I Used to Like Blogging

I did. I really did. It was a creative outlet, it was a chance to connect with people over a medium I felt moderately talented at; it was a way to share my thoughts into the void, and sometimes get a phenomenal response out of it. There was a point where I was posting 3-4 times a week, or more. I was featured on WordPress’ front page – twice!

I don’t really know why I stopped. It wasn’t all of a sudden, either; it kind of just petered out, slowing to a post a week, then a post a month, then maybe two or three in a year. Part of it is my bipolar, I’m sure; when I’m severely depressed, I really just don’t feel like doing anything. But part of it is, I suspect, a severe lack of self-discipline.

You see, it’s not like I don’t create anymore. In the past years I’ve written books, songs, albums … I’m currently working on a classical requiem, for no other reason than I want to. All of this takes energy, effort, and time, but there are also long periods of time where I just don’t do anything. I don’t create. Yesterday, I got home from work at 8 PM, ate dinner by 9 PM … and then just went to bed. No work, no creativity; just sleep.

I do like sleep.

But this lack of discipline, I suspect, is chronic in my life. It takes me forever to achieve anything. In the time I write one book, others write four or five. In the time it takes to get a promotion at work, others are three or four levels ahead of me. I think the biggest issue with my life is that I give in to complacency: an idea that what I have is enough, and that working towards more is not worth the effort.

But I’m also getting older, and I have to recognize that half my life is behind me. There are still things I want to accomplish, and I don’t have forever to do so. I want to finish The Redemption of Erâth. I want to write a symphony. I want to see it performed by a real orchestra. So many things, so little time.

But it wouldn’t be so little time, if I had a little more discipline.

So here’s my attempt. My attempt at discipline. I will try – try, mind you – to write a post once a week at a minimum, for the rest of the year. I will post it on Monday each week, no matter what. No excuses, no delays. Today is number one. It doesn’t matter what the posts are about; I don’t care if they’re deep, profound, or totally banal and boring. And NO repeats – this doesn’t count if I post previously-written material. The goal here is to actually just write.

And who knows? Maybe 2023 will be the year my blog takes off again. I mean, probably not, but you never know.

So here’s to 48 more posts. This is number one.

The Constant Toil of Inner Turmoil

At the start of the year, as I do every year, I made a commitment to write more frequently, regularly, and consistently.

As I do every year, I failed.

I mean, I did try. I wrote seven posts here in January … then two in February … then one in March …

I really meant to try and recover the lightning-in-a-bottle success I had on here in 2012, but I was writing three to four posts a week at that point. I had themes – Thought of the Week, Tales of Despair, Movie Night – and I stuck to it. I would write late into the night, getting little to no sleep, but it was worth it for the engagement and interaction with people in the WordPress community.

Now, I barely make it to 9:00 PM most nights. I go to bed early, and fall asleep in front of reruns of Family Guy and Futurama. I don’t write. I don’t do much of anything.

In 2012, I was unmedicated, and starting to really see the effects of my burgeoning bipolar disorder. When I was depressed I would go through phases of drab nothingness, of course, but it was alternated with periods of virulent productivity. I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote.

I don’t know if I can go back to that, of course; the medications take edges off in many ways. The catatonic depression is largely gone, but so is the mania that led to so much work. Instead, I go through life in a kind of gray fog, not quite sure of what to do with myself.

I do have plans; I do want to finish the Redemption of Erâth series. I want to write more young adult novels. I want to blog, and interact.

It’s just so frigging hard.

It’s my son’s spring break this week, and I took the week off many moons ago in the assumption we’d be going somewhere or doing something. We’re not, so I really now have a week at home to lounge around and do nothing.

Or maybe …

Let’s see what I can accomplish with a week of little-to-no responsibility. A week with nothing to stop me writing my heart out. A week of productivity.

I may get no further than this.

A World of Possibilities

When I’m not writing (which is most of the time), I have a job – a profession; a career, so to speak. I recently changed roles in my company, and although I’m really not looking for other jobs, I took the opportunity to make a few changes to my LinkedIn profile, update my status, etc.

It reminded me of a few years ago, when I started considering writing as a viable career option (I’m still not sure if it is, to be perfectly honest), and I was looking to create a LinkedIn profile for myself as an author. You see, whilst I do have a professional account for my ‘real’ job, I work for a reasonably high-profile company, and as such I have to be careful about what I say and do outside of work, in case it appears as representative of my company. Given that the job of ‘author’ is essentially about speaking my mind and telling the truth as I see it, this could potentially cause a conflict with my position at work, and that’s not something I’m willing to compromise.

The problem is this: LinkedIn have a very strict policy regarding multiple accounts. Although I could, yes, create a second, unrelated account for myself as a writer, if LinkedIn were able to connect the two accounts (via profile information, IP addresses, or whatever), not only could I lose both, but I could be banned from LinkedIn entirely. A LinkedIn profile, it seems, is directly tied to an individual person, and all the professional things that individual does.

With a world of possibilities, it seems society is still geared to catering to just one at a time.

The fundamental flaw in this setup is that it really caters to an outdated, linear view of career progression: that you move from job to job, company to company, and you don’t start one career until you’re done with another. This is fine if your career is your life, but I think that, for the majority of people, their passion in life lies often outside of what they do for a living. And whilst many of those people will never act on their passion, for those that do – for those who want to make a career out of passion, and not just skill – there’s very little opportunity to build a profile around your passion whilst still working a day job.

I’ll give you an example: let’s say you’ve worked for a globally-recognized coffee brand for fifteen years. You’ve worked your way up the corporate ladder, from employee to manager to district or maybe even regional director, and you aren’t really in a position to give that up. But on the side, you really, really love drawing political cartoons. Maybe you’ve sold a few – under a pseudonym – and it looks like a promising opportunity. But until you are able to match your $75K salary from drawing, you can’t quit your main job. And for as long as you work for a major brand, you can’t be seen to publicly affiliate with any one political view or another, for fear of representing the entire brand.

What do you do? With a world of possibilities, it seems society is still geared to catering to just one at a time. I can’t represent myself professionally as a writer and an employee, and so I’m forced to choose between one career or the other. Everything I do on one side has to be carefully and meticulously kept separate from the other. The corporate me, the writer me, and even the musician me, can’t really coexist.

Even within writing, I’ve chosen to keep two identities – because my fantasy work is so very different to my YA/literary work. And while I don’t really mind ‘cross-contamination’ – I’ll happily reference both sets of work on here or on cmnorthauthor.com – it’s another example of how society simply doesn’t expect an individual person to have multiple passions, careers, or possibilities. Imagine if Stephen King tried to sell and market a beach-bum romance novel; under his real name people would simply be confused, but by adopting a pseudonym (as he did with Richard Bachman, for example) he can publish genres that would typically be considered outside of his wheelhouse.

It does make life frustrating at times, however; I try to commit to writing under both Satis and C.M. North, but time is prohibitive, and managing two blogs is twice the effort of managing one. I have two Instagram accounts, two Twitter accounts … the list goes on.

In the end, I don’t want to sacrifice my passion or my vision to practicality – however tempting – and so I have little choice but to soldier on as both Satis and C.M. North, as well as a professional representative of a major corporation, and simply hope my paths remain parallel.

What are the limitations of your pursuits? What stops you from putting your all into one thing or another? Or are you able to combine your career with your passion, and get everything done in one go?