An Article About Not Writing Articles

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The amount of free time I’ve had over the past three weeks is abnormally huge because of the coinciding of the quarantine and my Easter term break. Going into the holiday, I had tons of things I thought I could do now that I had all the time in the world. I was going to learn some music theory, do some drawing, write some articles of course, and above all I had planned to learn to play shogi (a game similar to chess). Now that the break is nearing its end I can look back and officially say that I have utterly failed at achieving those things.

To be fair, I did start and complete a line drawing that I’m quite proud of. It’s not original – I used a reference, but hey, it’s a start. Now the only problem is my unwillingness to progress past that all-too-familiar starting point. There seems to be a huge disconnect between what I think would be cool to do and what I actually want to do in practice.

Maybe this problem comes from a lack of a passion, per se. I have multiple things you could call hobbies, but none that I’m particularly passionate about, none that I could ever consider devoting my life to, for example. I don’t think that that is at all uncommon among real people, but I’ve always respected and idolised those who can work at something ad infinitum until they can make a viable career out of it.

There may be some bias present there, however. The examples of these people that I stumble across are usually the few who are pursuing something cool and unique. After all, boring stories don’t survive in the internet age, but I digress.

The message that you should do what you want and follow your dreams is reciprocated everywhere. Various corporations have desperately been using advertisements to try and make us believe that they support this form of individuality for years, but even more importantly in my case, most media is full of this theme, or at least characters who represent said theme, and these characters are often very much ennobled—for good reason, in my opinion. If I think about my favourite characters, a sizeable portion have strong convictions, lofty goals, and of course, unwavering determination.

One notable slight exception is a favourite film of mine, Whiplash, which still ultimately posits that following your dreams is worth it, but it doesn’t in the slightest stray from the possibility that doing so might be absolutely dreadful.

Chalking it up to a lack of a dream to follow could very well be completely wrong though. Perhaps I’m just feeling the quarantine blues. After all, now that I think about it, table tennis is one of the closest things I have to a passion at the moment, but there’s no way I’m playing table tennis now. Even if the quarantine does end, by the time we get to summer break it’ll still be a lot more difficult to find a table to play on as compared to the incredible convenience of having a few tables (sometimes) available at school, the place that I am legally obliged to frequent the most out of anywhere outside my front door.

 

So far I’ve talked about my unproductivity, but even figuring out what things I should consider productive has been surprisingly difficult. Of course, there are necessary, future-securing things like work and revision that I deem very productive, but there are also other things that I have decided I want to achieve. For example, I want to get better at writing and by extension do it more often, so I also consider writing very productive. However, another thing I want to do is consume some of the best media the world has to offer, so by the previously established logic perhaps lying down and binge-watching Evangelion could be considered productive too.

The natural conclusion is that, sure, maybe that is technically productive, but not as productive as the dozens of other, more important things, and so I have to make sure I only binge-watch Evangelion (again) when I have already put an adequate amount of time into those things recently. Still, remember that improving at a hobby which brings you satisfaction can still be a productive use of your time, even if it’s not exactly the kind of thing one would usually consider productive. Efficient use of time doesn’t mean doing chores for all eternity.

 

On the topic of hobbies, practice makes perfect, but as I previously mentioned, my problem is committing myself to practicing. Getting better at something necessitates that you fail at it, and I guess that just doesn’t hold my interest for most things. Perhaps, then, my best bet is to find something that I really do absolutely enjoy and fail at it as fast as I can for as long as it takes to achieve a level of perfection that I’m happy with.

Writing is one thing that I am interested in more than my other hobbies, and so it’s one I have quite a lot more motivation to fail at. Unlike table tennis, practicing it is also very convenient, all I need is an idea, my laptop, and some time. I do quite like reviews, but they’re not what I ultimately want to be writing. All of my favourite write-ups may reference an individual work, but they focus on much larger topics than that work itself, and so naturally I would like to write in a similar fashion. I’m still going to write reviews though, that’s simply the best way for me to get articles out at the moment. That fact is a small, necessary failure.

My failure at being productive these past few weeks will undoubtedly help me to make sure I don’t make a similar mistake again, and therefore I can’t really say that I’ve wasted this time. Either way, this article here is a step in the right direction, and I hope that it marks an increase in my article output. In the end if I’m really interested in writing, all I’ve got to do is practice.

Make sure that you spend your time efficiently, but before you do so, take the time to reconsider what it is that you consider productive. It’s more than worth it in the long run.