The Moonlighting Miner

This week has been a bit crazy.

After a pretty slow week at work last week, this week has been pretty continuously busy, keeping me running (whether at my desk, a meeting, or elsewhere) pretty much nonstop.  In the process, it’s been a bit stressful too, as we’ve been developing some new processes that have a heavy learning curve for myself.

That, combined with planning for our third weekend in a row out of town, trying to hit the gym as many days as I could after work, and spending time with the beautiful miss Amber, I haven’t really had any time to sink into my writing.

As I sat down on my lunch break to write this post, I realized that I hadn’t even given my writing much thought at all, let alone actually working on it, and that made me angry.

My first thought was to place blame outside of myself (which is rarely productive), and I quickly identified that thing to blame: Work. It had sucked the life out of me during the day, leaving me feeling stressed and ignorant at times due to my lack of knowledge on the new process we’ve been developing.

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The great Michael Scott is the first person that comes to my mind when I think of ignorance…

At the risk of sounding conceited, in my life experiences, as its concerned school or work, I have rarely come across something that really stops me in my tracks and makes me feel truly ignorant to how it works. I may experience initial uneasiness, confusion, and subsequent frustration, but in the end I’m usually able to grasp things pretty quickly. When that doesn’t happen and I continue to struggle and not grasp things, I have a tendency to get unreasonably frustrated with the situation and angry with myself, even if it is a process that I have hardly no experience with. And that’s where I’ve been at.

Thus, I’ve been taking my work home with me, not in a literal sense, but in the sense that it’s been rattling around in my head after I’m at home, effecting my mood, and leaving me feeling frustrated and inadequate.

The worst part being that it has very likely effected my mood around Amber, which is unacceptable, and I hope my negativity hasn’t been too unpleasant to deal with this week.

Furthermore, it has completely unhinged me from my goals, my writing, for the past week. In my mind, that’s time I’ll never get back to put into my writing.

I’m aware that it’s unproductive to get down on myself about these things, and I’m working on sorting through these feelings and not internalizing things too much. What’s important is to reflect on the events of the past week, identify the sources of my frustration, and work on addressing those so I can possibly handle or manage things differently in the future.

More importantly, I need to make sure in the future to set time aside for my writing, because that’s what truly got left in the dust this week, and that’s what really frustrates me.

There’s an image of a part-time miner in my head, chipping away, hoping to strike gold. He also spends his days making a steady, albeit inadequate in his mind, income as a blacksmith in town. The gold is hidden deep in the mountain, and the miner isn’t even sure if he’s headed in the right direction, or using the correct techniques, but based on his research, and watching what other successful miners have done, he thinks he’s on the right track to hit pay dirt eventually, as long as he strives to continuously improve his craft, and more than anything, stay consistent.

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He knows it will take a long time, and sometimes he gets frustrated that he still hasn’t found more than a crumb of gold here and there. Amidst his frustration though, he knows that if he keeps chipping away, a little bit, every single day, his chances of hitting pay dirt continue to rise, ever so slowly. And more importantly, he knows that if he gives up on the mine and leaves it behind, he’ll never strike pay dirt. That, he can be sure of.

He takes time to rest, spend time with his family, eat, sleep, and work his steady blacksmithing job at the same time so that he can keep a roof over their heads. Sometimes, even though he enjoys the act of mining immensely, he wonders if he’s wasting his time chipping away in his mine. He wonders if he should be putting that time and focus toward his blacksmithing, since in the money-centric world he lives in, he gets the feeling that maybe he can’t spend too much time working toward what he loves, and he wonders if he needs to devote that time toward the more sure route of steady income as a blacksmith.

Is our blacksmith, who considers himself a miner at heart even though he hasn’t made a penny for his toiling, wasting his time in the mines?

Some would probably say yes, that he needs to stop living in the clouds expecting he’ll strike gold someday, and focus his time into his blacksmithing.

Others would say no, that if he truly wants to mine, he needs to keep working at it and stay the course. Eventually his work will pay off, and he can make a living doing what he loves.

I believe in this. I believe I have the skill to write for a living, and I believe that eventually, if I put the work into it that I need to, I can make it as a writer. It won’t be easy, and I need to be more disciplined with myself.

I need to get my ass out of bed at the same time every morning and write for two hours. I need to be consistent with my blog, and push it on social media even when I feel like I’m being that obnoxious person trying to sell themselves to their friends. I need to continue learning about the craft, studying those who have made it in the business, and continue to improve as a writer. I need to utilize my ability as a full-time employee at WSU to take a class every semester and learn from people who have PhD’s. I need to READ, READ and READ some more; fiction, nonfiction, good blogs, memoirs, theoretical works; basically anything of substance I can get my hands on.

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I’m doing these things in some capacity, but not to the extent that I should be doing them, particularly the most important part, which is parking my ass in that chair every single day to write. That means eliminating distractions like television and social media, and dedicating that time to the keyboard. Whether the muse visits that day or not, whether I write 10 pages or not one fucking word, keeping myself locked in that room for a block of time every single day is the most important first step.

Finally, I need to stay positive. Having a down week is not a reason to become angry with myself, and put myself down. It comes down to recognizing what I need to do, and the mistakes I make, and figuring out how to fix them and make those mistakes less often in the future.

With that, I’m excited for this weekend road trip to the metropolis of Eltopia, Washington. I’ll get to see a lot of family for a going-away party for three cousins I love very much and will miss dearly, but I wish them the very best in the next step of their journey! Happy Friday everyone!

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3 thoughts on “The Moonlighting Miner

  1. Pingback: “One man’s rut is another man’s ritual.” – Dwight Currie – Brent Atkinson

  2. Pingback: Setting Your Resolution up for Success – Brent Atkinson

  3. Pingback: Writers: Stay in the $#!@% room! – Brent Atkinson

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