I haven’t been as productively as I’d like to be. Part of this traces back to bad habits I developed when I was injured. Pains leads me to engage in distracting activities rather than more intense, productive ones. Back in high school, I once had a headache and cured it by distracting myself with Minesweeper. I guess that association stuck because I still find games a good way to distract me from pain. TV and mindless internet surfing are other bad habits. (Although I’m the least guilty about TV than anything else because it’s my primary way of consuming narrative. Some of the best writers of our generation are in TV. Seriously, I could write a whole blog post about this, so I should stop now.) I stay in bed far too long, which is a perk of working from home, but I think I am more productive in the morning. But now that I’m (mostly) free of pain, I want to crush these habits. That’s why I’m up at 8 in the morning, blogging. I have so many self-improvement projects that got derailed, and I’d like to get them back on track. (Hooray for unmixed metaphors.) Before talking about these potential projects, I’d like to note that things aren’t quite as dire as I make them. I still managed to put out a rather complicated app during this time and host several parties. Alright, time to get off the negative thinking and move on to thinking about projects.
One thing I’d like to get back on track with is learning how to draw. I’m not sure how far this will go. I don’t feel naturally gifted in this area. I was a band geek in high school, and my comic consisted of stick figures, which means my drawing skills haven’t progressed all that much since middle school. I’m also not that visual of a thinker; I don’t imagine pictures when I read. However, I believe I can at least make it from terrible to mediocre. Maybe even further. In college, I liked taking classes in different subjects so that I was exposed to different ways of thinking. Even if I turn out not to be gifted in the area of drawing, I will benefit from thinking a different way. I am also worried about how my comic, because it’s only stick figures, may be limiting my growth, but I think I need to just stop worrying about that and just start drawing. My idea for a project is to do something like “500 faces” where I have to draw 500 faces in two months. March 1 seems like a good start date.
Another area I’d like to improve is blogging. As you can see from the monthly totals on the side, I don’t blog as often as I used to. Every once in a while, there’s a short burst of activity. Then, I disappear again. There are several topics I want to write about — observations about my own life and thoughts on TV shows I’m watching — so maybe this will be a more prolonged burst of activity. Lately I’ve been binging on writing by Film Crit Hulk, and I feel inspired. I’d rather have him and Ta-Nehisi Coates as my models, very thoughtful and empathetic writers, and move on from my previous adoration of Hitchens. I have some talent in polemic, but this kind of writing will feel more honest. That said, I won’t discard polemic. I’m sure that despite this blog becoming more pop culture centric, I’ll still want to touch on torture and other political topics. Topics: Legos, beauty pageants on TV, The Walking Dead game (again), Community season 3, the idea of grading episodes on TV.
The last “thing” is programming. I put thing in scare quotes because it’s more than one thing. I want to improve my skills and market myself. I also want to be involved in more projects than just Sticky Pics. I’m going to start a separate blog for writing about code and for re-posting some of my better entries from here. I could do some programming quizzes and show my thought process. I could also brush up on some fundamentals and post what I learned/re-learned. I’m also teaching a web development class at ATDP this summer (aka AIC), and I can post about that. As for the other projects, I’d like to work on another app, find some contract work, and contribute to an open-source project. It all seems like a lot, so I’ll have to narrow this down.