Thinking About Writing; Writing About Thinking
The idea of writing regularly is just one of those things. The kind of thing that you know will make you a better person, but remains painful and difficult to start, so you put it off. As a visually focused person that occasionally (read: frequently) has difficulty communicating with words, I’ve always found the process of unstructured writing to be daunting. However, this is that time of year when one starts to think about what one wants to do differently in the future, so that brings me to writing.
In a conversation with a friend, we discussed a shared desire to devote more energies to writing. He mentioned a goal that he’s setting for himself to spend an hour a week writing for the next year. Of course, he challenged me to do the same. I made an excuse about it at the time, and may do so again at a later date, but the idea has stuck in my head. So heading into the new year, I’m planning to make writing a larger part of my creative energies.
The Goals and Guidelines
I wouldn’t be a good designer if I didn’t have a love for structure and limits. It’s always helpful to have something to aim towards, and something else to push off of. To that end, I want to set up some loose goals for myself, as well as some guidelines that—I hope—will allow for the realization of this goal.
First thing: Publish once a week, before 12:01am Monday morning.
Second thing: I give myself permission to not write something profound, life changing, topical, or even coherent. The point is to write; not to be precious about it.
Third thing: The whole thing shouldn’t take more than an hour to complete, from the first click of the keyboard, to the pushing of the “Publish” button.
Fourth thing: I won’t wait to publish for want of a cool image, better editing, or more interesting topic. These are just excuses, and will get in my way.
My goal—plain and simple—is to be more self reflective. At the risk of this format being a public diary, it’s becoming increasing important to have the mental space to examine ideas that kick around in the back of my head all day. My own art practice is often an outlet for these ideas, but I would like to discuss ideas related to design and my professional life that don’t often have a place in my art. My express purpose then, is to use this space to reflect on these elements of my life, career, and passions that could use an addition element of scrutiny. To some degree, it would be nice if these thoughts resonated with others on some level, but that would be a secondary bonus.
Test & Then Analyze
This will be my plan, but I want to give myself the permission to change my mind as this experiment progresses. I couldn’t start something like this at the close of 2015 without acknowledging that most people that embark on a journey of some type of New Years resolution fail. This project is important, and I don’t want to fail, at least not completely. I want to give myself the permission to change the parameters of this exercise if it’s just not working out. It will probably be difficult sometimes, so the challenge will be to recognize when I’m struggling as opposed to when I’m growing.
The simple act of setting up this project set up has been somewhat relieving. It’s helpful to have a project, and something to work towards that I can tackle on my own terms. I have a backlog of ideas for things to write about, so I’m looking forward to kicking into gear next week. I’ll close this entry with a line from Mike Watt, bassist of the seminal hardcore band The Minutemen. To be more accurate, in an interview with Mark Marin, he was quoting his friend and band mate D. Boon who would say, “The knowin’s in the doin’,” which is precisely my aim.