I have been on a little bit of an article writing hiatus the last two weeks or so due to traveling, and the slower pace has been quite nice. I didn’t realize just how much my self-imposed deadlines were contributing to my overall adrenaline/stress levels being higher. It’s kind of a curious thing how different the psychological effects of various types of writing can be. I didn’t actually realize that on a regular basis I do three or four different types of writing.
The main type of writing is what you read here. I view my blog entries as a journal where I try to go a bit further and distill why it is that I am engaging in a particular behavior or what lesson I learned in my pursuit of a balanced life rather than purely venting about a situation. That’s where my journal comes in. It contains my most raw thoughts, ideas, aspirations and a whole heck of a lot of personal encouragement. Then there are the wellness, productivity and self-care articles for various magazines and websites. These are probably the most exciting to write because I have the potential to reach a wide audience and hopefully help someone somewhere (I read many of the same type of articles I write now when I was experiencing burnout and trying to overcome depression). Blog writing can be kind of lonely sometimes, so getting to see my work in another space that already has a large audience and getting to respond to readers’ comments is especially enjoyable. Then there is the writing I do for my work as a graduate student. Keeping track of my projects, writing progress reports and manuscripts while less descriptive than one of my self-help articles, is still quite enjoyable to do. I really enjoy the process of synthesizing all of the ideas and work into one coherent document that explains something about the molecular world just a bit better. It’s probably my favorite part about doing science, when the story comes together and you can share it with the world.
Like I mentioned earlier, the last two weeks have been pretty heavy on the blog and personal journal writing. In fact, just yesterday I spent a good 45 minutes in the evening at one of my favorite coffee shops for the sole purpose of journaling. Journaling is one of my absolutely favorite things to do but for some reason, it is often relegated to last place on my list of priorities for the day, if it makes it in at all. Even though I always feel better after I write, sometimes I will surprise myself by going two or three weeks without writing a single thing. With a more irregular summer schedule due to traveling and fewer commitments, I just haven’t quite gotten in the groove of writing twice a week, in the mornings like I used to earlier in the year. It seems like it should be the opposite but it’s not at all. Mentally I am much more in a leisure mode and so the extra time in my day is getting taken up with other activities (and more TV than usual). It’s definitely interesting realizing that the more time I have on my hands, the fewer things I actually do with it. I am not sure what that says about me other than maybe I haven’t fully escaped the cult of busyness.
On a final note, my stack of books in my living room and nightstand is growing and I haven’t quite managed to finish any one book this month. With so many competing interests, I find myself making a little bit of progress and then not going back to read the same book until much later. I am thinking I might be more committed if I gave myself an additional incentive to finish the books I already started reading (or staying off Amazon for a while where I get most of my reading material). If anyone has any suggestions, please post in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.