Tag Archives: writing

Half Birthed Brain Sludge

29 Mar

You know, the pressure of not posting for a long time never gets easier. And every time I write a post after there’s been a lull, I wonder if I need to recognize my time away or if that just leads to a series of posts that highlight my absence and make it worse (it does).

*breathes into a paper bag*

Okay listen. I’m going to get real here. I’m writing right now because for some inexplicable reason, people keep subscribing to this blog in spite of it only featuring a new post every 6 months or so with a half-realized promise to get back to it. Today, I checked my dusty old internet folder labeled ‘blog’ to find another handful of new hopefuls, and was reminded again that today could be the day I actually publish something. And hey: I’m on my second bowl of dinner Cocoa Puffs and feeling feisty, so here I am. I’m not going to think about whether I want to post this or not when I’m done. I’m just going to agree right here that no matter what half-birthed sludge pushes out of my brain, I’m going to publish it. Just like those good old days of the first 365 when I would write about my emergency underwear collection because I just didn’t have anything else to work with and I needed to post. We’re going old school.

brains color

Illustration by John Michnya 

The fact is that I’ve written oodles of posts in the past several months, ducklings. Oodles of them. They’re all sitting on my desktop with various file names like “blogpost,” “newblogpost.” “forrealsiespost,” and “postthisyoumoron.” I’ve even done Lollipop Tuesdays that I’ve never posted about. Lots of them. Oh yes. I took a spinning class in one of those uber hip Crossfitty sorts of places with a full screen projection of a fake road and trees. And you better believe that when there was already sweat on the seat just from me sitting on it for the instructor to adjust it at the start of class – presumably my ass sweat from just existing – I thought about how much I wanted to tell you. I even GOT ON A PLANE THAT WENT ACROSS AN OCEAN. And that One Good Thing challenge I started for myself? It actually worked. I may have only posted three total times in the entirety of 2016, but I made some serious tweaks to my daily habits and I’m now a person who wakes up before work and actually cleans herself, does yoga, and reads things (whuuuuuut?) My life has been full of conquerings alongside anxiety-inducing wickedness and I’ve been keeping all the drafts of the proof on my desktop because, well, for some reason I’ve become weird about the blog.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the blog. The blog is the thing that has remedied a great many of my serious and deep human flaws. I still depend on the possibility of being able to post about terrifying and awkward experiences in order to get through said terrifying and awkward experiences. 

But there has been a marked shift in my frequency of posting that aligns with my real life career.

Back when I started all this business, some of you oldest and wisest ducklings will recall that I was an overworked, overtired executive assistant who posted about a variety of work-related oddities I encountered in the corporate jungle, like work holiday parties and elevator moments. I had to wear professional, uptight clothes and do very big girl things, and having a blog to talk about how ridiculous all of that was really helped me survive those difficult years when I reported to a Gorgon. The beautiful thing about it all was that people at work didn’t know about the blog. In fact, very few people in my real life circle did. It made it really easy to get on here and blab about whatever and be my authentic, hyperbolic, anxiety-ridden self whilst maintaining a regular life and relationship with the people I actually had to encounter.

Then people started finding out. Like, real life people. Not you digital ducklings.

I used to have a very strict rule about not being friends with people I worked with on Facebook. I kept my digital life and my real life quite separate and that helped to distinguish a safe place to let the monsters in my head waddle around. That’s where I kept them: away from a real life place where I might have to talk about the blog or account for the things I’ve written in it to actual, real life people. But then I got out of the corporate jungle and started doing something I actually love: working in the arts. And I had friends in the arts. Like, lots of them. So I automatically was friends with and shared a digital presence with an enormous amount of people who were going to interact with me in my work life. Then I had to start helping with social media platforms at work, and friending people who it’s usually wise to keep some sense of decorum with. And suddenly I found myself with a hoard of posts that I would have published if only I didn’t have this filter that wondered if someone who I actually knew would read it. And if they would try to talk to me about it. Or maybe not talk to me about it and just judge me a whole lot for it and talk to other people about it. And if I would maybe defecate in my pants as a result.

I mean, I don’t really want to be running a board meeting and have a board member around the table who follows my blog so that even though I’m churning out some impressive year-over-year financial data analysis and I sound pretty confident, they know that the moment the meeting is over, I’m going to get lost trying to find the bathroom in the building and that the adventure could take thirty minutes if I get confused and anxious enough and that eventually I’ll have a blog post about it…which they will read.

