I’ve missed a few posts, and I think it’s time to sit down and take a little time for some housekeeping.
October will be a busy month. I have three assignments due, and an exam in early November. It’s also a big month from a creative standpoint: the NaNoWriMo forums reopen for a month of planning and note-taking in preparation for November, and I’d like to have a go at Inktober this year. These things don’t really take up much time, but the assignments will… not to mention the space in my brain.
I’d also like to switch my blog-posting days to Tuesday and Friday, as my Saturdays are a bit full. So I’ll be giving that a trial-run this month. Next year I may have to change it again depending on when my classes are; ideally I’d avoid the problem my writing posts on my slower days and setting them to go live on schedule, but we all know how well I’ve been doing at writing blog posts ahead of time. It’d be nice, but honestly now.
One of the things I’ve been seeing more of since getting more into running is that discipline always trumps motivation. Motivation is powerful, but it’s fleeting. Eventually it’s going to dissipate, and you’re going to have to fall back on habit. If you haven’t cultivated a habit, it’s going to be tougher; once something’s a habit, there’s less effort required to engage in the task. You need discipline to form the habit and stick to it.
I like to read, and to research, and to “cultivate knowledge”. My first step in doing a thing is usually to read about the thing, and my second step is to buy some shit that has something to do with the thing. Maybe I’ll hit both steps at the same time and buy a book. Anyway, the point is that in doing these things, I’m not actually making progress towards the thing that I want to do or improve at. I’m procrastinating. All those “motivation” hours get wasted on the preliminary bits and none of them are spent on working on the task.
Example: I like planning. I like watching planning videos and planner or notebook “tours” on youtube. It is a soothing sort of hobby and a good way to wind down, and I might get some good ideas from how other people use their notebooks, or whathaveyou. All this isn’t useless – I do run a notebook blog, and I get people asking for ideas on how to use their notebooks and so on, so there’s a lot of stuff I can pass on. But where I get stuck is going from planning to carrying out. That crucial step isn’t something I always get around to. I might say, OK, these are the five things I am going to get done today, I’ve ranked them in order of importance, now I’m going to have a coffee and watch something on youtube or check reddit. So I do that, and then I do something else, and the day disappears and I still haven’t written that blog post. Where does all the time go? How do people manage to accomplish anything at all with so few hours in the day? Well, they don’t spend all their time on youtube, facebook, tumblr… (Look, the NaNoWriMo forums are two months of the year, OK? Just let me have that.)
I have this irritating little kernel in my brain that maintains there must be some sort of magical trick to planning, some special method that brings all these things to pass. Some special morning ritual or routine that leads you beautifully into the day, so you can do all the things that need to be done without ever getting bored. I search endlessly for this magical planning secret, and never find it, because it does not exist. That kernel needs to die, and I need to write my goddamn blog posts on time.
Look, it’s a process. You get better by practising. I’ll get the hang of it.
All I need is discipline.