Promisses No. 8: Your Own Worst Critic

I’ve been writing, and it’s scary.

I mean, I’m always writing, of course, but I’ve been writing in a way that I really hadn’t been for several years. It’s fiction, this thing I’m doing. The kind that’s pompously, idiotically dubbed “literary fiction,” I guess you’d call it (it’s all “literary,” in my opinion, any given piece of writing, if there’s any shred of creativity or artistic expression in it at all), which just means it doesn’t have a plot that moves enough to apply any other genre to it, unless and until it takes one on as it goes along.

I have my doubts as to whether it’ll ever be publishable (or whether I’ll want it to be), but it’s a thing that’s important to me to write, personally, about some stuff I’ve been through. It’s therapeutic. And, who knows? Maybe it will be A Thing, someday. It could happen. The point is that I’m doing it because I want to and feel like I need to, and (for now) I’m committed to it. I’ve set, and so far (four or five days in) kept, a relatively modest goal of 500 words a day. (And I’m sure that I’ll be flexible on that, in the future, as I inevitably need it.)

And each night, at about 300 words in (and often several other times before and after), I come to the fully supportable and almost certainly correct conclusion that this thing I am writing is The Worst Thing That Has Ever Been Written. I still occasionally get that with my other writing, too; it’s just a part of the process. That feeling nearly convinced me not to publish last Friday’s post on women and tattoos, which, whether it’s a good post or a bad one, ended up being the most-viewed post in this blog’s short history nearly twice over (if you’re curious, and you’re not, the previous leader was my inaugural “Beauty of a Woman” post). I’ll often have to find a way to trick myself into sending a baseball article, which I’ve fussed over for hours already and which is the kind of thing I’ve written hundreds of times before, finally hitting that “send” button to my editors so abruptly and almost impulsively that I sometimes won’t even realize that I’ve actually finally forced myself to stop fretting and send it. I’ll probably edit this ten times before morning, and who cares about this? It’s just part of being a writer. Or at least, it’s a part of being me, writing.

That, the nagging worry, is a pretty significant impediment to my progress on this…novel or whatever it is, but I push through it. Eventually, that is — maybe after playing five games of Bejeweled Blitz and opening up four new Gchat windows and trying with limited success to start some big dumb conversation/fight on Twitter and watching an episode of Dr. Who — I do finally push through it. And I get to the end of my planned 500 words (or 600 or 1000 of them) and glance back over what I’ve done, and you know what? Well, it might not be good, per se, I’ll never be convinced it’s ever going to be anything good, but it won’t be nearly as awful as I thought it might be while I was in the middle of it. Never once has been.

Promisses missed you terribly last week, and today reminds you (me) to turn off that nagging dread and worry in your (my) already overcrowded, tiny little brain.

Own Worst Critic

Fist-bump to my lovely wife for the initial suggestion on this one.

Loveliest of Fridays and weekends.

Promisses No. 4: This Isn’t Going to Be What Does It

Yes, he’s still doing these, every Friday. I don’t know that more than three people in the world are entertained by them, but they happen to be three of my favorite people (myself, especially), so the rest of you are just going to have to deal with (read: ignore) it.

An aspect of Dove Promises that hasn’t been explored much yet in this space (other than in the originating post) is this: Dove makes chocolate, and at bottom, in some way, the Promises’ goal is to get you to keep buying and eating more delicious Dove chocolate. Sometimes they’re pretty explicit about this; this list (which I know from my own research is incomplete) has nine different messages that use the word “chocolate,” like: “A special moment deserves a special chocolate,” and “Chocolate therapy is oh, so good.”

This week’s Promisses message takes that just one small step further. Promisses knows you’ve been a bit down on yourself, maybe eating a lot, maybe concerned about your weight, and just wants you to know that, I mean, it’s not like one more tiny piece of chocolate is going to be the thing that pushes you over the edge. You know? You’re not Mr. Creosote or something. So go ahead, unwrap one more. You know you want to.

Fatty fat fat

Promisses No. 2: On Priorities

I meant to get a lot of things done this week. Mostly writing. I was going to write a longer, less ridiculous post here, and one on my baseball blog, and some other stuff. I did none of that. I don’t mind too much — for the most part, the things I did instead were either fun or important or both. But the point is that a whole week went by, and I didn’t make any progress on a number of things on which I wanted to make progress. That’s always a bit sad.

Accordingly, this week’s Promisses (does it look better as Pro-misses?) Friday reminds you that our time on this earth is fleeting, and that when you get to the pearly gates or the Great Beyond or the light at the end of the tunnel or the eternity of darkness or whatever, you’re going to want to be sure that you’ve spent the time you had focused on the Really Important Things:

Saved by the Bell Promisses

Happy Friday!

Promisses No. 1: How to Live Life

I had a lot of fun with my post on Dove Promises the other day, on the wisdom and compassion and condescension and creepiness and thinly veiled sexism of the little messages they print on the inside of the delicious little chocolates’ wrappers.

Writing about it, though, really made me want to start coming up with my own little platinum nuggets of indispensable-yet-almost-mandatorily-disposable wisdom. And through the magic of computers, help from some friends, and the fair use doctrine, I can! Every Friday from now until I no longer have the energy for it will be Promisses Friday (not a typo, just a really corny pun).

I expect that in future offerings I’ll try to make them timely in some way, maybe follow some themes and so on. For now, I just wanted to remind you all that — it being Friday and all — it’s a great time to really take today by the balls, drop-kick it around the room a bit, and just really live. You know? Yeah, you know.

Live today...

Have a great weekend!

Thanks to my good buddy August McLaughlin for the name (and much of the idea, really), and to the beautiful and talented Ben Collin for photoshop help.