Thursday, July 3, 2008

An Apology

It seems to me that I've been giving this blog the short end of the stick lately, in terms of my focus, energy, and attention.

Don't get me wrong--this isn't going to be one of those posts where I announce a decision to scale back the blogging only to come back in a week or so and admit that I liked things better the old way, etc. I like this blog, and it's very worth it to me to keep it running, even when doing so gets a little complicated.

But I've got to admit that Summer, 2008 has been much busier so far than I anticipated.

Now, it's been busy in a mostly good way (except for the roof replacement, which I could have done without, but which when all was said and done was far less of an inconvenience than it could have been). And I'm getting to work on some of those other writing projects that I can't do as well during the school year, particularly my re-entry into the world of fiction writing, which is starting to take up more and more of my attention as we move into July. But somehow I've managed on several recent occasions to get to the end of the day (or nearly the end) and realize that I haven't come over here and written anything--at which point I do, but without having given it as much thought or composition as I usually like to give my blog posts.

And as I looked around my house this afternoon, enlisting the girls' help with some chores, I realized that I've been approaching the housework in much the same spirit--too much procrastination followed by an intense burst of effort, which is targeted only at doing the minimum.

Some of that is just summer, of course. In the heat of a Texas afternoon both cleaning and thinking start to seem like entirely too arduous tasks, which would be better put off until the cool of the morning--if only there were such a thing. Then, too, many of the things I decide to write about are initially triggered by some aspect of our life as homeschoolers, but that, too, is absent during these warm months of sleepy inactivity.

But some of it relates back to a paradox I noticed long ago, when I was looking for a job right after college, which was this: the more time you have to do something like blog or keep a diary or journal or write letters to friends or family, etc., the less inspiration you seem to have to do those things. There are only so many times you can open the blank pages of a journal to confess yet again that not much of interest is happening--and even if you're busy, as busy as searching for a job after college or handling several different things during a busy summer at home with children, the fact of the "busyness" doesn't seem to matter much in terms of intellectual productivity.

In reality, though, that's only an excuse. I'm not really lacking in things to write about, or think about; what I've been lacking is discipline. And the built-in discipline that accompanies our school days seems to keep me going long enough to handle chores and blogging and other obligations without the constant feeling that I'm running in place on a slow treadmill, trying to feel some sense of accomplishment in the midst of many ongoing tasks, and only a few completed ones.

So I want to apologize for my recent lack of focus and discipline, and to promise to do better. Yes, it's summer, and I'm enjoying it very much--but that's no more reason for me to let things slide in the writing department than it is for me to get lazy with the housework.


Jennifer F. said...

If you find any practical tips for incorporating regular writing time into your busy life, please share! I've recently decided that I also need to be more disciplined about writing as well, and am trying to figure out how to do that with my chaotic household. :)

matthew archbold said...

I've recently found that some of my children can actually help with the cleaning and be pretty decent at it.
So this has made things a little better.
Finding time to write is still a trouble. I'm a ruminator. I don't do things well off the cuff. If I can think things through I can usually write on a decent third or fourth grade level. But most times I don't have the time.
I find that I just have to semi-ruminate. I mean that I have to kinda' think about it while I'm doing other things. Let my subconscious figure out the details.
Here's what I find. I've found that most of the unhappiness in my life is because other people's wishes are conflicting with my own. Mind you, many of those people are in diapers who are conflicting with me. SO I have to resign myself to writing when I can and just think while I'm changing diapers or taking the kids to the park.
Sorry about the ramble. It's late. And I didn't ruminate over the comment.