There are two Jackies at war behind the scenes here. One is the Jackie who needs this blog to live a real, human life where she goes places and does things and has a place to talk about it – who needs it as her defense system against her natural, hermity, video-game-addicted state. The other is a Jackie who is hyper-aware of all the actual people with real faces that she’s seen who will read it and think about it and maybe ask her about it or have a different opinion of her for it and who can’t separate the difference between an online persona and a real life person. One of those Jackies has written a whole lotta posts and one of them never pushes publish.

So anyway, that’s what’s going on, friends. And because my brain is now wired in this MUST DEVOUR EVERY FEAR blogosphere persona, it’s simply impossible for me to hang on to these admissions too long without staring them in the face and figuring out how to beat them into submission. Since I’ve always brought you along for those sorts of rides, I thought I’d go head and continue that trend. At least I know that if I’m in a big important meeting and some big scary professional character makes mention of my little blog, I can come back to you guys and tell you all about how I soiled myself in public from anxiety. I mean, that’s what you’re here for. That’s why we’re here.

So I’m going to get over this hump, and in classic JackieBlog fashion, I’m going to create a challenge for myself to force it and pledge to post every single week for the rest of the year.

The shriveled up creative force in me wonders how I’ll possibly have anything to post about every single week, and the Jackiepants on me remind me that this whole damn thing was founded on writing without something specific to say. And hey, if I feel like I need material, I can just go hunt down a big juicy Lollipop Tuesday

If you’re a writer of any kind and you’ve got your own slump to get through, why don’t you hop on board with me and pledge to write and share something every week? Challenges are my favorite. 

Talk soon, ducklings. Thanks for sticking around. ♣


A Writing Prison of My Own Design

6 Sep

I’m in the midst of an incredibly dry and boring writing spell and living in perpetual fear that I won’t make it to the end of the year with a post every day.   In fact, just yesterday (no lie), I was walking around the house talking about how I wished I could just quit and get out from the pressure because my brain wasn’t working.

Sounds like a good time to enter a writing contest.

Happy Lollipop Tuesday, ya’ll!

Okay so let me break it down for you.  I recently wrote a post celebrating my 2/3 completion of the one year long postaday/365 project challenge and ever since have been in the clutches of fear, paralyzed by my stupidity and have wandered on with incoherent, poopy posts.

That’s right: poopy.

Simultaneously, I’ve been wondering what on earth is to become of this monster I’ve made, as its booming success is wildly exciting but also unexpected and terrifying.  Am I supposed to keep posting next year? How often?  Under what premise? What’s to become of me?!  Somewhere, somehow, in the midst of these large life questions, I felt the sudden urge to write elsewhere as well.  

Apparently when I’m hating really hard on writing, my brain ascertains that I should do more of it.  It’s rude.  Also, masochistic.

So in the quest to think of other opportunities for pain and anguish, I considered writing contests.

That’s right: writing contests.

It just so happened that as all this was churning in my squiggly little cerebrum, I was reading Real Simple magazine – which offers straightforward articles on how to live your life more simply.   I always read and rarely act.    But if reading an article about organizing my closet can make me feel like I’m slightly more organized, it’s worth $4.99.

And as I picked and choosed which pieces of advice I wouldn’t be taking in this month’s issue, I noticed an advertisement for their Fourth Annual Life Lessons Contest.    They give you a prompt, you write 1500 words or less, and the winner gets a round trip for 2 for 2 nights in NY to see a Broadway show, lunch with the editors, the article published in the magazine, and $3000 smackos.

Unfortunately, entries have been accepted since May and only continue to be accepted until September 15th.

Yeah – that’s next Thursday.

So I’m in.  I’m doing it.  I mean, the prompt is kind of cheesy (When did you first understand the meaning of love?), but whatever.  I’m going to rock it like a big sucky hurricane.  And yeah, I only have about a week to make it happen but that’s okay too.  Because back when I was a smarty pants in college I would whip out several essays in a single evening.  And those were on comparisons and contrasts of theater in India and theater in China or on what major literary work defines our culture today and why –  so I can do this.  I just have to channel my college mojo.

So that’s my Lollipop Tuesday, folks.  Of course, there’s no immediate gratification for you in regards to my account of suckiness – but you can rest your little heads that between right this moment and 11:59pm on Thursday, September 15th, I will absolutely be sucking.  Hard.    

This blog is a monster; it’s making me do things.  Painful things.

But hey – if I win $3,000 bucks, maybe I’ll use some of it to spruce up the blog a bit.  And since the winner is announced in January, it will be a great time to decide what on God’s green earth is going to come of this blog beast for 2012 anyway. Deal?


It begins.

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