myself at risk.

Another fear is that, despite the effort to create meaning, we will fail. Regardless of our effort, we fear our lives will be as meaningless and insignificant as before. Our efforts will only exhaust us and move us no further to truth than if we had just sat and watched YouTube kitten videos all day.

Yet another fear is that we won’t like what we find. The truth will be revealed to us and it will be a truth that we have feared our whole lives: We are worthless. We are talentless. We have nothing to contribute to the world. We are frauds and imposters, trying to fool everyone that we are worthwhile.

Are these fears reasonable? Let’s look at them.

Fearing that we expose ourselves to vulnerability is missing the point. The point is that this process is how we become powerful. It’s the same logic about why we avoid exercises that will make us stronger. We may feel exhausted and uncomfortable while going through it, but it is inevitable that we will be stronger at the end of it. This is how we become powerful. I again direct you to Brené Brown. She has a much more specific and detailed explanation of how this process works.

Will we find our lives are meaningless by engaging in a process designed to produce meaning? That’s simply irrational. You can see the inherent contradiction. I think this fear is really about the impatience of not seeing a meaningful payoff immediately. To curb this impatience, we need to breathe and realize we’re taking in a lifelong process of creating meaning. The exercise analogy works here as well. This isn’t a quick weight-loss scheme. This is about how to remain healthy your whole life.

But what if the meaning that is discovered is an unpleasant one? If we acknowledge it, then no matter how unpleasant it may be, facing the truth is still the only way to lead ourselves to our power, because everything else that we may believe is powerful can only be an illusion and temporary.

But here’s the real truth. When I fail to create, I am often depressed and feel out of touch with my own mind, my own feelings, and I become disassociated from my own sense of joy. Ignoring and postponing creating art is definitely the easiest way to do this. It is the simplest way to alienate you from yourself.

I need to create because I am a skeptic and I question everything around me. The explanation I’ve been handed about how this world is supposed to work doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t resonate with who I am and what I see as just in this world. I create in order to revise the state of the world, to make it so others see it in ways that jar them out of what is their normal way of seeing. It is a rock thrown through the glass container of conditioning. It is meant to disrupt brainwashing. It is meant to awaken consciousness and conscious choices and acts in the world. It is not a panacea. It is the use of vision and imagination as an added dimension of reality in order to further clarify the rift between the world as it is and the world as we wish it to be, testing one against the other.

I think I’ve pretty well debunked all these fears. This blog post has become yet another reminder to me of the power of creation and the necessity of engaging in it every day. Whenever I feel an emotional inertia that keeps me from writing, I should test my inactivity against these arguments. I hope that this is useful to others as well. Nothing, not even ourselves, should keep us from engaging our imaginations in this powerful and meaningful way.

Methods of Procrastination: Chapter 2

In Creative Inspiration, Methods of Procrastination on February 4, 2013 at 11:30 pm

After splicing together freewrites about Tarantino’s Django Unchained and researching other people’s criticism, I realize I don’t really have anything especially new or insightful to say that hasn’t already been said. The movie has been out for over 6 weeks, after all, and everyone has pretty much taken their shot at it. However, I am going back and forth about whether I should write it anyway. While I’m trying to decide, I…

