Just Half-ass It

I’ve been having some trouble keeping up with my blog . . . if the month of silence hadn’t tipped you off.  But I think Christina has accurately diagnosed what my problem is.  Something about my brain isn’t able to do things halfway.  When I do something, I need to drop everything and devote all my energy to it.  I have to make it good.  I have to make it great.  And, in the end, I don’t bother making it at all.

I go through little periods during which I get caught up with one particular thing and work on it to the exclusion of most everything else.  Nowadays, it’s usually one of four things: my fiction, my guitar, my books, or my blog.  If you’ve had the patience to read this blog for longer than a month, I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are times when I post every day for a week . . . and then not again for a month.  That’s my brain at work.

My dad once told me that I would make a great diamond-cutter.  Whenever I focus, I focus.  Like most things in life, it’s a blessing and a curse.  Whatever I focus on usually comes out looking pretty nice.  The problem is everything else.

Throughout elementary school, I struggled in math.  It wasn’t that I didn’t get it.  It wasn’t that I didn’t try.  It was the fact that I rarely finished a test.  And, looking at the exam, you could easily guess why.  I always worked carefully from the first problem to the last, never skipping one.  If I finished the problem, then I got it right, and every step would be carefully laid out and perfect.  Never mind the last third of the test I never saw.

I just don’t have the time to devote all my energies to everything I want to.  Of course I don’t; no one does.  But there’s something in my brain that doesn’t want to hear that.  Finally, a few weeks ago, Christina gave me some sage advice:  “Just half-ass it.”

Three weeks ago, she said that to me and I’ve wanted to blog about it.  I just couldn’t find the time.  I needed to think about what I would say.  I needed to layout how I would structure it.  I needed to find a clever link or two to include it.  Well, it was almost missing November entirely that finally snapped me out of it.

So here I am, typing away.  I didn’t know what I was going to say when I started.  For any of you who know what my normal writing process is like, you have an idea of what a nervous wreck I am right now.

I pace; I’m a pacer.  I can’t explain it; I just feel compelled, when I can’t find a way to express what I need to express, to get up and move.  Back and forth, muttering, rubbing a hand through my hair, spinning on the ball of my foot.  There’s something about being in motion that I find reassuring.  Like . . . when I’m stuck for words, if I start pacing it gives my body the illusion of going somewhere, of making progress.  I have gotten out of my chair and paced three times since starting this post.

But it’s been thirty minutes and I have something down.  Which is more than I can say for the past month.  December is my crucible.  I’m going to try to half-ass my way through this month–typos be dmned!–hopefully maintaining some level of regularity to the frequency of my posts.  (Wow was that a wordy sentence.)

I just got up to pace again.  I’m back.  I’m good.  I can do this.  I recently read a book called The New Brain, by Richard Restak, M.D. It was really good and it told me that our brains remain plastic throughout our entire lives, meaning you can teach at least humans new tricks, regardless of how old they are.  So that’s my goal this month.  I’ve gotta do something about this.

Wish me luck!