Day #10 – The Emptiness Thing

I’ve made it this far. Double digits. And as I develop the habit, I can feel the urge to write more, and by that I mean more than just the 500 words a day, returning. I don’t know if I’m writing anything interesting yet, but at least I don’t feel discouraged from even sitting down and typing things out.

That’s the goal. Maybe, somewhere in the back of my head, I talked myself out of writing anything at all. Maybe that’s what fear looks like, or, rather, feels like. I don’t know. All I know is that previously, when I would think about writing, my attention wouldn’t stay on that topic long enough for me to find a keyboard somewhere and tap something out. I’d just… drift to something else. Checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, repeat ad nauseam. Find a video on YouTube. Play Sudoku. Anything but writing.

How many times a day do you find yourself poking at your phone and wondering why you picked it up? I do it so very often. I’ve written about this before. It’s an empty feeling. I don’t like it. The phone should be a tool to help me get things done, and to stay in communication with people.

I can even write on the phone. Or I could be reading. My friend Steve Libbey wrote a book and tossed it up on Kindle. I bought it the other night, and I could be reading it. That’s what I used to do when I felt that empty bored feeling. That empty bored feeling is why I read a lot of books when I was younger. Now it’s a shiny colorful glass screen, and I feel much less enriched and entertained than I remember feeling.

So here I am writing. It’s very stream of consciousness. I can’t imagine it’s very interesting for anyone. Adding interest will come later, I hope. I just want to get back into the habit. The habit of writing will help carry me past the inevitable lulls of motivation.

I’ve always been very bad at motivation. Again, I’m sure I’ve written about that before. I had a teacher in high school tell me, “If anyone ever figures out how to motivate you, you’re going to be an unstoppable force!” Which, if you think about it, is a really shitty thing to tell a kid, even a teenager, from a position of authority. But it’s stuck with me, and not in a good way.

Maybe a better thing to have told me would have been this idea I’m working on now: habits are better than motivation. Maybe what young Brian should have learned is that it’s OK to be bored sometimes but if you have something to create or do on a regular basis, like reading, or writing, or drawing, and you do that whenever you’re bored, you’ll eventually build your skills and portfolio up, and you’ll have something to show people, to share with other people.

Because that’s the best next step for that empty feeling: sharing your work with others can help you connect. I’m pretty sure that’s why I did, and still often do, feel empty inside. I have always wanted to be noticed, to be invited, to be included. That, however, is a whole ‘nother topic.