  • Download “The Walking Dead” video game episodes for my xBox 360.
  • Read online articles from David Walker,  Erin Aubry Kaplan, and Jelani Cobb about Django Unchained to see if there’s something there I could riff from, but then feel that merely restating and organizing what they’ve already said is kind of cheating, especially when I can’t think of something new to add.
  • Make breakfast.
  • Read email – which is mostly notices of deals from businesses whose mailing list I’m on.
  • Read Twitter feed, become absorbed in reading Neil Gaiman’s retweets after he says he’ll post 12 questions for his twitter followers to answer, one every hour, each pertaining to a month of the year, each answer a potential seed for 12 stories he plans to write.
  • Write answers for Gaiman’s questions for February (Q: strangest thing that ever happened to you in February? A: I was a high school nerd who got a secret valentine from the most beautiful girl in class. Cliché, but true) and March (Q: What historical figure does March remind you of? A: William Blake. His angels look blown in from March winds.)
  • Laugh at Wil Wheaton’s tweet about his dog’s confusion over their owner dancing to Public Enemy.
  • Clean Bedroom.
  • Sort Laundry.
  • Become obsessed by reading other people’s answers to Gaiman’s questions. Latest question: Where would you spend your perfect June?
  • Become disturbed that I can’t pinpoint the times for the other more nostalgia based questions (weirdest gift in May, happiest memory of April). Am I getting old and my memory is going?
  • Realize I’m hungry and figure out what I should be having for lunch, but instead of making lunch I just sit at my desk listening to my stomach growl.
  • Realize this means the procrastination has crept from writing into more vital areas of my life and wonder if I should be worried about this.
  • Also, realize that I downloaded the “Walking Dead” video game but haven’t bothered to play any of it yet. I’m even procrastinating my procrastination.
  • Continue to be stumped about Gaiman’s June question but wrack my brain for an answer anyway.
  • Become discouraged when Gaiman doesn’t retweet my answers. For a second, I take this to mean I’m a boring writer.
  • Become fearful over my obsession with Gaiman’s exercise because this means I’m screwed for the next 6 hours.
  • Finally admit that I am reacting to Gaiman’s twitter feed for the sake of his writing exercise instead of being proactive with my own writing and finishing today’s damn blog.
  • After answering Gaiman’s question for July (Q: What is the most unusual thing you have ever seen in July? A: I was 8 and visiting my grandparents in Chicago the first time I saw Ultraman, Speed Racer, and Doctor Who), I again realize how heavily mediated my life is. I wonder if this is a good blog topic and realize I already wrote about it last week. At least I was ahead on something.

Why I Write

In Creative Inspiration on January 7, 2013 at 9:57 pm

This post, admittedly, is fairly self-indulgent. Thankfully, it is short. It is written primarily as a reminder to me on days when I’m not sure if it’s important to keep writing this blog. If I need to remind myself why I should bother writing, I can return to this post.

I write, not in order to produce or accomplish anything, but to get in touch with my writing self – the creative self that helps me order my thoughts and gives flesh to imagination.

I write because over the decades I’ve created a version of me that remains dormant, embedded in my bones, until I write. This self is never apparent in the result of my writing but in the process of my writing, as if selecting words erects a scaffold over which I build this edifice of person, assembles a skeleton over which I’m prepared to wrap my muscle and skin.

Writing allows me to move through the world in a way that allows my bones to float, opens my throat and lets in air, gives permission for me to wander into wonder and transcend headaches and back pain, finances and work hours, into possibility. Writing allows me to return to that time when there was no distinction between imagination and interpretation of reality and then pull down any vision for the framework of the world I want to live in.

I write because, as difficult as it is, I have found no other process as meaningful to me in my life.

I write in order to become me.

What Lana Wachowski taught me this week

In Creative Inspiration on November 6, 2012 at 2:41 am

So the movie Cloud Atlas opened last week and there’s been a bunch of press about one of the directors, Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski.  Lana teamed up with her brother Andy and Run, Lola, Run director Tom Tykwer to make Cloud Atlas and the Wachoiskis are appearing in press junkets and interviews after having avoided the press for years.

Unlike much of the press or internet chatter, I haven’t brought up Lana in order to throw out my opinion about her or transgenderism. Listening to a recent speech and interview she gave, I have come to a monumental discovery about the creative life, at least for me, and I wanted to share it.
The first part of my discovery came from listening to Lana’s Wachowski’s speech when she received the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award. She described growing up with a feeling of shame over difference and disconnection that I believe most of us feel at some point in our lives to some degree.

We often feel reluctant to let ourselves be known, to do what we are compelled to do, to engage the world creatively and honestly. We feel out of place, like we are freaks. And because we are the only ones like us, no one really wants to hear what we have to say, and we will never be loved. When creative people fall into this mindset, we often think, “why bother creating anything if I’m the only one interested? I will be unable to communicate my vision because I am the only one like me.”

