Do you ever feel differently towards a problem depending on your mood?
I have. Take, for instance, my writing process. My attitude towards the blank page changes along with my mindset, most prominently before and after exercising. Ditto pre- and post-alcohol as well.
But the circumstances themselves don’t really change, do they? Only your point of view does. It’s a miracle, really, how difficulties can change just with a slight shift in perspective.
I don’t believe in writer’s block. That’s right, I said it, the words of an ex-journalist that had this term banished straight from his soul through the involuntary administering of deadlines.
Editor just gave you a one-hour assignment? You better have the finished product by then, even if it includes quotes and facts from people you haven’t called.
I’m probably not as busy as most of you on here, but recent obligations have been eating away at my writing time.
And these surprise attacks come from all angles too. Maybe a mentee needs an entire day’s worth of guidance. Or maybe the weeds have grown uncontrollably in the garden. Or maybe it’s work on the weekends.
Either way, my adult life is an insatiable blob that only has an appetite for my leisure time. And thus I’ve found myself having to sneak in little pockets of writing time throughout the day instead of having a dedicated hour like I’m used to.
But that’s a small problem for me, right? After all, I did put up this post about micro-writing, so all I need to do is just write, right?
As it turns out, it’s not the writing that’s the problem. It’s attention.
What do doughnuts, sex, and cocaine have in common? They’re pretty danged pleasurable, that’s what.
How about the post-workout high, acing the exams you’ve been studying hard for, and finishing the first draft of your novel? Awesome too, right?
Most of us would lump all of the above under happiness, and rightfully so, but there is a certain distinction between the two (which we’ll be exploring shortly).
We’ve all heard this before: delayed gratification is better than instant gratification. But why? Why is snorting coke off a stripper’s bum not as good as eating salad and working out?
And that, ladies and gentlemen, brings us to the question of pleasure versus gratification.
Photo: Brad Neathery
You know how you wake up in the morning and think ‘Whoa, that was a weird dream’, and you’re pretty sure you’ll remember it for later, but before you’re done making coffee, all that remains are the vague leftover feelings?
That’s memory for you. Here’s another example. Try recalling what you had for dinner last week. Doesn’t really ring a bell, am I right? What about last month? Last year?
The reason why I bring this up is exactly because of last week’s dinner. There I was, stuffing my face with chicken and rice, and this thought popped up in my head.
What if I wrote a blog post about remembering every dinner I ever had?