Writing is madness

I think this is shaping up to be the quarter of writing. I’m taking a creative writing class that is forcing and encouraging me to write fiction for the first time in a decade, and I am blogging more frequently and at greater length. (Also, I have committed to writing a chapter of a textbook by the end of this summer, but as I haven’t started yet it remains to be seen whether this task will contribute to this being the Quarter of Writing.) This is both good and bad. It’s good, obviously, because writing like anything else requires practice in order to be done well, and with all the writing I do these days I can just see my skills improving all the time. I write faster and more creatively, and with greater facility, and that makes me feel very happy and accomplished. On the other hand, it’s wreaking havoc with my life. In fact my life is rapidly becoming writing; it seems like I just go from one bit of writing to the next: writing for history classes, writing fiction, writing emails, writing in my journal. I always thought I would want a writer’s life but now that I sort of have one it seems I’m not ready for it yet. Sudden bursts of fiction inspiration keep me up late at night and threaten to take over a good number of my waking hours as well. Then there’s my journaling. Maybe you’ve noticed my entries getting longer and longer until now they approach short-story length every time I update. (I’m sure I’ve lost more than a few readers because of this, but too bad.) Now that I am so ridiculously comfortable with writing, I want to put everything into my journal. As a historian, I realize this will be good in the future when I look back over my life at twenty-three, but for right now it’s just becoming an insane drain on my time. Blogging is starting to go into the category of “daily maintenance” along with showering, dish-washing, and checking and answering emails. I don’t have time for this! Each entry takes me about an hour on average, and some go much longer than that. I’ve started keeping a backlog of stuff I want to write about because I don’t always have time at the moment, but now there are at least seven things on that list. Argh!

I don’t see any solution for this problem. I can’t stop writing fiction, because I’ve fallen in love with it and anyway there’s my English 134 grade to consider. ;b I can’t stop writing nonfiction because my parents and I have already invested a great deal into that possibly being my future career, and anyway I like it. And I certainly can’t stop blogging. There is so much going on in my head and in my life these days I need some kind of outlet, and in terms of the amount of time it takes there’s no difference between keeping a private journal and maintaining one online. In fact, it’s probably less time-consuming to keep a web journal because that way I can’t just spill all my private thoughts. A voice recorder might help me make better use of the time that gets wasted in transport–walking, driving etc–but I’d still have to transcribe it all eventually and I can tell you from experience that transcribing takes forever. When I worked on the Portuguese and Brazilian communities project at Berkeley’s Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) they told us it takes about six hours of transcribing to take down a one-hour interview, and it’s quite true, even for someone who types as quickly as I do. So… hopefully time will help me figure out how to manage things so that I can integrate a great deal of writing into my daily life.

Alas, it’s now time to add some more bits and pieces into my backlog of things to write about later. Today I attended two lectures on campus that really got me thinking about American politics, especially the current state of liberalism and the Democratic Party. The first featured Thomas Frank, speaking about his book, What’s the Matter with Kansas?, and the second had Michael Dukakis (yes, that one) and Stanley Sheinbaum speaking about the future of liberalism in this country. Lots of interesting stuff said and since I’ve got a ton of reading to do tonight I can’t write down my thoughts now! Blrgh! Hopefully I’ll have the chance for a longer update on Wednesday or tomorrow night.

two things.
First, I would just like to note for my own reference that I look really good today. Skin is positively glowing and body and hair aren’t doing too badly either. I got eleven hours of sleep. Let my own procrastinating, self-sleep-depriving, lazy-ass self remember this in future.

Second, I’ve downloaded a livejournal archiving program. One fun thing it can do is analyze stuff about my entries. Nothing too revealing, but there are some fun tools there. For instance: if you set the minimum character size at four letters, these are the words I have used most frequently in my entries, from the beginning in spring 2001 to the present:

Erik – 413 instances
food – 367 (Erik should be glad to know he comes first by a decent margin)
nice – 332
today – 322
class – 299
actually – 235 (actually?! maybe I should start saying that less!)
Berkeley – 187
everyone – 180
wonderful – 176
interesting – 174
eating – 171
anyway – 165
maybe – 164
apartment – 162
someone – 160
Chinese – 136 (now this is very revealing)
dance – 131
stuff – 127
guess – 127
haven’t – 126
decided – 123
music – 119

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]