My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Move 2.0–Working Through the Bumps (Personal Update)

The current room unpacked. A bit cozy.
Image description: Bedroom with a cat on the bed.
So here's the news I was sitting on.

I'm moving again.

Again again. Like for the second time. As in, I just finished unpacking the last of the HBO series DVD's and even before the full shock and lamentation of the lack of a Carnivale season 3 had even reached stage three (bargaining), I was putting it right back in a box to move again.

So there I was in Hayward, resigned to foreseeable future of writing at least my break away debut novel from this tiny little room where I could touch my bed from my writing desk and my bookshelves had another tier of books hidden behind the ones facing outward, when I got the news from a friend of the goldilocks room.

No wait. That's not the right vibe.

The Goldilocks Room™ 

Yes. Much better.

It's a bit more expensive–right at the edge of what I budgeted for (though not "scary" since I took care of the Covered California stuff)–but everything else is fan-fucking-tastic. My commute from Hayward to Oakland where I watch The Contrarian was pretty much 35 minutes from door to door right now unless the roads are apocalypse movie empty. However from Lafayette, other than one particularly harried part of the day, it would only be fifteen minutes. My commute to where I teach will be cut from 70+ minutes to 15-20. It's in walking distance of a BART station and downtown Lafayette. Perhaps the best part for a room destined to be both fully functional groupie threesome babe lair and writing office is the room itself. I'm not exactly sure how the precise dimensions break down, but it's about half again as big as my current room by the math and feels about twice as big when I'm standing in it. And something about volume vs. surface area means I'm getting about eight feet more wall. Plus my roommate is super cool.

So while I am annoyed to literally have to turn around and move again, the opportunity had to be taken. And it's going to be ten kinds of awesome once move 2.0 is completed.

But Chris. How will you ever turn this post into some kind of folksy writing wisdom?

Well, I'm going to stop strumming my banjo for a moment, take this piece of wheat hay out of my mouth and tell the good folks reading that there's an important variation on the theme I've been talking about a lot lately. My life being the landfill inferno it is (that's a step up from dumpster fire, if you were wondering) I've been blowing a lot of smoke about how when the going gets tough, it's good to keep on writing. Your discipline will thank you. Your craft level not atrophying will thank you. And your emotional processing of your personal shitshow will probably thank you.

But sometimes the thing you're writing through isn't a tragic disaster. In fact, sometimes it's harder to keep writing when your life is about to transition in a definitively good direction. Particularly if that transition is going to be good for your writing. If you're about to get a break at work and go down to 30 hours, you might want to wait for that before you start writing. Or if you're about to move into a place with your very own writing office, you might be tempted to just wait until that happens. And in my case, I'll be getting out of a situation where I'm spending 20 hours a week commuting and cutting that down by over 75%, the urge is definitely there to just get myself moved and THEN worry about the writing.

Most of the reasons not to do this are the same whether you're waiting around for great stuff to kick in or bad stuff to kick out. Writing is a skill, and like any skill it will atrophy with disuse. Sitting down to write is a habit, and like any habit you can break it by not doing it. Creativity. Output. Vocabulary. Even smoothness of your sentences will suffer if you put writing aside for a while while you wait for life to either be great or stop being shitty.

But the main reason is that it's a never ending chain. How many times in your life have you not been looking forward to something good or hoping for something bad to be done. How many times have you truly not been in some sort of transition. That's just life. And if you spend the whole time telling yourself you're going to write when this next one thing comes along (and then the next and then the next) you'll turn around and realize life happened while you were waiting for the perfect circumstances in which to live it.


  1. Hi Chris,

    Having only recently come aboard and trying to get up to speed it appears that there's been some shall we say, undo stress, that you've had to deal with lately which, by any stretch, hasn't been very conducive to the productive and prolific writing schedule that you seem to have. I'm hoping that the post above would imply that things are finally falling into place for you and that, in turn, the stress level can get dialed back a touch and leave you with a renewed level of enthusiasm for what you do so well which is make us all comfortable with the fact that when it comes to excuses, uncertainties or just plain bullshit that we all, at one time or another, try to lay on ourselves there truly is "nothing new under the sun".

    Personally I'd like to thank you for being so spot on with your observations. It amazed me how many were so close to home and I think that you may have finally moved me from wishful poseur to apprentice writer.

    Keep up the good work and I'll follow along learning something all the way.


  2. On point. There's always a reason to wait, there's always a reason "now isn't the right time." So you just do it and fall asleep on your keyboard.

    Thank you for writing this, I needed a kick in the ass to continue to Put Words On Paper, One After Another, 100000 Times.