Ignoring Hints from the Universe

I should really be taking the hint from the universe about attempting to complete NaNoWriMo this year. Life and work seem to be conspiring to warn me off it before it even starts. Take this evening for instance – I’ve only just sat down at the computer in the study to write anything, and it’s already gone 10pm. If this keeps happening, I have no idea how I’ll make it past sixteen hundred words each night.

We’ll try to ignore that I’ve been missing days all over the place recently too. The whole “blogging streak” thing is ridiculous anyway – when I look back at the first few years in my archive, I only posted once or twice a week at best. I remember taking part in “NaBloPoMo” (National Blog Posting Month), which required posting every day for a month back in 2006, and thinking that was utter madness too. Oh how times have changed – with us all carrying internet connected devices around, and filling Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and WordPress with sometimes multiple posts each day.

When life happens, I tend to forget all about the blog – and sometimes feel guilty about it – because I also forget all about the people I know through the blog. While it’s easy to compartment them off in my head, they are real people, telling real stories, living real lives, and facing the same struggles as anybody else. They have been there for me from time to time, and it feels like I should try to be there for them too. It’s the whole balance thing, isn’t it – putting into friendships what you expect to get out.

I used to email the various friends I have made around the internet far more regularly than I seem to these days. I think perhaps I’m a bit of a Don Quixote figure when it comes to email though – clinging on to a slowly diminishing medium. Whenever I use my other half’s computer, or any of the kids computers, I’m always surprised how much unread email they have – often hundreds, or thousands of items. I rarely have more than ten items – as email arrives, I read it, reply to it, archive it, or delete it.

I still remember watching Merlin Mann talk about “Inbox Zero”, and the realisation that scooping everything into a vast box, titled “some day”, was a perfectly valid way of clearing the decks – and my mind to a certain extent.

This is where I admit that I’ve stopped using the Bullet Journal. I switched over to Trello at work, and haven’t regretted it for a moment. Over the last few months my work had become so chaotic that it made little sense to try and write lists – they would always become scribbled out, re-arranged, re-ordered, and so on – which of course a computer can do and remain neat and tidy in the process.

I can’t even remember the last time I wrote in the Moleskine notebook either. I used to write a personal journal alongside the blog, but somewhere along the way the blog took over that too. It’s a shame. I have a small collection of paper notebooks stretching right back to 2007 – with sporadic hand-written pages telling the story of mornings on trains, nights in hotels, and waiting alone in restaurants for my food to arrive.

How on earth am I going to stretch posts out to three times this length for the next thirty days? Perhaps I should take a leaf from the author’s book in “The Shining”, and just fill page after page with “Too much work, and not enough play makes Jack a dull boy”. I wonder if anybody would get the reference ? Of course each page would have to be formatted differently – with paragraphs, conversations, and so on constructed from the phrase – over, and over again.

(If you’ve not seen The Shining, I apologise – you’ll have no idea what on earth I’m talking about. Jack Nicholson’s character goes slowly mad while working on a novel – when his wife finally discovers the hundreds of pages of hand-typed manuscript, all it says across every page is “Too much work, and not enough play, make Jack a dull boy”).

I never know if a full stop should go inside or outside parentheses. Guess who didn’t do English at college.

Anyway. Time to stop writing for today. A voice on my shoulder is busy whispering that everything I write is something that might have been written during the next month of madness. So I’ll stop. Right here.

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