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Improvements

Nothing to report as far as my shop projects go, but my writing HAS improved. After the first mediocre and unsteady attempts, I have found my footing and feel optimistic. It can only be uphill. Yes, I might reach a place where I feel I can’t get ahead, it is inevitable there will be setbacks on the way, perhaps discouraging at times, but I would still have achieved a new quality.

Furthermore, I’m loving it. I love words. I love the new things I learn about language and what I can do with it. And loving a thing is terribly important. If I work on maintaining these habits, writing a book may not be a mere fantasy.

*pinches herself*

I find it hard to believe sometimes that I’m actually doing it. I’m really and truly working towards my own book. And I believe in myself. It is amazing to be able to believe in yourself after years of self-doubt that brought you down and led to inactivity and not doing anything for your dreams.

 

Things not going perfect

Oh hai.

I’ve started a number of small projects in the last few months. Starting involving conceiving them, figuring out the details and taking first small steps. And not a single venture has been a complete success.

The stock I bought for my vintage shop is not ideal. There is only one item in mint condition. The others have slight signs of wear and one item makes me think why ever did I buy it. Who would be so crazy to buy something so impractical? Well, I liked the colour. And maybe someone likes it too. And if no one does, I will turn it into cat toys. Because the colour is wonderful and the material is sturdy.

My cat emporium. I was very pleased to have finally found an outlet for my half-hearted wish some 5 years ago – that of making pillows for an additional income. Pillows is the only thing I’m good at designing and sewing, but I couldn’t think of who would buy such things. Now I’ve turned it into making sleeping mattresses for cats. And at first it seemed like a brilliant idea. Until I realised I’d have to make buttons or use zippers rather than make the cases fixed to the mattresses for eternity. My sewing machine is not good enough. It’s from the 1950s. It can’t do finishing well. It can’t do nice button holes. And a new one costs a bunch. But it has to be figured out somehow.

The cat toy I made yesterday lacks stuffing and I need to open it up again (if possible), but it looks better than I expected, so this is a small success among the countless little setbacks.

And lastly, there is my writing. I was feeling unusually confident the last few months. I felt I had become a writer. I could write all of a sudden. And C was not right for telling me I could not. I do develop. I had done so with seemingly no effort, mere absorption of good writing. Anyway, I was bursting with things to write. I wrote some snippets. They confirmed my feelings. I had improved. It was wonderful.

I carried a bunch of ideas with me for a week and a half and then – when I put them down, all the old problems raised their ugly heads again. I got stiff, I got inhibited, I had nothing to say, the inspiration had faded. Thou must not wait for thine inspiration to flee! This is one golden rule I ignored that time. Inhibition is an old friend. I have to consciously deal with that. When I write for an audience, I want it to be good, and the wanting it to be good and the presence of an audience has an unusually crippling effect on me. Just as doing a public presentation or standing in front of a camera has. The desire to be good overrides everything, and you end up sounding really bad, because you are not yourself any more and are afraid of words and unusual turns of phrase. Safety becomes the guiding force. Tedium, effort. When truly inspired, I am a little more free of that, but it is never entirely gone and definitely a constant enemy I have to tackle with.

What with all these setbacks, I haven’t yet reached the “I’m not doing it” it phase, though. I’m a little discouraged, but the main thing is to keep at it and some of the setbacks also seem very natural. Of course my first vintage stock trip would not be a complete success. It’s not like I’d end up losing money on it either. I will do better next time. The cat toys can be fixed or new ones made. The sewing I will try to figure out somehow. This is the most daunting of the lot for sure. But learning to make beautiful buttonholes IS a matter of practice and if it allows me to sell pillows for cats, I will learn it. Yes, I’m a terribly weird crazy cat person, okay?

And writing, I did a number of things wrong, which led to the first result being poor. I will try again.

 

 

When does being lost end?

Being reasonably intelligent and capable has its downside if you haven’t found your one true calling.

I’ve said this a number of times that I should have been an athlete. Unfortunately, the right personality is only a small ingredient in professional sports, perhaps the decisive one, the factor that makes some win golds and others take the 6th and 10th places. But if physical ability is lagging behind, there is really no going to the Olympics. When I did sports, I had enormous dedication, which I’ve lacked in all my future exploits. Lacked, because there is no feedback, no measurable indicator of progress. It’s hard to keep going if the measuring tape does not tell you exactly where you stand.

After my dealings with sports as a teenager, I discovered literature and decided I wanted to be a poet. It was Byron and Jane Austen that first inspired me. I scribbled bad poetry like a lot of other adolescents, but I wasn’t particularly devoted to it. It soon became obvious I couldn’t write very good poetry, so I decided I might make a decent novelist. This has been my distant dream ever since.

I have never intended to make money as a writer because that would entail a totally different approach to writing. I’m too impressionable and absorbent, so if I know I want the novel to sell well, I’ll subconsciously put in stuff that might appeal to the average member of my target audience.

Now on to real-life choices. I’m working as a translator and dream of also working as a psychologist. Doing two things equally well is naturally very hard. Yet this is exactly how I’ve seen my life, being a translator-psychologist. I do not want my therapist activity to become dependant on the number of patients I take. I want to actually treat them, so I would not take more patients than I can handle, which I imagine is around five to seven. This means I’d have to continue translating to pay the bills. Translating also has the advantage that it is quite close to my pursuits in writing, so if I read grammar and style books, I will improve not only as a translator but also as a writer. And since writing is the distant glorious dream, I should prioritize things that get me closer to that goal. Maybe the digression into psychology was a mistake? A madcap idea.

Maybe I must show persistence, remove superfluous demands on my time and intellect and focus on the one goal? The writing one. Rather than try to become an expert in two areas. I really don’t know. I have an entire year to think about it at least.