Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Good Intentions

Good intentions don't pave the road to hell; they pave the road to nowhere. At least, that's what my road to nowhere is paved in.

I start everything with good intentions. This blog, for instance. It was intended to be updated much more frequently. It was intended to have a point, a theme. But, two-plus-years in, it's nowhere. If I post twice a week, it's a lot. If I say something significant once a month, it's a lot. There are things that have come out of this blog, for sure, but there's the potential for so much more. But, instead, I sort of let it get away from me for lack of focus and organization. I don't even know what I've written in the past, and couldn't find a previous post if my life depended on it. Or my livelihood.

I have so many ongoing projects right now that I'm embarrassed to list them all. More embarrassed because, initial good intentions aside, I have nothing to show for most of them, and the ones that I do have something to show for, it's an inferior product because of my lack of focus, my lack of follow-through. I have, for instance, a half-written book proposal for a parenting series. Thing is, a year ago, I had someone at a publishing house who was interested in such a proposal. I had an in. I had an idea. I had good intentions. And then I sat down to write it all up, and I became absolutely paralylzed with fear. I called it other things--burnout from writing my bipolar book, needing to spend time with the kids, needing to catch up on things around the house--and then later I moved on to other excuses, such as needing to do work that was going to pay me in the short term, rather than gamble on something that might never pay off. And so that proposal is in the same state that it was 10 months ago, and I'm sure my in is out by now. Good intentions. Nowhere.

I also have more than 50 pages of my "stalking memoir" in a file somewhere. I won't say I've written 50 pages of it yet, because that's not true: this is spew-style stuff, paragraphs that don't necessarily connect to one another. It's sort of like a pile or rubble out of which I might some day be able to build a small house, because in there are all the bricks and beams I will need. But I have to sort through it first, and throw away the stuff that isn't up to snuff, the stuff that's structurally unsound. Of course, almost all of what's in that file was in there a year ago, too. More good intentions--to get somewhere with this piece. And then I talked to my agent, and she told me that memoirs are like fiction rather than nonfiction, and that just a sample of what I'm hoping to do with the piece won't get me an advance; I've got to write the whole thing, and then she'll see if she can sell it. Read above the part about fear. And about not having motivation to work when there's not the immediate gratification of a paycheck coming in. So much for those good intentions.

I had good intentions to keep myself organized and on top of the journal I'm editing, and if you saw my desk right now, you'd know where those intentions have gotten me, just a month into the gig.

I've also had good negative intentions. I've been intending to learn how to say no. "No," I need to say. "I can't take on an assignment for your magazine right now." Instead, what comes out of my mouth is, "How much did you say you'd pay?" and "Sure, that sounds easy. I can handle that." And I could handle it. If I weren't already working three jobs, that is.

(And isn't that last bit obnoxious in its 'embarrassment of riches' way? But the truth is, that's what's going on right now. And every time I go to say no, I start to worry...What if all the other stuff starts to dry up? What if I quit my job and then I have no way of bringing in any money? What will we do? So I say yes. Even if I have absolutely no right to do so.)

Hell, I had good intentions when I started this writing prompt (which is what this is, from a creative non-fiction writing group for mothers that I recently joined), that I'd finish out the full 30 minutes. But it's 20 minutes now, and I'm done.

So much for good intentions.

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