2,000 words or less: Letting Things Slide

Once again, I’m letting things slide.

Only eight posts on here in October. None so far in November (pending this thing, of course). No updates to my sketch diary since Oct. 26, and only two since I quit doing it every day on Oct. 11.

Everything feels like work. The sketch diary was really fun initially, and I could see some things improving. But then I started just shoveling out the same old stuff because I felt I needed to have *something* up every day; even though most days I don’t have much to say. it’s frustrating.

The hockey history wall killed me at work; not because it was difficult, but because by the time it launched I was so sick of dealing with it that coming to work and knowing that thing was all I had to look forward to made me nauseous.

As a temporary distraction, I started playing World of Warcraft again a few weeks ago. Mel’s been playing again for months, but I resisted the urge for the longest time to join her. My second significant “retirement” from the game started in January; my first lasted about six months, so for this one to last about nine was somewhat of an achievement I guess. But the same things are happening now as when I was playing before my last two retirements: In large part, I’m logged in and finding things to do in the game simply for the sake of doing something in the game, I’m doing boring, repetitive stuff every day because by the mechanics of the game dictate that it can be done every day (in some cases for an incremental reward – one one-hundredth of a step further down to a certain reward, for instance, or a bag full of randomly-determined treasure that is usually worthless garbage but has a one-half of one percent chance to contain something very cool).

And as I’ve been doing this, I’ve quit drawing. Again. I think it’s to the point that I’m just afraid to be bad at it and worried that I’m not going to get any better. When I do take the time to draw, I *hate* the stuff I’m producing right now. I hate it. Even though I can see improvement over what I was doing just a few months ago, I still think the things I’m doing are generally terrible. But I’m at a loss for what to do to improve.

I add the blogs of artists to Google Reader almost daily, and they’re a vexing combination of inspiring and stomach-punchingly frustrating. I see what’s possible and it makes me want to be better, but then I start working and things just… don’t… work… Like most things, I’m mad that I can’t just flip a switch and produce the things I want to produce, and that on some level I realize that I am, in fact, capable of producing. The obscene amount of work that the people I think are great have done to become great remains lost on me.

As I give this post an editing pass, I’m getting hung up on the first sentence of Paragraph 3. “Everything feels like work.” Art is hard. Writing is hard. Having a marriage and a family is hard. Having a job is hard. Finding some way to maintain your sanity when all of those things are thrown into the blender to produce the delicious smoothie that is your life is hard. I don’t know why I think things shouldn’t “feel like work.” I just have this sense that in the past there was a version of me who didn’t feel this way; things came easier, things felt easier, things flowed better. I don’t think that is incorrect, because I know I haven’t always had this sense, as I currently do, that everything was such a challenge.

And while I’m trying to figure out how to get back to that place, things are continuing to slide. I don’t like it, and I’m going to keep trying to fix it.

Today’s fun fact: I did not know how to spell “nauseous” without looking it up. This, however, let me use “Terminology” on my iPad, which is an awesome app.

Today’s fun fact, Part 2: I’m writing this on a desktop blogging platform called Ecto. It’s my first go-round with it, and the first time I’ve tried an application like this since MarsEdit devoured my last attempt at a “This Week on Twitter” column.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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