The Agony of Getting Started

Lo and behold, my brief break from blogging turned into an entire summer (and then some). The last time I’ve published a post was in May, and it was about the trip to Iceland I made in February. These extremely timely reports brought to you by the Sloth… This time I cannot even blame being too busy with work or studying. I simply haven’t gotten around to it.

It’s not that I’m no longer interested in writing, quite the contrary: I’m constantly mulling over different ideas for new posts. What puts me off is when I’m actually supposed to sit down in front of a blank screen and start, even though I know writing only sucks for the first paragraph or so. After that, it would be smooth sailing. Usually, I build my text around images, so the very first thing I must do is go through hundreds of photos and pick a few of them decent enough to publish. Writer’s block hits me and photo editing begins to feel like an endless task. At the same time, I’m annoyed at my own inability to write down my thoughts, while tons of useless photos remain buried and forgotten on my laptop, taking up way too much space.

I have the same problem with handcrafts. I’ve been accumulating a massive stash of craft supplies over the past years, but finished projects are few and far between. Unlike with writing, at times I do manage to start my craft projects, but I will also move on to the next project long before I ever finish the previous one. There are boxfuls of half-made pieces laying around the apartment.

It may sound contradictory, but all in all I actually find myself a reasonably effective person: at work I have no trouble getting things done, I no longer spend all my spare time laying on the sofa but go outdoors instead, I keep our home clean and shiny, I travel, I study, I have hobbies. The only issue is with the things that require some kind of personal development from me.

Here’s a perfect example of my fine-tuned procrastination skills: one weekend I was supposed to finish the research plan of my Bachelor’s Thesis, and I had Friday, Saturday and Sunday off for that. Three entire days to refine and finish the plan before the deadline on Monday. What did I really do?

  • Cleaned the entire apartment from top to bottom, including but not limited to wiping the kitchen walls and cupboards and washing every window
  • Made a bunch of new fridge magnets and used them to arrange all our random notes as symmetrically as possible
  • Googled how to bleach hair at home and unsuccessfully fried my hair into a dry, orangey mess
  • Caught hundreds of pokémon (Q: Who even plays Pokémon Go anymore? A: Me)
  • Went to the same Jacob Hashimoto exhibition for the fourth time
  • Climbed the mast of Suomen Joutsen

I did eventually scrape up the research plan, too, but only in the wee hours of Monday morning while wallowing in anxiety and self-pity. Had I not had the thesis deadline, I could be proud of all my weekend activities, but as it was, I just took procrastination to the extremes. The agony of getting started only seems to apply to projects requiring brainwork. So am I suffering from the pain of the creative process, or just from a lazy brain? Not sure.

I won’t even try to write about the things that happened during the summer. Instead, I’ll move on to the events of this Autumn. In June, I had an amazing hiking holiday in Poland and Slovakia, but I won’t revisit those warm memories until the upcoming, miserable months when sleet starts to hit the windows.

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