Hitting Reset

I remember my days playing NES in my parents’ assigned apartment back on base in Germany. I was only 10 or 11 years old at the time we lived overseas, my father posted at what used to be Peden Barracks outside of Wertheim, Germany. My brothers and I were delighted to be gifted that Nintendo Entertainment System. With it, we had gotten multiple games. Besides the obvious Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt, we had Legend of Zelda and Adventures of Link. There were a few others, but I do not remember them. Many days disappeared behind the glassy stares my brothers and I had as we played that system, much of it a total blur by this time in my life. One thing I do remember was how abusive we were with that system. In fact, I remember many times slamming my controller down when things weren’t going my way and hitting reset.
Back then it was when things became overwhelming, when I thought that I lost was when I wanted to be able to press that reset button. On video games, it was easy. It legitimately took me back to the start. With hope, the mistakes I made (which in my opinion at the time was that the game cheated… ahhh childhood) would be learned and I would go through the game hoping that the game wouldn’t cheat me out of victory again. Reality was that if I didn’t learn from the mistakes I made, I would be doomed to repeat the same outcome.
Since growing older, I’ve shifted my thinking away from the sense of gaining victory. More or less, this feeling has taken me nearly the full 40-something years of my life to cultivate. In the last year, I’ve been trying to change to a sense of process and craft rather than outcome. For instance, I am trying not to look at the prospect of finishing writing a book as my goal, rather having a continued sense of writing every day regardless of whether there is a target of completing a book or not. In other words: write.
Of course I still need some goals. Completing stories is one of them. I want to complete books. The challenge here is to not stress so much about doing so. I’ll write the day I finish a book; I will write the day after. The title will change; the process shouldn’t. Completing projects does need to be a goal, though to a point.
Even so, this new thought pattern has also given rise to an effort to find balance, to find the point where the work best fits into life without becoming needlessly overwhelming. Because the focus changed to what I want to be doing with my time and less about the outcome, these projects or efforts made because they sound fun or would be cool turn to become less appealing. In other words, is it really how I want to spend my time?
The answer to that starts with writing fiction and poetry. Everything else takes a second place position at best. Sure, there are things I haven’t been doing to start to make a career out of it— that means that if a career in writing is what I want, then I need to actually place those tasks as second only to writing. Pets projects such as that dream of drawing a webcomic? It needs to sit on the back burner and simmer to see if that ever even becomes a reality, if spending time on it doesn’t negatively impact the goal of writing.
This idea has been why the blog keeps falling down, why it has become more of a placeholder for the URL than a place for my content. It’s why the accounts I “maintain” on social media sputter. It’s the allure of new ideas and grand schemes versus sustainable behavior. Flashy new things are always more interesting.
I want to hit that reset button again. This time though, I want to have a plan as to what I am going to do to make this go around better. How will I ensure that this time isn’t just going to be a repeat of all the other times that I’ve mashed that button? Part of that means that I need to start to learn who I really am— who I really am as a writer.
Balancing the idea of finding out who I really am as a writer (something one would think that I would have learned after more than 20 years of trying to be a writer) with the idea of producing material is a tricky thing. However, one of the thoughts that occurred to me on multiple levels recently is that I need to write. We all concern ourselves about this thing called “Voice”, yet it wasn’t until the mention on the podcast “Start With This” where one of the hosts mentioned that maybe “Voice” is simply something that one achieves over time without even knowing it. Who I am as a writer is simply the things I write, the topics I tackle, the stories I tell. I shouldn’t concern myself so much with making some grand scheme; rather, I should just write. I should find a way to manage my life in a way that allows me to write, to have fun writing, and to find meaning in myself.
Maybe if I can figure a way to do that, it will make hitting the reset button worth it. And maybe if I am disciplined, I can make this the last time I hit the reset.

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