The extreme version of this self-doubt expressed itself when Lana decided she was so out of place she should take her own life. Luckily, circumstances did not allow that to happen. Her career in film has been a perfect example of how the opposite of this doubt is true. She and her brother created The Matrix, which changed filmmaking and opened peoples’ minds to new ideas on the nature of reality. They wrote and produced V for Vendetta (arguably the best adaptation of any of Alan Moore’s graphic novels) and introduced the general public to new ideas about the nature of freedom and revolution. Just ask those hackers form Anonymous. And now Cloud Atlas, which admittedly is getting mixed reviews, is an ambitious project not pulling any punches in tackling philosophical and culturally significant issues.

Lana Wachoiski’s life is complete proof that — instead of shutting down, giving up, or checking out, — our self-doubt is the exact reason why, as artists, we must proceed.

I realized this after hearing Lana Wachowski’s interview on The Nerdist podcast. She was there to promote Cloud Atlas, but the conversation moved into discussing what it is that makes a life-altering film experience.  And it was this statement she made that connected the dots for me: “Art is the invitation to abandon your perspective.”

Art becomes life-altering when “you are given the opportunity to abandon the gravity of your perspective,” she explained. In the moment when we’re truly engaged with a story that is making the world new for us, it is often due to being shown the world in a new way, a way that we would not have imagined for ourselves if we had not been shown it through the story.

If Lana Wachowski had given into her doubt we would have missed out on several unique movie-going experiences. Her singular sense of who she was and how the world is was required in the collaborative process to make her films as powerful and memorable as they have been.

It follows that one must be capable of being able to translate a unique perspective to others in order to create engaging, life-altering art. If one feels completely unique and out-of-place, despite what one may feel, this is not a curse.  This is actually the exact reason why we must engage the world. This is what is required to craft memorable art. There is no one else like you and the world will never receive your gifts if you hide. Take it for the blessing it is and get to work. But also work in order to prove wrong the fear that your worthiness depends upon how well you destroy your difference. It is the exact opposite that is true.

Watch Lana Wachoiski’s speech. This is amazing.

And listen to that Nerdist podcast interview.

Staying Real

In Creative Inspiration on October 16, 2012 at 12:43 am

I’ve stalled enough. I’ve waited for the correct circumstances to appear to inspire me to write. The truth is, you can’t wait for the right circumstances. You must create them.

If inspiration is a gift from the gods, then one must first make an offering. That offering is usually in time, focus, loyalty, discipline, and ego. Especially ego. Give it up. Offer it up. Slaughter it upon the altar as joyfully as you would a chicken to the Caribbean spirits of Vodou, dancing and inviting divinity to ride you.

If that sounds scary it’s because writing, or any art, at its heart, is an act of vulnerability. You are revealing your authentic self and clothing it in words for others to see.  You craft those words so others can understand what you understand and sense what you sense. Writing, at its simplest, is an act of expression, and I find that I’m stuck starting this blog because I’ve, instead, been looking at writing as an act of production. I’ve focused on what I believe others expect out of the result of this process, instead of simply focusing on what I feel, what I see, and what is the best way to be communicate that.

Not only is writing an act of vulnerability and expression. It is essentially the continuous practice of imperfection. You can’t create until you accept that you will not produce anything perfectly. No creating happens without this realization. Even a technical writer has to work within the limits of his knowledge and vocabulary. The best way to test and stretch those limits is to simply write , expressing your idea as best as you can in order to find where the blind spots are.

I wanted to call this blog “Staying Real”, partially because I like how it sounds like a cross between “stay black” and “keeping it real” but, truthfully, the inspiration for the title is from a quote from Brené Brown about the perils of authenticity.

“’Staying real’,” the practice of authenticity, “is one of the most courageous battles that we’ll ever fight.” Authenticity, she says, is , “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”

So I have to embrace who I am every time I write this blog. I remember writing an editorial column for my college paper that was printed every Friday. I felt naked every Friday that I walked onto campus. That feeling never went away no matter how much positive response to the column there was. I’ve been avoiding writing this blog in order to avoid that feeling. However, I now realize that feeling is an inevitable and essential part of the process.

I’m going to write every day, freewrite, long hand, for at least 10 minutes, and at the end of the week I’ll edit one (or more) of my freewrites as I type it and then post it. No excuses. Every Monday, there should be something new posted here, whether or not it’s perfect. This is how I’ll engage the practice of vulnerability and imperfection. I offer this up. The dance begins.