meta-post / about writing

The dreaded meta-post: posting about posting. Generally I am able to resist the temptation, but now I’ll indulge myself in writing about how this is my first post in three months. While I have some blockbuster blog updates kicking around in the back of the brain — just smile and nod — here I’ll be writing about why I’m not writing.

Thesis: I lack internal motivation.

Some nuance: Even though I can think of myriad moments of internal motivation, at a basic level I am waiting for external forces to spur me into action.

  • Evidence 1: My last three blog posts are due to participation in the new blogger initiative.
  • Evidence 2: Last year when I took that class about strategies for ELLs, my teaching became stronger as a result of being forced to use these strategies in my classroom. Now, I’ve mostly let this habit fade away.
  • Evidence 3: On a large scale, my best professional work in (let’s say) the past five years has been a result of the pressure of developing curriculum and plans to use in my class.

Of course (is obvious nuance possible?) most folks who aren’t freelancers and/or vagrants might write something like item 3. This is the nature of a professional career, and as humans we use each other to accomplish more than we would individually.

But to bring a merciful end to an indulgent post, I’ll relate a story my friend told to a group of aspiring writers (I went incognito). It was some question about, what is the most important lesson you learned in the process of getting published? Response (and excuse my poor sense for reconstructing remembered dialogue):

I think the big thing is, no excuses. I had this idea about writing a story about LA, and I thought that I should move to LA to write the book. A friend said, ‘why do you have to move? Just write the book here.’ I was like, … oh yeah! I don’t need to move to LA to write the book. I don’t need to wait for x to be able to do the work — just do it now. If you want to write — well, start writing.

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