Blog

Stories from a life in progress.

For good or bad

I woke up this morning with a headache. Always fun.

As a matter of course, if I'm dealing with a headache, I drop everything and try to get rid of it. Carrying on while my head hurts doesn't help anything: it doesn't make for good work, doesn't make for treating people well, doesn't make for getting rid of the headache. Sometimes there isn't any choice, but if I have a choice, I pitch myself in my comfy recliner and zonk out until the head is better.

So today, I have zonked. I lost the entire morning and was eating into the afternoon before I stopped napping and started stumbling around the house again. You can imagine what this does to my shiny new plans and schedules and whatnot. I had a page of things to do today, and now I doubt I will finish half of them. Phooey.

Also, even though I don't feel very smart or have much to say, I still feel obligated to write something here. I had anticipated saying something about it in a more heroic way, but I have started a new blogging game similar to my 40-day game, and it compels me to post something today. I wouldn't have to (the rules have some flexibility) but I've barely started and I'm not going to derail the game now. There will certainly be days in the middle when writing doesn't happen, but I'm not going to let this be the case in the very first week. That could kill the entire project. I'm totally capable of saying "oh well, I guess this is too hard" and just giving up before I get properly started.

It gives me something a little worrying to think about. It's important to get to work every day, especially in creative work. That's the idea of having this sort of writing game. But is it good to require the work to happen in such a public way? If writing a book, a difficult working day is going to be swept up in the whole and made all right. There's going to be edits and rewriting and polishing to fix everything up and make it better.

That isn't true with this every-day-posting business. What I write today is what the world gets from me today. Even when I don't have anything to say. Even when my abilities are limited by sickness or pain or anxiety. I know I can't think straight in those circumstances. I know the work I do on those days is not as good as work I do on other days. Would it actually be better to wait to publish some writing until I've had a better day to polish it up? Would it be better to keep my scribbling under wraps when I know it isn't the best?

I don't have a clear answer for that yet. I can think of any number of fast answers, all of which feel hollow and many of which cancel each other out. I don't have any response that feels true enough. I need an answer with enough room, enough resilience to contain both grace for human weakness and the hard requirements of pursuing high-quality work. I can't articulate that answer yet.

In the meantime, I'm getting to work. I still don't know how to do it, what is the best way to go forward, but I'm getting to work anyway. If this writing is the best I have today ... here it is, for good or bad.