I still haven’t settled into anything resembling a groove yet. My mom gets discharged tomorrow, though, and will be settling back into her place so hopefully things will get back to normal soon.
I’m spending a bit of time every morning reading stuff online, though—all those newsletters I get, right? And occasionally getting inspired. So I thought I’d share those mini-hits of inspiration with you all today.
I mentioned on Monday how much I love Austin Kleon’s newsletter. A while back, he shared what filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt said about his writing process, and the description just took my breath away:
“it’s like you’re floating in an ocean, and you want to build a raft. so you just float there and you wait and wait. and eventually this little piece of something comes drifting by, maybe a memory, and you hang on to it, and then another little piece comes around, it is unrelated, maybe it’s a funny sentence you overheard somewhere. and you keep collecting all these little things that just sort of drift by… a dream, a beautiful sentence in your head that just appeared while doing the dishes, an anecdote you stole from your old diary… and eventually you find connections between all the things and with all these parts you’ve gathered up you now have enough stuff to build a raft. and then once you have the raft you can remove all the bits that don’t quite fit anymore, the spare parts that you didn’t need after all, you toss them back or maybe save them for another raft later. when i write, there isn’t a lot of active effort or swimming around, or calculation… for me that can be very poisonous to creativity. the big ideas won’t happen right when you mentally stress on them… it is more a matter of being patient and being open to all the things that just drift in”
I’d really like to write like this all the time. I’ve only done it once, for the most recent short story I wrote. Things came to me line by line. I wrote the story in about four or five days, and in the beginning I didn’t know who my characters were, or what they were doing. I’d pull open my Word document and jot down a few lines throughout the day. At night in bed I’d think of another line. And miraculously, when I finished, everything fit. The story somehow ended itself.
I really liked the way it felt.
So maybe if I took more meditation breaks I could get into this drifty kind of headspace? What do you think? Another piece that spoke to me recently was this one, about ten minute meditation breaks, or time-INs.
I could definitely use more of that.
All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this bad trait work for you. The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it. Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important. If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him do it. However, the procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.
Could it really be so easy? There’s only one thing in the world I procrastinate, and that’s my writing. If I can find some tasks that “have clear deadlines (but really don’t)” and “seem awfully important (but really aren’t)”, maybe I could give it a go.
So that’s my inspiration for this week! What’s inspired you this week?