May 15, 2004


O fickle Mood! O frustrated Muse!

One thing that I've learned about myself in my quarter-century here is that I have a very distinct productivity cycle.

I swing slowly, over the span of several weeks, back and forth between raring to go on new projects and wanting desperately nothing more than to play video games and kill time surfing the Web. It doesn't hit hard enough to cause me trouble meeting obligations, and it has nebulous effects on my desire to socialize (enjoy getting distracted more, but don't want to engage myself in relating to others, except in short, erratic bursts). But one thing which is significantly affected is my creativity -- and, equally, my openness.

Journal-writing is caught at that unfortunate intersection of both -- as well as technology; the translation from thoughts to website takes several intermediate steps that combine to create just enough of a barrier to entry to scare me off when my mood is in a down cycle. (One of the incentives for the journal switchover to Movable Type was to reduce these barriers. It's helping somewhat, because the MT system is a lot simpler and more user-friendly -- although as I type this I'm well aware of a list of style changes and code tinkering that I really need to get around to, so in the short term that cancels out. MT's ability to save unpublished posts as drafts is also helping -- I'm halfway through an introductory post I got stalled on; with my old system I'd have had to keep track of it and "interrupt" it to write up something else in the meantime, but here, I can just save my changes and come back to it with a mouse click.)

My mood cycles have been on my mind a great deal lately, because I was just settling into an up-cycle when I sat down to install Movable Type. (If I'm doing Ambitious Things to Tlands, you can bet that I'm up-cycling.) I anticipated that I'd use the momentum from that burst of activity and the instantaneous feedback of "It's really working!" to shake out all the little stylistic bugs, get the journal seeded with some fresh posts, set up the Livejournal feed tlands_dot_org for you LJ readers ... and then, within the span of perhaps 24 hours, I stalled. I shut down completely. The down cycle whacked me upside the head and I stumbled, sprawling onto the floor, suddenly scrambling to just catch my breath and stagger forward a step at a time.

I'm used to the down cycles by now, but I'm definitely not used to them coming on that quickly.

At least not without reason. More typical is a slow drift into apathy, an incremental ratcheting back of the pace. Sometimes, of course, if I get sufficiently traumatized, it can bring things to a screeching halt -- longtime readers may recall Glineth and Cobalt's deaths, which are still weighing on my desire to write as the one-year mark creeps up (and it's really getting old, believe me). But two weeks ago? Added deadline urgency at the office was dragging me down some, sure, but that's about the only thing that was going on in my life at the time -- and by itself shouldn't have been enough to send me tumbling so far.

Since then, it's become clear that, yes, this is definitely an early down cycle rather than some sort of fluke. Work pressure has been unrelenting (especially with one of our editors taking off to get married and the rest of us picking up the burden), leaving me little chance to recenter on that front. I had a wonderful hike last weekend, as well as a pleasant date-thing with Rene, but neither really carried over to my mood cycle (especially given the editor's continued absence and the continued stomping at work starting the very next night).

Things may be looking up again. I hope. There's some drama going on in the background, but the stormy part of it is over, and now I just need to see how things settle. Hopefully well, although I have little control at this point. (I've got a reasonable drama tolerance, but being mired in interpersonal issues does tend to have a magnified drag on my mood.) For the moment, I'm stuck in something of a holding pattern.

Truth be told, with some exceptions the theme of my entire life lately has been "holding pattern." It's not a place I'm comfortable being. I have long-term goals I want to pursue, though I'll leave it to a later post to enumerate them.

What keeps me persevering is the fact that in this holding pattern, I'm building up financial resources which will make it significantly more pleasant when I do start sprinting forward again. (I came down here from Seattle five digits in debt. I'm not leaving the Sierra without ensuring that won't happen again if I take some time off from work.) But the sprinting is still some time off ... and I just wish I could do more jogging -- or even walking -- in the meantime.

Right now I feel like I'm hobbling along at an erratic limp toward those distant goals, going through long periods of not moving at all. That stasis is scary. It's just too easy a pattern to fall into ... and it's not something I want.

Posted by Baxil at 03:37 AM to Journal | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Today's moment of Zen

I'm aware I've basically posted nothing of substance since the changeover. Blame work and politics, in that order. In the meantime, here's your weird news for the day, fresh off the wire ...:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor Sylvester Stallone sued Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and a production company, claiming they stymied his efforts to make a sequel and Broadway musical based on the "Rocky" film franchise.
The suit filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against the studio and the production company. ...
Janet Janjigian, MGM's senior vice president of corporate communications, called it "sad, desperate, pathetic and without merit."

... Wait, which -- the lawsuit, or "Rocky: The Musical"?

Posted by Baxil at 02:37 AM to Fluff | TrackBack (0) | Permalink