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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Research Journal

In the 2016 spirit of Why Not, and Why Wait, and Do What I Want, and New Books, I bought myself a new notebook and two brand new gel pens yesterday when I went out after bubble mailers. Now, not a nice notebook, mind you. It's not pretty or inspiring. We're talking barcode-on-the-cover, college rule notebook. But I wanted a fresh one to serve as a research journal, and for me, just having the thing is important. It means I won't put off researching that big future project I need to start getting ready for. And I sometimes still struggle - just in my head - with making these sorts of work-related purchases. Because it's so easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking that writing is "not-work." To think that my obsessions are trivial.
It's funny - I've always written in some capacity. But publishing has given me a whole new perspective. NOT to say that I think publishing is a validation; it isn't. No one has the power to make you feel like an author; that's a personal, internal reckoning. It happens. Slowly, you start to realize that it isn't a case of having obsessions that friends and family laugh about; those obsessions are part of what feeds your vast creativity, and you should celebrate them all on your own: a bottle of bubbly, a glass for one. The entire process - writing, editing, rewriting, formatting, publishing, and marketing my books - has helped me to understand my own mind more clearly than any other experience of my life thus far. Want to know what you really think? Write a book.
Back to those obsessions: I listen to them now. If something plagues me, I find a way to use it. Obsessions are not random, nor are they passing. I believe they're deeply tied to our psyches. It's something we crave, something we lack, or something we want to reinforce. A returning obsession has been knocking on the door lately, and I realized, this is what I do: I tell stories. Bust out a notebook, do the damn research, and get it going. If I can't stop thinking about it, then it's worth pursuing.
That's probably my favorite part of being an author: I get to be as weird as I need to be. And, in doing so, I've made peace with my weirdness. It's a wonderful, freeing thing.
So no worries; I'm not about to announce a new project or anything. But one day in the future, I'll get to share the fruits of this notebook, and that is a lovely expectation.

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