2018: Clean Slate

G’day, hi, and hello!

First of all, Happy New Year! I hope 2018 will prove kind in its teachings, and bring you joy, peace, and accomplishment(s).

You might’ve noticed I was conspicuously absent for a little while. Okay a long while. Half of 2016, and all of 2017 to be exact!? Blimey! I guess it’s true what they say, time does fly like an arrow – in which case what’s the target?

How could I miss my own blog’s anniversary you ask? Well, a lot happened. 2017 was certainly filled with stress, frustration, peaks of anxiety, and more stress on top of aimlessness in life direction (an ongoing struggle that one). A glimpse of the past year and a half’s stress causes included: finishing grad school, visa stress, job hunting, starting then ending said new job, relocating to the Australian Outback in a National Park for more job hunting due to said visa stress… Have I lost you yet? And this is by no means an exhaustive list.

This quote feels relevant:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Life and its curveballs never cease to amaze me. I left for the Outback intending to stay the required 3 months, and ended up staying 7, despite the severely limited internet (mostly due to a new visa law, thanks Obama Australia!).

You might be thinking, “wow middle of nowhere! Must’ve been some creative 7 months!” Let me just stop you right there: nope. Repetitive work? Check. Simple lifestyle? Ayup. Beautiful surroundings and wildlife? Definitely! And yet I didn’t change much, habit-wise.

My grand dreams of finishing off my novel during my abundant free time remain grand dreams to this day. But hopefully not for much longer. Am I the only one in saying that? So many times during the year I tell myself I’ll start a thing, or finish another, and in the end… it’s mostly sloppy and I’m never pleased with the few things I do accomplish.

Again, an appropriate quote comes to mind:

Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.

The mistakes happen to be habits, but I feel trapped in a hostage situation with my writer/creator locked in the trunk of a speeding car. My perfectionism feeds the procrastination, which thrives on my perfectionist, which boosts the procrastinator, which makes a perfect procrastination hell (or heaven, depending on your perspective). I hear all creative people have at least an inkling of that feeling, if not an overblown bad habit(s)/lifestyle like me.

But you know what? It’s time the creator in me broke free of this hostage situation and reclaimed the car! So procrastinator, get ready to hit the brakes. Of course, the process might begin with baby steps. First, the creator kicks out the taillight, uses a shard to break her restraints, works her way through to the back seat, and to the copilot seat until the procrastinator needs a coffee/pee/snack break. Then it’s time to hijack the car back!

Do note it might not be advisable to throw the procrastinator in the trunk straightaway, it will only lash out with unprecedented strength. But if you let it sit next to you, it will anxiously watch every turn you make (or don’t make). Sooner or later it will settle down, grumble but acknowledge you’re in control, and eventually get bored and retire to the backseat for a long nap. Thanks for saving me when I needed you, but you no longer serve me, rest well!

At least, that’s my ideal scenario. I think perhaps I watch too many movies?

In closing informative news:

A friend recommended a writing website to me quite a few months back (perhaps you’ve already heard of it) called DIY MFA. It’s a great resource with tons of articles, tips, podcasts, a writer igniter (fun prompts!) and more! Just keeping up to date, as much as capable, has reignited my writer’s spark. I hope it helps you as well!

I’ve submitted a short story (after extensive editing, which still might not be satisfactory) to an exciting contest (Cinematic Short Story), and am debating entering a different kind of contest (The Short Story Challenge 2018). All in all, this is a productive start to 2018, and my perfectionist really should leave the past behind. Clean slate, here I come!

Thanks for reading!

Write on,
Ali J.

What caused you stress last year? Are you driving the car or are you a prisoner of your procrastinator too? What exciting challenges are you eyeing or already facing?

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