February is not actually lazy. I am the one that feels unproductive. This month, it really hit home that I am unable to define concrete goals within my creative endeavours. Besides this, I am stretched thin over a multitude of goals that do not necessarily relate to one another.
Health and Fitness, while essential and admirable most definitely absorb a larger part of my weekly schedule. When I look at this aspect of my life, it seems very well contained and structured for improvement. That is, to get better at roller derby, I have been keeping a training tracker for over two years now. It’s actually really amusing and fun to see how much I’ve increased my cross training and overall weekly exercise regiment. It has significantly increased since last year, quantifying not only the type of activities (weight training in an effort to gain muscle mass plus cardio in an effort to become quicker) but to also calculate a certain amount of hours per week spent. Typically, I am aiming for 7 hours. With a goal of 9-10 hours. This is weekly.
Fitness is an easy way to receive immediate gratification and a general sense of outcome whether that’s performance based or physical based. Obviously the more important of the two is performance based. Especially when talking about fitness in relation to cross training.
For the longest time I approached art making and career based endeavours from a really strict perspective that searched for quantity of output. And goals measuring success such as… I don’t know. Having work published. Sure. That was a good indicator. Amongst other things. But lately, I have been finding myself increasingly jaded with this process. What does it mean to feel satisfied with process? I no longer find that out of the work that I’m making. I want real projects with an ongoing legacy. I want something with teeth. Something that makes a lot of the work that I’ve put into drawing, music and writing… Into a greater context.
Tracking gradual improvement in my creative practice is not enough anymore. I want something real and tangible.
Recently, I started rereading journals from when I was 14 to 24 years old. I don’t know what exactly I was searching for. Some message that I was on track back then? Some hints towards what I should be working on? I saw nothing entirely special. But that actually made me feel comforted in a way. A typical person with typical concerns and fears and moments of happiness. It was really sweet, really.
What now? What then but really, what now?
Maybe what I should be doing is not only tracking my personal productivity with projects but also setting some demanding deadlines. A friend once gave himself a month long deadline to write a book. A month! I give myself hypothetical years to start a project. It has been years since I have myself that hypothetical timeline that is still in my head. “I need to be smarter, I need to know more, I need to practice more…” All good excuses. All successfully preventing me from getting. Shit. Done.
Be okay with imperfection. Don’t be afraid to fail. No project is the end all. Think of all those writers that rewrote their ideas over and over again in search of carving out a better plot. A better project. An extension of their body of work. Literally, famed writers who reuse characters. Atwood with The Handmaidens Tale and The Blind Assassin. Literally 2 side characters that are the same type of people. Bukowski (what an asshole) literally rewriting poems and books about himself. Everyone is doing it. It’s what you do. Don’t get caught up in your first journals. Keep writing , keep making, keep making it better. But most of all, keep doing.